Criterion Press Release: Swing Time (Blu-ray)

3 Stars
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In this irresistible musical, the legendary dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are at the pinnacle of their art as a feckless gambler and the shrewd dancing instructor in whom he more than meets his match. Director George Stevens laces their romance with humor and clears the floor for the movie’s showstopping dance scenes, in which Astaire and Rogers take seemingly effortless flight in a virtuosic fusion of ballroom and tap styles. Buoyed by beloved songs by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern—including the Oscar-winning classic “The Way You Look Tonight”—Swing Time is an exuberant celebration of its stars’ chemistry, grace, and sheer joy in the act of performance.

FILM INFO

  • George Stevens
  • United States
  • 1936
  • 103 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #979SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Audio commentary from 1986 featuring John Mueller, author of Astaire Dancing: The Musical Films
    • Archival interviews with performers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and choreographer Hermes Pan
    • New interview with George Stevens Jr.
    • In Full Swing, a new program on the film’s choreography and soundtrack featuring jazz and film critic Gary Giddins, dance critic Brian Seibert, and Dorothy Fields biographer Deborah Grace Winer
    • New interview with film scholar Mia Mask on the “Bojangles of Harlem” number
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

    New cover by Raphael Geroni

    June 11, 2019

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

23 Comments

  1. Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

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  2. Ah, but the names over the actor's heads are reversed!

    This is progress. I just bought this and WAR AND PEACE at Criterion's site for $72 total. And I still have the laserdisc of SWING TIME that listed for $74.99 30+ years ago.

  3. Ronald Epstein

    I guess I will be purchasing this blindly. Never saw this musical.

    I only watched it because my site has a page devoted to reviews of all the AFI 100 films.

    It's pretty good! I'm not a musicals guy but I liked this one:

    "“Likable” and “charming” are probably the best words to describe Swing Time. This isn’t a film with much depth, so it lives and dies with its stars. Astaire and Rogers interact so nicely and create so many enjoyable dance sequences that they carry the flick. Quick-witted, funny and entertaining, this is a very pleasant ride. "

  4. Colin Jacobson

    I only watched it because my site has a page devoted to reviews of all the AFI 100 films.

    It's pretty good! I'm not a musicals guy but I liked this one:

    "“Likable” and “charming” are probably the best words to describe Swing Time. This isn’t a film with much depth, so it lives and dies with its stars. Astaire and Rogers interact so nicely and create so many enjoyable dance sequences that they carry the flick. Quick-witted, funny and entertaining, this is a very pleasant ride. "

    Thanks, Colin. I will buy this but only when it goes on sale.

  5. Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

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  6. On an old thread, after You'll Never Get Rich was released and everyone was asking about You Were Never Lovelier, Nick Redmond indicated that he would like to release it via Twilight Time, but there was a rights issue. This was several years ago, so who knows if any progress has been (or can be) made.

  7. Swing Time, for me, is the best of the Astaire/Rogers films – absolutely perfect in every way, from it's funny script to the amazing songs, to some of the best dance sequences ever put on film – Pick Yourself Up and Never Gonna Dance – the latter is a masterpiece of staging, design, direction, and photography. It's more than a "nice" film – it's brilliant.

  8. haineshisway

    Swing Time, for me, is the best of the Astaire/Rogers films – absolutely perfect in every way, from it's funny script to the amazing songs, to some of the best dance sequences ever put on film – Pick Yourself Up and Never Gonna Dance – the latter is a masterpiece of staging, design, direction, and photography. It's more than a "nice" film – it's brilliant.

    Couldn't agree more, especially about Never Gonna Dance, one of Jerome Kern's darkest and most dramatic melodies with superb lyrics from Dorothy Fields.

  9. haineshisway

    Swing Time, for me, is the best of the Astaire/Rogers films – absolutely perfect in every way, from it's funny script to the amazing songs, to some of the best dance sequences ever put on film – Pick Yourself Up and Never Gonna Dance – the latter is a masterpiece of staging, design, direction, and photography. It's more than a "nice" film – it's brilliant.

    Agree, agree, agree. Shall we also give some credit to George Stevens?

  10. haineshisway

    Absolutely, all hail George Stevens – I did give him credit under "direction" 🙂 His work is perfect – simple and perfect.

    You did, but I wanted to give his name due prominence.

  11. We need "Shall We Dance" , the last great Fred and Ginger in my opinion, almost the last George Gershwin score. Pete P Peters as Petrov and Linda Keane. The first of their films where they married.

  12. To your selection of highlights, Bruce, I'd also add 'Mr Bojangles' I first watched this movie in a crowded revival movie-house in Melbourne with a largely young audience who were enraptured by the entire movie. And at the moment in 'Mr Bojangles' when Fred stops dancing but his apparent shadows continue, the entire audience stood and cheered.
    And yes, 'Never Gonna Dance' is sublime .. as is the infectious 'Pick Yourself Up' In fact, every single musical item is just sensational.

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