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4.6 out of 5 stars19
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 September 2005
This beautiful and poignant farewell from one of the most memorable and beloved of screen couples in film history was the perfect way to say goodbye. Their previous pairings had been filled with joy, grace and elegance; a delightful escapism which helped get everyone through the depression and set a tone of charm and romance no one else has ever come close to. Appropriately enough, their last in the incredible cycle is tender and sweet, faint echoes of their previous entries mixed with the melancholy of something special disappearing forever, never to pass this way again.
Astaire and Rogers tell the story of Vernon and Irene Castle, who set dance and fashion trends all across Europe and America during a more innocent time in the world. Their's was a story of love, humor and dance. But when what they had always dreamed of was within their reach, the world intruded in a way which could not have been anticipated. Astaire and Rogers have never been so real as in this nostalgic and gentle ode to love and innocence.
Based on Irene Castle's stories, "My Husband" and "My Memories of Vernon Castle," the adaptation by Oscar Hammerstein II and Dorothy Yost was turned into a screenplay by Richard Sherman. Ginger's costumes were created by the real Irene Castle, and the Castle's love hangs over this film like a soft velvet fog. H. C. Potter's direction is minimal, allowing Fred and Ginger to say so long through the story of Vernon and Irene.
It begins in 1911, when Vernon, a second comic for Lewis Fields, is chasing after another actress. She ditches him at the beach, and a drowning little dog will bring Irene Foot and Vernon Castle together for the first time. Walter Brennen is wonderful as the crusty and protective Walter. He has practically raised Irene and calls her "Sailor" through her entire life. Vernon and Irene slowly come around to each other. A scene where both he and Irene attempt to get her dog to jump in his borrowed automobile, as an excuse to take a ride together, perfectly captures the sweet and lovely innocence of the time prior to WWI.
There is a charm to scenes in the Foot's parlor as Walter, and Irene's parents, go out of their way to leave the couple alone and keep asking if there is any news yet. It will bring a warm smile to your face when Vernon finally tells Irene he loves her and proposes, and laughter at his reaction to her acceptance. There is a warmth and sense of nostalgia to everything here as the young couple try to make their dreams come true.
It was Irene's belief in Vernon that pushed them forward as a dance couple, as she knew his talents were being wasted in the role of comic buffoon he was forced to play on stage. They have to leave Fields in America for Paris, in what appears to be their big break. Their springtime honeymoon in Paris, however, is plagued by financial woes when they discover they are not getting the chane to dance at all, but only for him to keep playing the comic fool for laughs.
That is when Maggie Sutton (Edna May Oliver) steps in, using her influence to get them a chance to dance at the Cafe De Paris. They do it for a meal for themselves and Walter, but once they hit the dance floor, they will never go hungry again. Maggie becomes their manager, her gruff exterior hiding a heart of gold. Their popularity grows to staggering preportions, as does their bliss. They travel all over Europe and America, setting dance and fashion trends the world over.
Vernon and "Sailor" set dance trends such as the "Castlewalk" and "Foxtrot," as well as the "Maxie," the "Castle Polka," and, the legendary "Tango." There are Irene Castle hats, bon bons and face cream. And Vernon Castle shoes and cigars. The montage of Fred and Ginger storming to success is graceful and joyous. Ginger is especially fetching in a memorable black tango dress designed by Irene Castle.
There are dark clouds on the horizon, however, as the entire world is sucked into war for the first time. Vernon and Irene are ready to stop touring and settle down to the life they've always dreamed of having. Irene's fears finally have to take a backseat to Vernon's sense of duty, however, when he joins the fight and enlists in the Royal Flying Core. Irene waits anxiously, the couple exchanging letters until they can be together once again. A more innocent time, intruded upon by the world as never before, is captured beautifully here.
There will be a reunion in France, and one more dance, before Vernon is finally transferred to Texas as a flight instructor. It seems they may have escaped WWI unscathed, but fate may be requesting some sad music, for a final dance. A bittersweet fade out of Irene and Vernon dancing forever, will bring tears not only for the Castles, but for Fred and Ginger, who were in their elegant way, trying to say goodbye.
There is a sweet scent of honeysuckle and roses here, a different but equally lovely magic caught on celluloid one last time. If you love Fred and Ginger, you can not miss the graceful way they chose to exit, spinning and dancing down the lane in our hearts forever.
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on 26 June 2002
THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE is the last film the famous dancing duo, Astaire and Rogers made for RKO Studios. It tells the true story of how a married couple dances their way to stardom. The film is not the usual romantic comedy film Fred and Ginger had previously made although there are quite a few funny moments. However, it also has a more serious story line as it tells a true story and has emotional moments. But this does not stop the two stars as they pull of their characters wonderfully. Add the fantastic dancing by the pair and this is another fabulous Astaire-Rogers film.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 January 2012
This lovely film with the charming Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, is an American biographical musical comedy, which tells the story of husband and wife team of ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. The Castles were prominent figures of the 1910s and the 1920s, who had a major impact popularising ballroom dancing and were ahead of their time as far as human and animal rights were concerned, Irene was a fashion icon and trendsetter, popularising new hairstyles and designers. She even designed some of her own clothes, notably Ginger Rogers' costumes in the film are designed by Irene Castle herself.

