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Fred Astaire: The Signature Collection [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant, Billie Burke, Judy Garland, Gale Robbins
  • Directors: Charles Walters, Francis Ford Coppola, Vincente Minnelli
  • Producers: Arthur Freed, Jospeh Landon
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Oct 2009
  • Run Time: 560 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002L7O7ZY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,651 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Collection of films starring legendary song and dance man Fred Astaire. In 'Easter Parade' (1948), Astaire came out of retirement to play one half of a dance team who is ditched by his partner. Deciding he can make a star out of anyone he wants, he chooses a lowly chorus girl (Judy Garland) as his new partner. Songs include 'A Couple of Swells', 'Stepping Out With My Baby' and 'Shaking the Blues Away'. Also starring Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, the film also features an appearance by a 2-year-old Liza Minelli. In 'Broadway Melody of 1940' (1940), dancers Johnny Brett (Astaire) and King Shaw (George Murphy) are struggling to make a living in New York. When a producer is on the look out for a dance partner for star Clare Bennett (Eleanor Powell) he decides he wants Johnny, but when he goes to offer him the role, Johnny panics when he mistakenly thinks the producer is a debt collector and gives King's name instead of his own. King is now the star of the show and Johnny has missed out, that is until King gets drunk on opening night and a replacement is needed. In 'Finian's Rainbow' (1968), Francis Ford Coppola's first big-budget feature, Astaire stars as a simple-minded Irishman fleeing to America with a crock of gold. He is pursued by a leprechaun (Tommy Steele), the rightful owner of the stolen booty. The film was based on the hit stage musical. In 'The Barkleys of Broadway' (1949) Astaire and Ginger Rogers play a showbiz couple who are always bickering - but true love prevails. This film was their first together for ten years. The songs, by Harry Warren and Ira Gershwin, include 'They Can't Take That Away from Me' and 'You'd Be Hard to Replace'. Judy Garland was the first choice for the female lead, but withdrew because of illness. In 'The Band Wagon' (1953) a has-been star of movie musicals (Astaire) agrees to take part in a Broadway show, playing opposite a ballerina (Cyd Charisse). The stars fear they cannot work together, but the show's success is under a bigger threat from its pretentious musical director (Jack Buchanan), who turns a simple story into an overblown monster. When opening night is a flop, it is up to the cast to save the show.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Blackhorse47 on 18 Aug 2009
These films showcase most of the best dancers Fred teamed up with, although I'd have liked Leslie Caron or Audrey Hepburn to be here so as to provide a definitive collection of the best.

Easter Parade features Judy Garland. Made in 1948 as a young adult, it shows her at her best with classics such as 'We're a couple of Swells' and includes an engaging story. For Broadway Melody he teams up with Eleanor Powell. There's not much in the way of a story other than to provide an excuse for extended dance sequences such as the lengthy Begin the Beguine. The only question I've never been able to decide is whether Eleanor was Fred's greatest partner or Cyd Charisse. The chance to make the comparison comes with Band Wagon with Cyd at her greatest and Fred still as charismatic as ever. This is without doubt one of the greatest ever musicals.

Not quite so touched with greatness are the other two features. The Barkleys of Broadway features Ginger Rogers and is an oddity. Made 10 years after their previous film, it re-united them for their only colour feature, but they are not quite as good as they were in their pomp in the 1930s. It does feature though the sublime 'They can't take that away from me'. And finally Finian's Rainbow teams Fred up with someone who is on nobody's list of top 25 dance partners... Petula Clark! Fred was pushing 70 and had given up film dancing after Silk Stockings 10 years earlier. Directed by Ford Coppola, this should have been great, but instead is another oddity.

One movie aside, this is a good collection of Fred movies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tommy tucker on 1 Feb 2012
I would also like to add a very important aspect of this dvd set and which is relevant to all those who are hard of hearing or deaf and that is that this set carries subtitle in english on all the films. I find many instances of this lack of information with Amazon and other retailers. They really need to get their act together as some 10% of the population suffer from hearing disorders and rely on such helpful technology to follow the storylines and so enjoy the film. Wake up Amazon to all the lost revenue you must be suffering for if this information is not provided than you are losing out on an additional possible 10% increase in your film sales on DVDs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Wendy Hope on 18 Jun 2012
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I bought this for someone else who likes Fred Astaire and they are delighted with this dvd. It has 6 of the classic films of Fred Astaire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kenneth e. allen. on 21 Mar 2014
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This man was a star and proved time and again. His solo work was brilliant. He was warm, lovable and extremely clever and he made others look good.
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