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Fred Astaire: The Signature Collection [DVD]
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Meant to be my Christmas present, but watched a couple of the films Easter Parade, and Broadway, Just love watching Fred Astaire, he was a master of his craft.Published 14 months ago by Lolly Pop
I always enjoy Fred Astaire no matter what the film is as long as he is dancing, and this collection has lived up to the standard.Published on 21 Sept. 2013 by Norah Bowyer
these dvds were bought and sent to my mother in her care home. they have been much appreciated by all the residents.Published on 7 Dec. 2011 by irene