Carefree (1938)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 1938.  RKO Radio Pictures.  Screenplay by , , story and adaptation by , , based on an original idea by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  

One of the weakest of the many delightful films that Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire did together. He plays a psychiatrist whose most frequent patient (Ralph Bellamy) wants him to help with his fiancee (Rogers). It seems the dizzy dame is avoiding marriage, and Bellamy hopes that psychotherapy will cure her fear of the altar. Instead, she falls in love with Astaire, but not before a lot of silly complications involving disorderly behaviour under hypnosis nearly get her hitched to the wrong guy. Naturally, the film’s childish understanding of psychiatry could only wash with an audience that knew nothing of the subject, but where it fails modern-day fans of the couple is in the tunes: there isn’t too much dancing and there is certainly not enough singing. By this point Astaire and Rogers were no longer interested in working together and only made the film because RKO’s flailing finances needed the profits, which may account for the lack of pizzazz. Astaire is sleepwalking when he isn’t dancing, but Rogers is adorable and handles the eyeroll-worthy plot with panache.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Art Direction; Best Scoring; Best Song (“Change Partners”)

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