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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2003
'Shall We Dance' is every bit as good as 'Top Hat' and 'Swing Time', and boasts a score by the amazing brothers George and Ira Gershwin. Astaire's determination to keep expanding his ideas is displayed in the 'Slap That Bass' number, where he uses the steam in the engine room of the ship on which much of the film is based to create an unusual cinematic texture. It's a shame that the song 'I've Got Beginner's Luck' was curtailed before the final edit, because the dance which one might expect does not take place; the same is true of the greatest song of all time, 'They Can't Take That Away from Me', which is nevertheless delivered with Astaire's usual elegance. 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off' shows the dancers on roller skates in the middle of Central Park, in a brilliantly rhythmic number, and best of all is 'They All Laughed', perhaps their greatest routine of all time, showing a mixture of both the ballroom and tap styles in which Fred and Ginger were definitive. Brilliant.
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on 28 May 2017
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on 2 May 2002
This is the 7th film of 10 films that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers done together
(it was followed by "Carefree"(1938) ,"The Story of Irene and Vernon Castle"(1939) and then
in 1949 by short reunion in "Barkleys of Broadway").
Gershwin's music is delightfull,the songs from "Shall We Dance" became classic jazz hits.
The film's plot is funny and complicated just enough to be a wonderful frame for Astaire's dance routines.
And these dance numbers are really unforgettable.
"Shall We Dance" is one of the best musicals of all the times!
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on 6 September 2005
The beloved "Shall We Dance" was the only Fred and Ginger film with songs from George and Ira Gershwin, and they were splendid. Songs like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" made for great entertainment when coupled with the opulent RKO sets in this Pandro S. Berman production. The lively tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings was from a screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagno, based on an adaptation by P.J. Wolfson of a story by Lee Loeb and Harold Buchman. Ginger's gowns by Irene were fabulous as always and Mark Sandrich once again took the helm.
On his stay in Paris, Pete (Fred Astaire), a famous ballet dancer also known as Petrov, wants to meet musical comedy star Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers), and in fact, would like to marry her! Pete and his pal Jeffrey (Edward Everett Horton) discover she's sailing on the S.S. Queen Anne and follow her. Pete uses a fake accent for a short time but is eventually found out, and finds out that dogs are the way to a girl's heart.
A wild story Jeffery told Lady Tarrington (Ketti Gallian) in Paris comes back to haunt Pete, as suddenly everyone on the cruise thinks he and Linda have been secretly married, and are going to have a baby! It's a bit much for Linda, who has sworn off reporters, and they decide to really get married, so they can get divorced. But it's too late for Linda, as she has fallen in love with the pursuing Pete, and there is a sadness as Pete sings "They Can't Take That Away From Me" on a ferry to Manhattan after it's all done. The tune was nominated as Best Song but lost the Oscar to "Sweet Leilani" from "Waikiki Wedding."
Hilarious moments in the film include Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore in a "hushing" duel with ballet patrons, Horton and Jerome Cowan getting tight, with Horton getting ill afterward, and Fred convincing Horton that he's seasick, even though the water is perfectly calm. Blore ends up in jail for the second time in one of the couple's pictures and is once again a riot.
Ginger sings "They All Laughed" and she and Fred share a lovely dance that culminates with a smile, as the couple sit on a piano. A fun and famous scene has them on skates in the park, dancing to "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Fred's character Pete wants to dance with Linda all his life, but what's he to do when she won't consider it? Dance with images of her, that's what. A charming conclusion has Linda joining the other girls, but Pete can't figure out which is the real Linda. Will Linda say yes to Pete? If you are a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers you know the answer to that one!
Devoted fans of one of the most fondly remembered couples in screen history might be shocked to learn that during production, there were plans for this to be their final film. "Swing Time," their previous entry, now widely regarded by film historians, along with "Top Hat," as the zenith of their films together, had done huge box office business in large cities upon its initial release. But that business had quickly subsided and there were those at RKO who felt they had gone to the well once too often.
Fortunately for us, that theory was squashed, and we got to see the hilarious "Carefree" and the tender "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" before the couple said farewell. Again, fortunately, we don't have to say farewell, only "see you later," because we now have the ability to watch these wonderful films at home whenever we want. "Shall We Dance" is a charming reminder of a magic that passed this way only once, and something you'll want to capture forever by picking up a copy today.
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on 4 October 2010
One would think that the combination the Gershwins, Fred and Ginger, luscious art deco sets, plus the comic chemistry of Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore, would warrant a better DVD issue than this. As with other Universal Pictures Astaire/Rogers issues, it looks sourced from a mediocre NTSC master rather than directly to PAL from a good-quality print. Result of doing it on the cheap: substandard picture and sound quality; the latter is particularly irksome as 'Shall We Dance' contains several items of Gershwin scoring that only exists on the soundtrack of this 1937 movie. It also, of course, features some of the bros' best-known songs - 'They All Laughed', 'They Can't Take That Away From Me', 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off', 'Slap That Bass', 'Beginner's Luck', plus the muscial number 'Prominade (Walking the Dog)'. Despite these presentational shortcomings, and in lieu of a decent Blu-ray issue, 'Shall We Dance', at 1hr 48minutes, is arguably the best of Fred and Ginger's RKO pairings: a scintillating, wisecrack-rich script, pacey direction from Mark Sandrich, and watching it even in this imperfect form is a joy and a delight. There is also an informative introduction by Ava Astaire McKenzie in which she relates her father's reaction to George Gershwin's death, and of the composer's own reaction to seeing a first cut of the film. Buy and be happy.
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on 5 April 2010
Their seventh film, and, while possibly not their finest coupling, and that is a matter of opion, the Gershwin songs are terrific - They All Laughed, Lets Call the Whole Thing Off, and They Can't Take that Away from Me. With slngs like that how could it fail? The last was used again in The Barklays of Broadway as a dance number, whereas ion this film Fred sings it while Ginger looks wistful - and, it seems,inwardly none too pleased he was getting it all. As always the supporting cast is perfect - Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Jerome Cowan, supporting players to conjure with. As usual the plot hardly matters, but the dancing is breathtaking - as usual. Maybe Rita Hayworth was his finest dance partner as a dancer, but the Fred and Ginger double act was perfection in every respect. To be enjoyed. Again and Again
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on 2 December 2016
Fred and Ginger - perfect
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"Shall We Dance," (1937), another musical-comedy-romance, was the seventh collaboration Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made for RKO Radio Pictures. It reunites most of the old gang, before and behind the camera, but it's easy to see inspiration is wearing thin: after this picture, Astaire, (The Fred Astaire Collection of 1940 ), went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Rogers,(Kitty Foyle ),for a time, successfully pursued her ambition to do drama. Still, the film has got a lot going for it: most importantly, it was the first, and only George and Ira Gershwin score for the Astaire-Rogers team; and it was, in fact, the last complete film score of the Gershwin brothers. George was to die quite soon, at a shockingly young age. And some of the Astaire/Rogers work to these immortal Gershwin melodies ranks with their finest.

