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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Bundle Of Fun.
This is a wonderful collection of some of the finest Hollywood musicals. Featuring the elegant, sophisticated Fred Astaire and his sublime leading dance partners, the glamourous blond Ginger Rogers and redheaded beauty Rita Hayworth. Worth the price of admission alone.
SWING TIME (1936). Arguably the finest of Astaire/Rogers movies. Astaire is a hoofer hooked on...
Published on 28 July 2011 by ACB(swansea)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire videos
I have only watched Top Hat so far and of course the story and dancing are great but the quality of the recording is quite poor, the picture kept juddering. I am hoping the others will be better.
Published on 19 Feb. 2012 by Mary


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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Bundle Of Fun., 28 July 2011
By 
ACB(swansea) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
This is a wonderful collection of some of the finest Hollywood musicals. Featuring the elegant, sophisticated Fred Astaire and his sublime leading dance partners, the glamourous blond Ginger Rogers and redheaded beauty Rita Hayworth. Worth the price of admission alone.
SWING TIME (1936). Arguably the finest of Astaire/Rogers movies. Astaire is a hoofer hooked on gambling. He leaves his fiancee Margaret Watson (Betty Furness) at the altar whilst on the town with his mate Pop Cordetti (Victor Moore). Packed off by his incensed father-in-law to be to make his fortune before returning to his daughter, Lucky and Pop befall upon New York where he encounters dance instructor Penny Carroll (Ginger Rogers). He feigns dancing inadequacies to lull Penny into giving him dance lessons. Problem is she is engaged to bandleader Ricardo Romero (George Metaxa). Lucky and Penny inevitably become a dance act to win acclaim on the nightclub scene for their performances. The plot is a skeleton to hang upon the artistry of Fred and Ginger, although it does have twists and turns, comic moments and romantic interludes. The bubbly 'Waltz in Swing Time', the rhythmic patterns of Astaire's blacked-up 'Bojangles of Harlem', clever tongue-in-cheek 'Pick Yourself Up' (Astaire pretends he can't dance), the scenic snow surround to 'A Fine Romance', the beguiling 'Never Gonna Dance', to the enchantingly haunting serenade from Astaire to Ginger (off her guard), 'The Way You Look Tonight', all make this a dazzling musical comedy. Music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

TOP HAT (1935). Perhaps the best remembered and most popular of Astaire/Rogers musicals no doubt, in part, due to the exberant Astaire's attire of top hat, white tie and tails. The tremendous success (critically and financially) of this musical comedy lies with the crackling chemistry between the two stars, imaginative dance routines and memorable score by one Irving Berlin. The plot is flimsy involving a case of mistaken identity. Hoofer Jerry Travers (Astaire)is in London to do a show and falls in love (at first sight) with tourist Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers). Somehow, Dale is convinced that Jerry is married to her friend Madge Hardwicke (Helen Broderick). Madge is,in fact, married to prissy Horace Hardwicke (Edward Everett Horton). Dale leaves London for Venice. Jerry pusues her to woo her. Jerry and Dale squabble. Dale slaps Jerry in the face whenever she can. Madge pokes Horace in the eye. Dale is involved with Italian dress designer Alberto Beddini (Erik Rhodes) who later appears thrusting his rapier haphazardly. Explanations sort out the mix-ups with inevitable outcome. Fortunately this does not detract from the music.
'Cheek to Cheek' is sung by Astaire and danced with Rogers. Classically romantic and memorable. 'No Strings' sung whilst tap dancing by Astaire.Charmingly courting Rogers in a bandstand during a rain shower with 'Isn't This A Lovely Day'.The debonair Astaire in tuxedo, cane in hand, singing and dancing 'Top Hat,White Tie and Tails' shooting similarly clad gentlemen with his cane simulating a rifle. The local carnival choral extravaganza 'Piccolino' completes the film (Fred and Ginger are used sparingly in the dance routine). Delightful.

YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH (1941). Starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth (the ads proclaimed 'triumphant teaming of beauty and rhythm') for the first time. Miss Hayworth was a superbly skilled dancer. Astaire apparently loved dancing with her describing her as 'dynamite'. Broadway dance director Robert Curtis (Astaire) is drawn towards dancer Sheila Winthrop (Hayworth) but is drafted into the army,curtailing the romance,and spends much of the war tap dancing in the guard house. The pair are later reunited.
Rita Hayworth is not overshadowed by her partner in the least. She demonstrates an extraordinary ability as a dancer matching Astaire step by step,especially in the rhythmic 'So Near And Yet So Far' and 'Boogie Barcarolle'. Other highlights include 'Shootin' The Works For Uncle Sam' by Astaire backed by chorus girls, 'The Astairable Rag' danced by Astaire backed by The Delta Rhythm Boys',the ballad 'Dream Dancing',the swinging 'Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye' and the finale 'Wedding Cake Walk' a big production number with a large dancing chorus line atop a giant cake that had an army tank sitting on top of it. Songs by Cole Porter. Superlative talents with standout Rita Hayworth.

YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942). The second pairing of Astaire and Hayworth. Similar titles but dissimilar plots. Music by Jerome Kern. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Regarded as a superior film to their first encounter with a more romantic theme and score. Set in Bueno Aires,Argentina, the plot seemingly has little to do with the location. Manhattan nightclub dancer Robert Davis (Astaire) goes to Argentina to play the horses. He loses his money. He seeks hotel work. The hotel owner thinks Davis is a potentially suitable match for the second of his four daughters Maria Acuna (Hayworth). A typical on-off-on theme leads to its inevitable happy-ever-after conclusion.
Astaire and Hayworth had some sensational dance duets. Marvellously choreographed and orchestrated, 'I'm Old Fashioned' was sung by Hayworth (dubbed by Nancy Wynn) and danced in a moonlit terrace and garden with Astaire, considered to be one of the great romantic sequences in musical film history. Also memorable is the 'Shorty George' routine, wedding number 'Dearly Beloved' and the exquisite title song 'You Were Never Lovelier' sung by Astaire to Hayworth and danced by both. The expression of love is never more apparent (rumoured the pair had an off-screen involvement). A dazzling display of dancing,song,romance,music. Wonderful.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fred astaire dvd, 2 July 2011
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
my dad who is 87 is a big fan of fred astaire as he used to dance in his youth ,was glued to the tv when i put this on ,the house was silent and he was smiling all the way through the films ,one of my better present ideas ,and made me smile to see how happy he was watching the films.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred and Ginger Together Again, 8 Nov. 2011
By 
Bev L (Norfolk England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
Have always adored Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films so when I hired a VW campervan called Ginger Fred had to go along too. Ordered these to play on portable dvd and was not disappointed good sound quality no skipping on film and as good a dvd for films this age as you are going to get. The whole compilation of dvds for that money was excellent and dvds arrived promptly and in good packaging
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two and Two does four?, 20 Jan. 2013
By 
Sheafferer "nescencia necat" (American Heartland, IA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
I've always been a fan of Fred and Ginger. Top Hat is the most memorable of their films, and Swing Time is another TOP.
The two other films with Margarita Cansino (the real name of Rita Hayworth) are completely different, although she's a superb dancer, lacks the elegance of Ginger performances but gives hers that latin side that Fred described as "dynamite".
You'll get this four pearls in a bargain quality set, so I think that you should do as I did, for less than four pounds added 42nd Street to the order, and enjoyed a full day of enterteinment with our friends.
What a memorable experience!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Astaire Films, 16 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
One of the best Astaire collection DVDs available. All great films.
Good story lines. Great casts. Ideal for anyone who likes Astaire.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 14 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
Eat your heart out Strictly Come Dancing, this is the real master at work! How I wish they still made films like this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection!, 4 Feb. 2012
By 
Alison Marsh - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
Glorious films with wonderful music, costume and above all, dancing! Shame it is in black and white but you can still see how gorgeous and glamorous it all was. Nice introduction by Astaire's daughter. Enjoy!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire videos, 19 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
I have only watched Top Hat so far and of course the story and dancing are great but the quality of the recording is quite poor, the picture kept juddering. I am hoping the others will be better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lot of Great Music and Dancing for Little Money, 6 Nov. 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
This fairly recently released (September 2010) four disc collection of four films of famed American dancer Fred Astaire clocks in at 385 minutes of sublime entertainment. It consists of TOP HAT (1935) and SWING TIME (1936) both starring Astaire, his usual dance partner Ginger Rogers, and several of their usual supporting company. YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH (1941), made a star of his new dance partner Rita Hayworth, who also costarred with him in YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942). Direction was by Mark Sandrich, George Stevens, Sidney Lanfield and William A. Seiter; production, by Pandro S. Berman, Sam Bischoff and Louis F. Edelman.

