Jump to content
Welcome to the new Earwolf Forums! Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  
JulyDiaz

Swing Time

Recommended Posts

I just wanted to pop in and say, I know we are only a few episodes in, I love that everyone is posting. This has been great to read

 

(Hi! Same! Hello everyone -- love reading everyone's thoughts about the films we're watching together!)

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

The movies we do in the Musical Mondays thread over in HDTGM are usually pretty good - there's the occasional HDTGM-worthy one but usually we have a good time discussing great musicals. You're welcome to join us!

 

I will definitely keep a closer eye on those forums too now!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I loved that moment when Mabel says that she used to come to the upstate cabin "before the war", to which Pop replies "which war?" But of course in pre WW2 times, she means before the Great War of 1918, and he's suggesting that it's a war prior to that, perhaps the Spanish-American war? Or the Crimean War? The Civil War? Point is, to us, it's strange to hear someone mention the previous war and mean WW1: the same line a decade later would have very different meaning. My immediate reaction was that she was saying 'before WW2' and Pop was saying 'or was it WW1?', but of course the movie predates WW2, so Pop is calling Mabel even older that he appears to be.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I listened to the pod this morning, I guess I don't have that much else to add. The stuff I liked about the film was basically the dancing, the music, and Ginger Rogers. Everything else - the writing (as Paul noted all the "writerly conceit"), the direction, Fred's acting/character, etc. - made no impression on me.

 

I'm not much a musical fan, but I noticed in these last two weeks (Wizard Of Oz and this) that I don't mind the musicality part. I think of typical musical songs, I think of songs that are overly-theatrical, too explanatory, etc. I don't particularly like theatricality in my music, with rare exceptions (say, like, Kate Bush). But the songs here were just terrific, and did not feel like that at all. I was impressed by that.

 

That said, I felt the songs were used as crutches. Instead of having the characters/story make you feel one way, they use a song to tell you how to feel it instead. It made the movie feel superficial to me.

 

Also, Ginger Rogers was just straight up impressive. I liked how modern she felt, from the cool "take your damned hat off when you talk to me" to just not being a stereotypical early movie romantic interest (swooning or coy or whatnot). Penny was way too good for Lucky. I probably would have given the movie an extra star if it ended with them NOT getting married tbh.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not much a musical fan, but I noticed in these last two weeks (Wizard Of Oz and this) that I don't mind the musicality part. I think of typical musical songs, I think of songs that are overly-theatrical, too explanatory, etc. I don't particularly like theatricality in my music, with rare exceptions (say, like, Kate Bush). But the songs here were just terrific, and did not feel like that at all. I was impressed by that.

 

That said, I felt the songs were used as crutches. Instead of having the characters/story make you feel one way, they use a song to tell you how to feel it instead. It made the movie feel superficial to me.

 

Also, Ginger Rogers was just straight up impressive. I liked how modern she felt, from the cool "take your damned hat off when you talk to me" to just not being a stereotypical early movie romantic interest (swooning or coy or whatnot). Penny was way too good for Lucky. I probably would have given the movie an extra star if it ended with them NOT getting married tbh.

 

Agree so much - I Hate musicals, but really enjoyed the songs in these movies (well, except for that 2nd Cowardly Lion song...like, just pointless). Same with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which just amazes me all the time (again, despite true hatred of live-theatre-musicals).

 

And yeah, Penny is such a great character and Ginger Rogers is just... ridiculously great in this nonsense movie.

 

Also, I have to admit, I didn't catch the "Lucky Penny" thing until my co-watching friend pointed it out - at which point I became the Jason of my group, and said "Fuck you, movie".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry took me awhile to get to this. And I'm going to echo some things already said so I apologize.

 

As it has been mentioned in the HDTGM forums we have a regular thing we do called Musical Mondays. The movie Top Hat came up for a lot of us that was our first Ginger and Fred movie. This marks the second, and while you could argue nothing tops the first I think that Top Hat is the far superior film. Now, I'm not just saying that from the point of "well top hat has no black number" besides that there are a bunch of reasons it is a superior movie.

 

Firstly and most importantly it is a better story. Top Hat finds its roots in classic French farce of identity confusion. Fred dancing in his friend's room awakes Ginger who is staying below. When she goes to complain she's told that the room belong's to the Fred's friend who is producing the show. Thus the movie follows his attempts to woo her as she tries to avoid him thinking he's this other married man. Identities are swapped there is confusion which leads to humor that's all set up at the top of the movie. Like Paul said Swing Time pretty much starts each scene with new information that will propel itself to the next new scene. This hurts the flow of the story as it isn't set up from the start or slowly unfolding. It's like driving in a car that's hitting gas then brake, gas then brake. In addition in Top Hat by the nature of the story it is more in line with modern romantic comedies and you actually want this couple to get together. Because it has its roots in farce as well a lot of the comedy works well too. The supporting characters are just as strong as well. It also has classic songs. Top Hat features "Cheek to Cheek" which is a song that has been in referenced in other films and is as notable as "The Way You Look Tonight" or any of the other songs in Swing Time as well.