Astaire is Peter P. Peters of Philadelphia, Pa, masquerading as Petrov, great Russian ballet star. Rogers is Linda Keane, popular cabaret dancer. He yearns to meet her, she feels otherwise; he manipulates his way onto a transatlantic crossing of the Queen Ann in order to do so. Rumors get started that they are secretly married, and even that she is pregnant, so when they get to New York, they actually get married, so they can publicly divorce. It's their usual silly script, thinner even than usual, and just what anybody would do in that situation, right? Edward Everett Horton, (Here Comes Mr Jordan ), in his third and final appearance with the team, is on hand to play his usual fussbudget role, Jeffrey Baird. Eric Blore, (Quality Street), in his fifth and final appearance with the team, is on hand to play his usual fussbudget role, Cecil Flintridge. Although in this picture, Blore gets what may have been his funniest riff ever in the Astaire films, the spelling bee at the Susquehanna police station. Rogers lacks her usual middle-aged female chum, and has to get by with Jerome Cowan as her impresario. William Brisbane plays the chinless Park Avenue wonder she's supposed actually to want to marry. One Harriet Hoctor contributes one real strange ballet specialty to the closing number. Ketti Gallion is Lady Denise Tarrington. The movie's notably slow getting off the mark: it's almost an hour until the stars' first dance.

Behind the camera, long time confederates of Astaire held sway. Doug Allen gets a screenwriting credit; Hermes Pan collaborated on choreography; Mark Sandrich directed; Pandro S. Berman produced, with his usual lavish hand for the gorgeous art deco scenery.

But it's the priceless music that hoists this film. Shipboard, in "Slap that Bass," Astaire does a famous jazz-influenced number to the mechanized rhythms of the spotless art deco-inspired engine. The instrumental, "Walking the Dog," is a wordless treat. In Central Park, the stars needed 150 takes to get that roller skated "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Then there's "They All Laughed," "I've Got Beginners' Luck," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," and the title tune itself. There's seldom been a score as great as this one, so just ignore what passes for its plot; it's easy enough to do.
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on 3 October 2011
Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers are the perfect dancepartners and when I saw it as a child I just dreamed dansing like they do. Today I find satisfaction just looking at their performance!
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on 22 February 2013
Being a fan of any type of dance, this was most enjoyable. You dont buy their films for the storyline.
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