15 July 2009

Follow the Fleet

Last night, tired after a solitary evening putting away groceries and chopping vegetables, I put this DVD into the machine, and almost immediately started smiling. There is something about Fred Astaire--especially Fred Astaire singing (even more than his dancing, I think), that evokes a world of ease you can't help but want to sink into.

And then when Ginger Rogers joins him--well, if you can still worry about things like credit card bills and the state of the healthcare system, more power to you.

The movie is, truly, not much. A lot of good songs, sung and danced by a quartet of lovely people skating over a very thin plot. But there are particular charms--not least, the music of Irving Berlin. (Gershwin and Porter get so much attention, it's easy to overlook Berlin.) Also, a small role for a very young Lucille Ball, who apparently got an early start at perfecting the dumb look.

Still, it's Fred who makes this movie. Not from singing talent or dancing talent, but from sheer likability--when his face fills the screen, and he winks or even raises his eyebrows, you're in on the joke and out of whatever minor discontent you were in.

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