Fred Astaire Films p.2
Carefree  1938 - A slight change of pace in that Ginger's the one pursuing Fred in this very enjoyable musicomedy. He's a psychiatrist whose attempts at hypnostising Ginger to increase her enthusiasm for her fiance (Ralph Bellamy in one of his likeable-dolt roles) backfire, causing no end of complications. Wonderful dances and great screwball humor too. more
The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle  1939 - Fred and Ginger's last film of the '30s - they play the husband-and-wife dancing team that took Pre-World War I audiences by storm. more
Broadway Melody of 1940   1940 - Entertaining story of Fred constantly trying to bolster his playboy buddy's (George Murphy) dancing career in detriment to his own - and falling for George's leading lady besides (the amazing Eleanor Powell.) The glittering Astaire-Powell dance to Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" is riveting.
Second Chorus  1940 - Offbeat little film that has Fred and pal Burgess Meredith simultaneously pursuing Paulette Goddard and trying to get a job with Artie Shaw's band.
You'll Never Get Rich  1941 - The first of two films Fred would make with the luscious Rita Hayworth. The lovely Rita was a dancer before she was a pin-up girl, and makes a fantastic partner for Astaire. The story tells of choreographer Fred roped into a phoney 'romance' with chorus girl Rita by his boss (Robert Benchley)- then being drafted and unable to straighten out the whole mess - well, until the happy ending, that is.
Holiday Inn  1942  - Fred's the star, and thorn in the side, of Bing Crosby and his supper club shows- the two are buddies but constantly trying to win their current leading lady away from each other. Great numbers, all with holiday themes - Fred's Fourth of July firecrackers show is a particular standout. Oodles of Irving Berlin songs, including Crosby's singing the record-breaking best seller "White Christmas" for the first time.
You Were Never Lovelier  1942 - Fred's reunited with ravishing Rita - this time she's the eldest sister of a large Argentinian family who's being too picky about her suitors to suit her younger sisters (they can't marry until she does, according to family custom). Enter Fred, who seems a likely candidate to sweep Big Sis off her feet...except for Papa (Adolphe Menjou), who doesn't approve at all.
The Sky's the Limit  1943 - Flying Tiger Fred goes incognito on leave, falls for earnest newspaper reporter Joan Leslie. Unaware of his fabulous war record, she thinks he's a ne'er-do-well and tries her best to find him a 'worthy' job. Astaire connoisseurs will notice an intriguing edge to his portrayal of the flyer - a subtle difference from his usual carefree and debonair characters.
Yolanda and the Thief  1945 - Fred's first film in Technicolor could not possibly have been in better hands than director Vincente Minnelli's. Artist Minnelli used the screen as his canvas in most of his films, and "Yolanda" is no exception. The syncopated "Coffeetime" dance is irresistable, and the dream sequence number is really bizarre- think: MGM Musical Meets Salvador Dali! The fairytale plot concerns swindler Fred out to fleece naive princess Lucille Bremer out of all she's got. He poses as her Guardian Angel and gives lots of advice on how to nobly rid herself of her wealth, until his conscience eventually gets the better of him. You'll need plenty of suspension-of-disbelief with this one, but it can be truly fascinating given the chance.
Ziegfeld Follies  1946 - MGM pulled out all the stops to showcase their vast field of talent from glamour girls to comedians - and of course, dancers. Fred dances with Gene Kelly for the first and only time in their prime years.
Blue Skies  1946 - The likeable team of Astaire and Bing Crosby returns, this time in Technicolor. Bing's a dreamer whose habit of closing his successful nightclubs in order to move on to the next endeavor almost costs him his wife (Joan Caulfield). Fred's his partner who comes close to winning Joan away from Mr. Lack-of-Commitment. Astaire's dancing far outweighs the ho-hum plot - his "Puttin' on the Ritz" is a particular standout, as well as the boogie-woogie "Heat Wave" - the finale of that one's likely to make any Astaire-lover do some serious wincing.
Easter Parade  1948 - The one and only teaming of Astaire with the fabulous Judy Garland almost wasn't. Gene Kelly was slated to co-star with Garland but broke his ankle - hence Fred stepped in, and the two stars make a wonderful team indeed. Fred loses his glamorous dancing partner (Ann Miller) to so-called greener pastures and in a fit of pique, bets he can turn literally any woman into a bigger and better star than she. He randomly picks little nobody Hannah Brown (Judy) who appears to be a hopeless case at first, but, well, you can guess what happens - and what an enjoyable ride it is, from beginning to end.