- Written by Sandi Tracey
Judy Garland and Fred Astaire team up in this delightful musical about a dancer (Don Hewes, played by Astaire) whose uppity partner dumps him for the Ziegfeld Follies. So he pretty much randomly chooses another partner (Hanna Brown, played by Garland) and sets out to make her a star.
Their relationship is an "at arms length" kind of a deal - he's a typical male - all business while thinking of her as his own. It doesn't seem to occur to him that he should tell her he's got feelings for her - he leads her on with his actions only to let her down by not following through with words. So when he finally invites her to a dinner date at his place, apparently using "business" as an excuse, she falls apart on him.
This is where the "typical female" role comes in to play. She doesn't seem to realize that dinner was an excuse to get next to her - so when he brings up, "I thought we could rehearse..." she just loses it. And good for her! Who wants to play relationship games? She wants to be able to be around him without the mention of work - and rightly so. This is a great scene showing the importance of communication of feelings.
But, then again, in his defense, he was recently dumped by a gal who used him for all he was worth - so maybe he's a little afraid to say anything for finding himself with his heart shoved down his throat yet again.
Even so, how is she supposed to know that?
So her outburst tends to change their relationship and they now have an opportunity to become closer.
This, though, not without it's trials. There's a man who likes her, and his 'ex' acts like she wants him back. Uh-oh! Well, you'll just have to watch the musical to see how it ends, because I'm not telling!
One thing I really enjoyed about this musical was how colorful and fashionable it was. In some parts, it was like watching a dancing rainbow. Being a woman, I love to see all the pretty outfits, hairstyles, hats, gloves, and shoes. So imagine my delight watching the 'ex' (Nadine, played by Ann Miller) performing "Shaking My Blues Away" in a fabulous yellow and black outfit, wearing the yellowest skirt and matching gloves I think I've ever seen in my entire life. I don't think yellow comes any more yellow than that skirt, which, by the way, was only half there. It started off there - it was really cute until she magically made the front panel disappear. Yikes!
Now, I have to say, this was the scariest scene in the whole show. What there was of her skirt was long and flowing enough that I was sure she would trip over it and splatter herself all over the floor. I found myself holding my breath a couple of times when that skirt wrapped itself around her fast moving feet. Of course, that woman is so arrogant that I was actually disappointed that she didn't get tangled up in her skirt and end up tap dancing with her face mopping the floor. That would have been a grand scene, indeed!
All in all I think this musical had some of the most beautiful and stylish clothes. And Judy Garland wore them well. That woman exuded a certain class and style within her own self that she probably would have made rags look classy.
In fact, she did. In a darling little hobo number, she and Fred Astaire both made hobos look good. Fred Astaire made a really cute hobo! I had to do a double take - that didn't look like him. And he looked good that way! And Judy's clownish side came out in that routine, too - I was pleasantly surprised, because I just wasn't expecting that. Somehow she reminded me, if even only for an instant, of Lucille Ball.
I'd say that this movie is definitely worth it's popcorn - and extra butter. Don't worry about the calories - you'll burn them off just watching some of these energy filled dance routines.