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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roberta (1935)

A group of musicians and their bandleader (Fred Astaire) are stranded in Paris when Astaire's football playing buddy (Randolph Scott) goes to his aunt (Helen Westley), a famous Paris couturiere, for help. Based on Jerome Kern's hit Broadway musical, this was the third film pairing of Astaire and Ginger Rogers though it's Irene Dunne who's top billed. Dunne gets to trill some good songs like Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Yesterdays though any pleasure you may derive depends on how you react to her singing voice (I don't like it). Dunne's also saddled with the stiff Randolph Scott, at his most unappealing, as her romantic pairing. Fortunately, we have the affable Astaire and the sassy Rogers (at her most likable) as a phony Russian countess to pick up the slack and though they only have three dance numbers, when they dance the film becomes something special and they're lucky enough to get two of the film's best songs, I'll Be Hard To Handle and the catchy I Won't Dance. It makes the negligible plot less painful. Directed by William A. Seiter. With Claire Dodd, Victor Varconi and briefly glimpsed as a model, a young Lucille Ball.

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