 

Where Swing Time out does Top Hat is in that finale dance number. It is so incredible that yes it and the shadow dancing are technically better than the dances in Top Hat, but that doesn't mean that the dances in Top Hat are bad at all. They just don't have the same technically wow to them that Swing Time has. "Cheek to Cheek" is a very intimate dance number much like "Never Going to Dance Again" it is a number to show the progress of the relation of the characters but again just lacking in that technical flair.

 

I guess the question becomes is Top Hat more deserving to be on the Top 100? I'm going to say no. Is Swing Time the best Ginger and Fred movie? I've only scene two and I think the other one is much better movie. I think the only reason Swing Time is on the list is because of the incredible nature of its dance scenes. I doubt it is actually considered to be on of the best movies of all time or the best of Ginger and Fred, but strictly from a technical aspect the dancing cannot be matched so they award it a spot. I guess there will be more to talk about or compare when we get to the other musical from around this time Yankee Doodle Dandy.

 

So if you watched this and enjoyed please go check out Top Hat. If you were unsure about this, maybe try them in Top Hat which is brisker and funnier. If you hated this, you probably won't like Top Hat, but you won't know until you watch it.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a great fan of this era of musicals, but while SWING TIME has a few phenomenal songs and dance sequences (the meet cute in the dance school is one of my favorites), it wasn't ever my favorite Rogers/Astaire film. I've always been somewhat partial to TOP HAT. That one still has a paper thin plot, but it's ever so much thicker than that of SWING TIME. Plus, it has stronger comic relief, with the assist of a staple of so many of Astaire's films, Edward Everett Horton. I'm actually quite surprised that SWING TIME remained on the AFI list when they revised it in 2007. They actually revised it quite a bit, and removed several "problematic" titles. Amy remarked about how BIRTH OF A NATION didn't make the list, but it was in fact originally on there, but was replaced with the more positive and less controversial INTOLERANCE after the revision. I might have put TOP HAT on in place of SWING TIME, or maybe my favorite Astaire film, THE BAND WAGON, though that doesn't have Ginger. I'm also a dear fan of the Busby Berkeley films but I'm not surprised they didn't make the cut. I believe that even in the late 90's, his films such as the GOLD DIGGERS series, 42ND STREET, and FOOTLIGHT PARADE, had somewhat fallen into obscurity. I think they got more attention and a big revival in the early years of this century, thanks to heavy rotation of Turner Classic Movies, as well as the boom of the DVD medium, where many of those films saw their first release in the home video market ever. Even as they made their comebacks, they still managed to be ignored by the AFI. Pity.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Where Swing Time out does Top Hat is in that finale dance number. It is so incredible that yes it and the shadow dancing are technically better than the dances in Top Hat, but that doesn't mean that the dances in Top Hat are bad at all. They just don't have the same technically wow to them that Swing Time has. "Cheek to Cheek" is a very intimate dance number much like "Never Going to Dance Again" it is a number to show the progress of the relation of the characters but again just lacking in that technical flair.

 

Maybe it's because Top Hat was my first F&G movie, but I think the Cheek to Cheek dance number outshines any of the pair dances in Swing Time in terms of romance and elegance (and number of feathers).

 

giphy.gif

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Hey all!

 

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that Duck Soup is currently on sale on iTunes for 4.99. It may be awhile before they get to it, but that’s a pretty good price if you like owning these movies.

 

(Mutiny on the Bounty, from the original list, is also on sale for 7.99 if anyone is interested in that)

 

Tom S, Cam B and I always try to let each other know when classic movies go on sale. If/when any AFI movies do, I will post them on the forums. Sometimes these sales last a little bit but sometimes they end pretty quick. I’ve kicked myself a couple of times for not jumping on a deal when I had the chance :)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a great fan of this era of musicals, but while SWING TIME has a few phenomenal songs and dance sequences (the meet cute in the dance school is one of my favorites), it wasn't ever my favorite Rogers/Astaire film. I've always been somewhat partial to TOP HAT. That one still has a paper thin plot, but it's ever so much thicker than that of SWING TIME. Plus, it has stronger comic relief, with the assist of a staple of so many of Astaire's films, Edward Everett Horton.

Bless you for mentioning Edward Everett Horton.

