Shall We Dance Carefree?

Originally posted on emerysanborne.com on March 11, 2013. Also the first, and only, blog post to earn me an internet troll comment. Yay? FYI, I’ve still never watched Vernon and Irene Castle or The Barkleys of Broadway, and I’m not sure that I ever will.

I managed to fit two more Astaire and Rogers flicks in for the weekend–Shall We Dance (which is probably the best all around and slightly more of a favorite for me than Roberta) and Carefree.

About the only thing Shall We Dance doesn’t have going for it is a lack of a snarky, awesome gal pal of Ginger’s (ie, Helen Broderick). However, Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore were there, the song and dance numbers were among the best (dancing…on roller skates!!!), and Ginger’s outfits…swoon. I’d really like Petrov aka Peter P. Peters (Astaire) to meet the Countess aka Liz (Rogers) from Roberta–two small-town kids who’ve made a splash. Speaking of Petrov, Fred’s over-the-top Russian accent at the start is one of his best comedic moments. While Fred does a bit of the charming stalker, it’s to a lesser extent than previous films. And the whole public thinking they’re married so they have to get for real married to get a divorce so Ginger can marry her fiancee even though she’s fallen for Fred, etc., is probably one of the stronger farcical plots. Also, as I said in my Tweets while watching, if Edward Everett Horton’s character and Ginger’s manager Arthur didn’t have a drunken fling on the boat, I’ll eat my hat. Which hat, I haven’t decided yet, but probably not one of the knit ones. 🙂

Carefree was, as box offices told, not their strongest outing. And I had seen parts of it before, but just didn’t recall. I think what ultimately saves this movie is that Ginger Rogers is one top notch comedian and that talent gets to shine in this film. I think this is also probably the creepiest plot with Fred the psychologist helping his buddy’s fiancee get over her wedding jitters. Just…ugh. But there are good dialogue moments, Ginger totally steals the movie, and I really hope Aunt Cora and Fred’s nurse/assistant guy hook up.

The two remaining films are Vernon and Irene Castle and The Barkleys of Broadway, which I’m iffy about. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen parts of one of the two, including the end where Fred dies (so the former?). Go in with low expectations and maybe be pleasantly surprised. Worse case scenario, I cleanse my palate with Shall We Dance and Roberta. 🙂

 

If you’re curious about the above mentioned troll–more of a one-off mansplainer–his comment, and my responses, see below.

Trolly McTroll-Face’s comment from August 8, 2013:

“Shall We Dance” was a cute film and had the advantage of having Edward E. Horton, Eric Blore and phony Italian, Eric Rhodes. “Carefree” (1938)–Astaire and Rogers’ last comedy-musical film together probably due to Rogers’ desire and insistence in having only dramatic roles–had Franklin Pangborn (later of “Palm Beach Story” and “Now Voyager” fame) and Jack Carson (in one of his funniest roles).

While “Carefree” didn’t have Horton and Blore, it DID have the superb music of Irving Berlin and a number of hysterical scenes beginning with the first one right up to the next-to-last scene where Astaire ducks and Walter Bellamy knocks out his fiancée, Rogers at just the wrong time for him. While “Carefree” did have a truly silly ending, it had something “Shall We Dance” (1937) didn’t have–a slow-motion “dream sequence” featuring Rogers in a rare, low-cut gorgeous white dress which her breasts almost fell out of on a couple of moves. It was by far one of THE most beautiful scenes from any of their previous comedy-musicals. It also had a sensational dance scene to the silly song “Yam” and featured a wonderful golf clubbing song-and-dance by Astaire. “Carefree” also marked a change in the plots, silly as they were. In this one, Rogers wasn’t engaged to some wimpy Brit or some bellicose, bravado Latino bandleader who Astaire always seem to beat out for her hand. She was engaged to powerful lawyer Bellamy who was quite funny in this one.

Wishing homosexual trysts for characters in a 1938 film is about as sick as it gets. Leave homosexuality out of your critiques–perhaps more people will read them!

My response:

Hi, Dave! Thank you so much for taking the time to swing by my little out of the way blog. I was wondering why only spambots seem to leave comments. Gosh. Consider me chastised.

*record screech*

Seriously, Dave? You do know what kind of books I write, right? If you can’t tell from the covers, my bio takes maybe a second to read. I’ll wait.

If you’re taking issue with my finding homosexual/homoerotic, etc. subtext in films, be they from 1938 or 2008, clearly you shouldn’t be here in the first place. Because what I write is even “sicker”.

Since we’re both casting aspersions–it should take you even less time to Google that than read my bio–you’ve made me a bit sick with your description of the dream sequence in Carefree. I can’t help but think you find the scene (which I found went on too long and was quite dull) so beautiful because it features “Rogers in a rare, low-cut gorgeous white dress which her breasts almost fell out of on a couple of moves.”

Maybe the day you keep your heteronormative, narrow-minded, sexist objectifications to yourself… Nah, that’ll never happen.

And my follow-up blog post that day entitled, “Fuck it. Let’s engage, motherfucker.”:

It loses something both on the page and when uttered by anyone other than Dara O’Briain. Still, the sentiment is right. Oh, yes.  OH, yes.

Point. I have one.

Baby got her first internet troll! It’s given me an odd mixture of pleasure and rage.

I woke up this morning to find a not spam comment on one of my Astaire and Rogers posts from a few months back. That might be the main source of pleasure–not a spambot, score! Of course, Mr. Not-Spambot is apparently a Tea Party conservative with a radio show. Clearly, someone had some time on their hands.

Apparently, if I were to “leave homosexuality out of [my] critiques–perhaps more people will read them!” Exclamation point. Damn. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong.

Never mind that this is my author blog and I’m an author who writes a significant amount of male/male stories. If I’d just leave teh gay out of it, people wouldn’t be disgusted.

And how dare I read a homoerotic (not-so) subtext into old movies. Better that I toe the heteronormative line and oggle Ginger Rogers cleavage. Wait, I’m a woman, so that wouldn’t be heternormative, that would be homosexual. Good thing I’m bi. Oh, wait, that not acceptable either. Looks like I’m damned every way I turn. Harumph.

Ass.

Engaging rarely leads anywhere good. Trolls troll for a reason and aren’t going to listen to reason and you usually end up a ball of rage. But Mr. Not-Spambot came into my house and I’ve never been all that good about walking away from a fight, even if it’s in my best interests to walk away (I’m looking at you seventh grade, scrawny me in the locker room). Hell, I think I’m just spoiling for a fight. Too much shit going down in the world to remain quiet and just ignore idiots.

Time for more coffee.

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