Based on Irene's biographical book "My Husband and My Memories of Vernon Castle" ,directed by H. C. Potter, and written by Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Yost and Richard Sherman, this film is a fine tribute to this amazing couple and with its bitter-sweet ending is the best Astaire and Rogers film.
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on 29 February 2012
Whilst growing up I always saw my Mum watching old Fred Astaire films and couldn't understand why? A strange looking bloke dancing around is what appeared to be going on. However, its a few years later and I find myself watching an Astaire film once in a while if I come across them. `The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle' was one such film and it not only covers Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but also my knowledge of WW2 propaganda films as it was released in 1939. It tells the true story of the Castles and how they grew to fame with their dancing, only for it to end suddenly.

`Castle' is a wonderfully emotional film that lifts you up during the romance and rise of the Castle couple, only to leave you crying towards the end. As a melodrama it works perfectly, Astaire and Rogers were famed for their onscreen chemistry and `Castle' represents one of the best examples of this. I always found it a little strange that the odd looking Astaire always used to get the beautiful and funny Rogers, but for some reason they just click and you let it go. Both actors are great in the film as dramatists and dancers. There is genuine humour in their relationship and the dancing is based on the real life couples work so is also brilliant.

The problems with the film are few, but surround the ending. As this is a slice of American propaganda it does have the noble sacrifice ending that is in keeping with the film, but is laid on a little to thickly for my liking. Despite this small drop into smaltz the overall film is a lovely watch - all singing and dancing.
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on 19 October 2013
It seems that RKO staff knew this was the last time Fred and Ginger would work together in that study. And I write this because this is a sad movie, with an ending of the saddest. There are few musical numbers, less than any of the other films of them. More looks like a drama. But it's Fred-Ginger. It is true that Ginger looks beautiful. Of the ten films they made together, this is the last you should see.

Parece que el personal de RKO sabía que esta era la última vez que trabajarían juntos Fred y Ginger en ese estudio. Y escribo esto porque esta es una pelicula triste, con un final de lo mas triste. Hay pocos números musicales, menos que en cualquiera de las otras películas de ellos. Mas parece un drama. Pero es Fred-Ginger. Lo cierto que es Ginger luce bellísima. De las diez películas que hicieron juntos, esta es la última que debe ver.
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on 26 May 2014
I loved it all. The music, fashions, cars, interiors, planes but best of all the magic dancing of Fred and Ginger. Irene Castle's dresses designed for Ginger are stunning and although back in the day are still very now.

Unusual for musicals of the time, the story is very believable. Perhaps, because it was written by Irene Castle and not a Broadway/Hollywood team of writers.
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on 30 August 2015
This was bought as a present for a friend so am not able to comment on her opinion and have not been in touch. However,I saw this film many years ago and thought it was one of their best. I would recommend it if you are an F & G fan
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on 18 June 2014
Wonderful to see people enjoying their 'work' and going from desperation to success and giving the rest of us the desire to dance which is a very enjoyable thing to do and keeps us fit.
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on 8 February 2015
Having read the Castle's Biography I enjoyed Ginger & Fred's portrayal of them.
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on 29 January 2015
recently read castles biography, so go film. to watch it.
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