 

I haven't posted in this thread because I complained so much about Swing Time, in the other threads, in anticipation, just dreading when it would come. In summary, a Fred and Ginger movie without Horton is like Marx Bros without Margaret Dumont.

 

For people who hated Swing Time, it's probably a waste of time to try another F&G movie. But if you like them, and I have since I was a little girl, pre cable, when they ran old movies on our local TV, then it has some good scenes but it's a movie I can never watch front to back when TCM re-runs all the major F&G movies around New Years Day. It has F&G but the other characters are subpar. I prefer the Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet, and Shall We Dance. They are all silly, but they are a better kind of silly.

 

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but did they mention what a horrible person Ginger Rogers was--with the anti-communist stuff? I can hold on to my childhood love of F&G but I want nothing to do with her outside their major movies. And if you want to see some better dancing, look up Eleanor Powell on youtube.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but did they mention what a horrible person Ginger Rogers was--with the anti-communist stuff? I can hold on to my childhood love of F&G but I want nothing to do with her outside their major movies. And if you want to see some better dancing, look up Eleanor Powell on youtube.

 

No, they didn’t mention that at all.

Share this post


Link to post

No, they didn’t mention that at all.

 

I've been trying to look this up. It seems like Ginger Rogers did say some nasty stuff about Communists in her old age, but it looks like her mother was the one who actively participated in the blacklist and whatnot. But maybe there is more?

Share this post


Link to post

 

I've been trying to look this up. It seems like Ginger Rogers did say some nasty stuff about Communists in her old age, but it looks like her mother was the one who actively participated in the blacklist and whatnot. But maybe there is more?

I think Ginger and her mom were closely aligned, though her mom was the mouthpiece and Ginger could keep up the super sweet image. Ginger was in her mid to late 30s, she was married, her career was on the decline -- she wasn't a teenager with a runaway parent. But this is based on vague memories of things I read a long time ago -- I have no references to cite.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

When I was a kid, I was such a huge fan of F&G. Then once in a while they would run a color movie musical where Fred appeared without Ginger and I'd be devastated. I watched so many old movies on TV when I was little. I didn't have great taste but I had very strong opinions. Local TV would run things in a series too, sometimes loosely related. But some weeks would be Elvis weeks or Frankie and Annette beach movies. So it was good news when it was F&G or Marx Bros week.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

AFI Movies Currently On-sale on iTunes (in HD)!

 

Some Like it Hot - 7.99 (Totally worth it, btw)

Sullivan's Travels - 4.99 (I just bought it!)

Apocalypse Now - 7.99 (The horror...)

 

And, from the 1998 list, The Third Man continues to be 7.99 (which I bought based on all of your recommendations :) )

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
AFI Movies Currently On-sale on iTunes (in HD)!

 

Some Like it Hot - 7.99 (Totally worth it, btw)

Sullivan's Travels - 4.99 (I just bought it!)

Apocalypse Now - 7.99 (The horror...)

 

And, from the 1998 list, The Third Man continues to be 7.99 (which I bought based on all of your recommendations :)/> )

 

I might be the only person who wasn’t delighted by Some Like it Hot. >__<

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

 

I might be the only person who wasn’t delighted by Some Like it Hot. >__<

 

Really? Is it Tony Curtis? If so, I get it. However, I will not sit idly by and let you besmirch Jack Lemmon.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I might be the only person who wasn’t delighted by Some Like it Hot. >__<

I find it a bit heartbreaking to watch Marilyn in that, but I have a soft spot for the movie.

 

I didn't care for Sullivan's Travels but I'm willing to try again because maybe I was too young when I saw it.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I find it a bit heartbreaking to watch Marilyn in that, but I have a soft spot for the movie.

 

I didn't care for Sullivan's Travels but I'm willing to try again because maybe I was too young when I saw it.

I remember Sullivan's Travels, and all the Preston Sturges movies I've seen being well made but not charming me the way I think they intend to. I've run into this problem with, I think, just about every romantic comedy pre-1950s save His Girl Friday. So, I think that's just a personal thing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Really? Is it Tony Curtis? If so, I get it. However, I will not sit idly by and let you besmirch Jack Lemmon.

Tony Curtis nearly ruins the movie for me, but Jack Lemmon is so delightful he outweighs that.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Tony Curtis nearly ruins the movie for me, but Jack Lemmon is so delightful he outweighs that.

I loved Tony Curtis in it when I first saw it and then I saw his disparaging remarks towards Marilyn during their press tours and that soured me from him in general. I get that she was in the midst of her personal struggles and it was affecting others' work but at least have a bit of empathy and don't compare kissing her to kissing Hitler...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×