HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, The Dance Class
Year: 1939
Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, Walter Brennan, Lew Fields, Etienne Girardot, Janet Beecher, Rolfe Sedan, Leonid Kinskey, Robert Strange, Douglas Walton, Clarence Derwent, Sonny Lamont, Frances Mercer, Victor Varconi, Donald MacBride
Genre: Musical, War, Romance, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year was 1911 and Vernon Castle (Fred Astaire) was a comic actor in the theatre who planned to woo one of the show's bigger stars. However, she would always come up with excuses not to make it to their dates, as it was tonight when she claimed to have a splitting headache when actually she had a date with someone else. Vernon arranged with her to meet at the beach the next day, but was let down again and had to content himself playing with a stray dog there, throwing a stick for it to catch. Unfortunately for the dog, he threw the stick into the sea and it nearly drowned - fortunately for Vernon, in his efforts to save it he met Irene (Ginger Rogers)...

And so a legendary partnership was born, depicted by another legendary partnership who were preparing to head off in different directions. This was the final Astaire and Rogers film for ten years when they reunited for the one off Barkleys of Broadway, their actual final movie, and as it was not as successful at the box office as their previous films of the thirties had been, perhaps because of its more serious tone, the team agreed to try something apart. But although it had a tragic ending, this was not by any means a dejected trudge through the Castles' rise to worldwide fame, as director H.C. Potter provided a light touch to the proceedings.

Irene Castle served as technical advisor on the film, which was based on her memoirs, and was not best pleased with Rogers who was reluctant to change her appearance to look like that of the person she was playing, including changing her hairstyle too dramatically. The Castles were interesting folks, not only renowned dancers but open minded in their views, which took in race (their orchestra was all black), sexuality (their manager Maggie Sutton, played by Edna May Oliver here, was openly lesbian) and animal rights, as shown by their doting on the little dog in the film. Needless to say none of the more potentially controversial stuff made it in here, but it was a sincere tribute nonetheless.

By this time Astaire and Rogers looked effortlessly comfortable with each other, and a nostalgic item such as this looked to be perfect for them, if not exactly a stretch. Certainly nobody watching would have any complaints about their performances as their romance is very sweet, starting tentatively when budding entertainer Irene invites Vernon back to her house to demonstrate her embarrassing song routine, and she then goes along to take in his thespian talents only to be dismayed that he is one step up from a circus clown with his barber shop stooge act. But when they realise they can both dance, they have an idea to team up as a musical partnership, something which is easier said than done.

The plot makes a meal of the duo's rocky road to success, as it seems nobody is interested in staging their dances. They want Vernon to continue with his clowning, but there comes a chance when they are invited to Paris by two producers - alas, they still wanted to see Vernon's comic act, but as luck would have it, the Castles, now married, attract the attention of Maggie (who describes herself as an "entrepreneuse") and the rest is history. We know they are doing well thanks to the world's longest montage, detaling their dances and their moves into merchandising, both of which make them rich and famous. What could possibly go wrong? How about World War One? The resonances with the war brewing in Europe when this was made cannot have been lost on audiences of the time, and it all leads up to a truly poignant finale which tends to overshadow the agreeable though undemanding antics of before. This wasn't the best Astaire and Rogers work, but it was perfectly satisfactory.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5367 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: