Shall We Dance (1937)

MARK SANDRICH

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5

USA, 1937.  RKO Radio Pictures.  Screenplay by , , adaptation by , based on a story by .   Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1937.

You simply can’t go wrong with the RogersAstaire musicals; they were the most sophisticated, best written, best danced musicals of the thirties and forties, and the two stars had marvelous chemistry together. In this entry, which is sheer delight from start to finish, Astaire plays an American in Paris who is masquerading as a high-fallutin’ Russian ballet dancer but really just wants to bop to the sounds of jazz. He’s fallen in love with a classy nightclub singer (Rogers), who has decided to quit Paris and travel home, prompting him to follow her back on the cruise liner where she books passage. A nasty rumour is started on the ship that they are secretly married, forcing them to get legally married in order to obtain a divorce and thereby put the rumours at rest. From there, you can just imagine the complications that arise (with on hand, as usual, to provide most of them). The terrific musical score includes the title song, the Oscar-nominated ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off’ and a wonderful dance on roller-skates that required 150 takes.  Beautiful photography and stylish art deco sets.

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