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4 Classics and Finian's Rainbow
on 18 August 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.