SWING TIME's plot, if you can call it that, as cobbled together by Astaire's frequent writer/collaborators, Howard Lindsay and Allan Scott, revolves around cuffs on striped pants. But, as produced by Pandro S. Berman, who threw enough money at the screen for Astaire pictures -- the sets are lovely, cool, black and white, shadowed art nouveau creations; and as directed by Oscar-winning George Stevens, the plot keeps perking along for a swift 104 minutes. Music, by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, ranges from the happy "Pick Yourself Up," to the sublime, Oscar-winning "The Way You Look Tonight," and the moving "Never Gonna Dance." And then there's the dancing, never matched, never bettered. Eric Blore and Helen Broderick are along for the ride. A young Betty Furness debuts in a bit part.

TOP HAT's story, credited to Astaire's frequent collaborators/writers, Allan Scott and Dwight Taylor, is, in many ways, a remake of the same people's 1934 Gay Divorcee. Pandro S. Berman produced, as he generally did, with an open purse for this team's efforts. Mark Sandrich directed: cinematography was by David Abel. Hermes Pan had a hand in the choreography, as usual; Bernard Newman designed Rogers's elegant evening wear. Art direction was by Van Nest Polglase, who gave us glorious art deco sets, glistening with white. London itself, its hotels and clubs, has never looked so glamorous; Venice and its hotels are of a fantastical beauty, though I don't know about those swimmers in the canals....

The film's leads, Astaire as Jerry Travers, dancing star, and Rogers as Dale Tremont, model, are given strong support by the usual suspects. Edward Everett Horton plays Horace Hardwick, Jerry's impresario/rich best friend. Eric Blore is his valet Bates. Helen Broderick is Madge Hardwick, Horace's wife -- and why must she always be called Madge or Marge? Erik Rhodes is Albert Beddini, Dale's employer/dress designer, who will be her usual disappointed swarthy suitor: he never gets the girl. A young Lucille Ball has a tiny part.

Famed American composer Irving Berlin contributed both words and music. "I'm Fancy Free" was a light-hearted romp for a solo Astaire; it starts the action rolling. The unforgettable duet, "Isn't It A Lovely Day," was sung and danced by both stars. "Top Hat and Tails," is one of Astaire's signature solos: he's backed by a line of chorus boys. "Cheek to Cheek" is a memorable melodic duet. "The Piccolino," Roger's somewhat shaky vocal solo, to me, does not rise to the same sublime heights as the very similar "Continental," from the two years earlier GAY DIVORCEE. But make no mistake, Astaire was a lucky man. He and Berlin were old friends from their scuffling Tin Pan Alley/vaudeville days, and Berlin knew just how to write for the hoofer. Songs are comfortably in his range, and allow him to talk/sing them in his inimitable style.

YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, with direction by Sidney Lanfield, finds Astaire playing Robert Curtis, a Broadway dance director - what a stretch-- who falls for his playboy producer's latest showgirl, Sheila Winthrop, played by Rita Hayworth. Both are dancing at or near their top form. Robert Benchley provides sturdy comedic support as Robert's philandering boss. Cole Porter composed the music, including "So Near and Yet So Far," "Dream Dancing," and the Oscar®-nominated "Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye." All-in all, not too shabby.

YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER finds Astaire and Hayworth partnered again in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Delmer Daves gets a writing credit; William A. Seiter directed, Louis F. Edelman produced. Hayworth plays Maria Acuna , daughter of hotelier Edwardo (Adolphe Menjou). Edwardo, in a plot surely derived from William Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, via Cole Porter's KISS ME KATE,wishes her to marry, quickly, so his two younger daughters, already panting to be wed, can do so: for Father insists his girls must marry in order. Maria believes that no man can match her high standards, so her father invents a secret lover for her, sending his daughter flowers and love notes. Penniless American dancer Robert Davis (Astaire) delivers Edwardo's gifts; Maria believes him to be her mystery admirer. The songs are by distinguished American tunesmiths Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer; the dancing is again topnotch.

It's a lot of great music and dancing for little money, well worth the cost if you are a dance lover, or a lover of 1930s'-40s films, or romantic musical comedies, or the stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Astaire, 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Fred Astaire - Swing Time/Top Hat/You'll Never Get Rich/You Were Never Lovelier [DVD] (DVD)
Loved all four movies which portray the singing, acting and dancing talent of Fred Astaire. Top Hat is my favourite and an endearing Hollywood Icon. It was the biggest grossing movie of 1935.

Though most fans adore the Astaire/Rodgers dance routines - I thought the lovely Rita Hayworth in her Astaire matching was remarkable as a dancer and a fine light comedy actress in her own right. Problem was her two movies were made when Astaire was in his forties so the romance seemed rather contrived as Rita was obviously much younger.

Still, great score from legends such as Cole Porter and Irving Berlin with memorable songs.

Watching these films still cheers me up and so I recommend them to any musical fan.
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