Astaire and Rogers let themselves go in... Follow the Fleet (1936)
Yesterday, we swam around the pool with Esther Williams. Today, we match taps with Fred and Ginger. Follow the Fleet is, to me, pretty underrated. Sometimes it can feel like all you hear about is Top Hat, Swing Time, and The Gay Divorcee, which are all great films, but come on, there's more out there. Like Follow the Fleet. Effervescent, silly, and very easy on the eyes and ears, this film is one of my go-to's whenever I'm having a bad day. I typically give Top Hat as my favorite Astaire-Rogers flick, but honestly, it and Fleet switch back and forth.
here. Bake is excited, though -- the
"Let Yourself Go." If you think that gal in the middle looks an awful lot like Betty Grable, you'd be correct. Like Ball, Grable had been in a Fred and Ginger flick before with The Gay Divorcee (1934). Her part in that film had been a bit bigger since she got to perform "Let's Knock Knees" with Edward Everett Horton and here she sings back-up and then slowly disappears for the rest of the movie.
I would like to take a break from the film real quick to gush over this gorgeous apartment. It's definite proof that the movies are make-believe -- how else could you explain the Martin girls being able to afford this place? It is easily my dream home, although we only get to see the kitchen and the living room, which doubles as a dining room. Look at these pictures and tell me it isn't to die for:
|This photo will be explained later, I promise.|
here. Understandably, Sherry asks for a drink of water before doing her singing. Bake overhears this and, seeing an opportunity to get rid of Sherry's competition, he fills her cup with bicarbonate of soda, causing Sherry to uncontrollably hiccup, thus ruining her audition. (I'm not one to expect realism out of Hollywood, especially a musical like this, but I never understand why Sherry doesn't get another chance. The beginning of her song is strong, so couldn't she just explain that she suddenly got the hiccups?)
here. Once again, her gown is superb. Over at the punch bowl, Bake is disappointed to find out that he'd been downing punch only to discover it wasn't spiked with liquor like he thought. The poor guy can't catch a break, and it will soon get worse.
no, really!), and the dance is pure goofiness. Everything will be going along smoothly and then Fred will do a step that Ginger really likes so she'll keep repeating it instead of moving on. You can see it here and you should. It's so joyful to watch.
You must see it.
When the dance was over, Astaire admitted to the director and Ginger that
here. Although I agree with Astaire on the movie, I do like this poignant moment because Martin and Peters' characters use Fred and Ginger as an escape, just like real Thirties audiences did.
Follow the Fleet comes from the 1922 play Shore Leave, although they really don't bear a resemblance to one another. Shore Leave was made into a musical before Fleet called Hit the Deck. That musical came on the scene in 1925 and had a hit score by Vincent Youmans. In 1955, it was adapted to the screen with a sensational cast: Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Tony Martin, Ann Miller, Russ Tamblyn, and Vic Damone. That version capitalized on the unofficial "sailors-on-leave" genre that popped up after 1949's On the Town. Funnily enough, Tony Martin played Bilge in Hit the Deck and he also played an extra sailor in Fleet, although I've never been able to spot him. Hit the Deck is an adorable, entertaining film, though -- I highly recommend it. If you ever need a pick-me-up, you can't go wrong with a double feature of Fleet and Deck. It would be literal sunshine coming right out of your TV.
|Look at this shot! I've been dying to get a screenshot of this for a long time -- it's such a perfect image.|
This is my second entry to the brilliant Ice Cream Social Blogathon. For the rest of the magnificent blogathon, click here.