Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Barkleys of Broadway
MGM, 1949, Color, 109 minutes, ***½
Released May, 1949

After 10 years apart, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers reteam in their final film pairing, cleverly written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and smoothly directed by Charles Walters. The story, per many sources, mirrors real-life creative tensions the two shared. Astaire plays driven hoofer Josh Barkley. Rogers is his wife Dinah, who longs to forsake the clackety-clap tapping of "Bouncin' the Blues" for stage dramas. She parts, Josh vies to win her back and the routines leading to a happy resolution include Fred's "Shoes with Wings On" and a rhapsodic reprise of a George and Ira Gershwin number from Shall We Dance: "They Can't Take That Away from Me." All of which proves they can't take away the Astaire / Rogers magic either.

The Barkleys of Broadway was originally planned as a follow-up film to Easter Parade, pairing Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. But when Judy became ill, Ginger came out of retirement to play the part.

Produced by: Arthur Freed
Associate Producer: Roger Edens
Directed by: Charles Walters
Original Screen Play by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Music by: Harry Warren
Lyrics by: Ira Gershwin
Musical Direction: Lennie Hayton
Orchestration: Conrad Salinger
Vocal Arrangements: Robert Tucker
Song: "They Can't Take That Away from Me"
Music by George Gershwin, Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Musical Numbers Stagged and Directed by: Robert Alton
Dance Number: "Shoes with Wings On"
Directed by: Hermes Pan
Dancing Shoes Effects: Irving G. Ries
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Edward Carfagno
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Associate: Arthur Krams
Miss Rogers' Costumes by: Irene
Men's Costumes by: Valles
Hair Styles Designed by: Sydney Guilaroff
Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Director of Photography: Harry Stradling
Color by Technicolor
Technicolor Color Director: Natalie Kalmus
Associate: Henri Jaffa
Film Editor: Albert Akst

Awards: Academy Award nomination for Best Color Cinematography (Harry Stradling)

Cast: Fred Astaire [Josh Barkley], Ginger Rogers [Dinah Barkley], Oscar Levant [Ezra Miller], Billie Burke [Mrs. Livingston Belney], Gale Robbins [Shirlene May], Jacques Francois [Jacques Pierre Barredout], George Zucco [The Judge], Clinton Sundberg [Bert Felsher], Inez Cooper [Pamela Driscoll], Carol Brewster [Gloria Amboy], Wilson Wood [Larry], Additional Cast: Jean Andren, Laura Treadwell [Women], Margaret Bert [Mary, the Maid], Allen Wood [Taxi Driver], Forbes Murray, Bess Flowers, Lois Austin, Betty Blythe [Guests in Theatre Lobby], Bill Tannen [Doorman at Theatre], Mahlon Hamilton [Apartment Doorman], Hans Conried [Ladislaus Ladi], Sherry Hall [Chauffeur], Reginald Simpson [Husband], Esther Somers [Sarah's Mother], Helen Eby-Rock [Sarah's Aunt], Mary Jo Ellis [Clementine], Joyce Matthews [Genevieve], Joe Granby [Duke de Morny]

Musical Program: [0:00] Swing Trot (sung by Chorus, danced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers behind titles); [0:12] Sabre Dance (piano solo by Oscar Levant); [0:18] You'd Be Hard to Replace (sung by Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers); [0:25] Bouncin' the Blues (instrumental number danced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers); [0:31] My One and Only Highland Fling (sung and danced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers); [0:39] A Weekend in the Country (sung by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Oscar Levant); [0:54] Shoes with Wings On (sung and danced by Fred Astaire with magic shoes); [1:13] Excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (played by Ochestra, Oscar Levant at the piano, at the Mercy Hospital Benefit); [1:21] They Can't Take That Away from Me (sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, at the Mercy Hospital Benefir); [1:32] La Marseillaise (French National Anthem) recited by Ginger Rogers; [1:45] Manhattan Downbeat (finale number sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with Chorus)

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