Saturday, August 12, 2006
Follow the Fleet and Escape
In light of the world going mad (i.e. Lebanon and Israel and the recent liquid scare on airlines), a light film was what the doctor prescribed. To this end, Follow the Fleet, directed by Mark Sandrich who is best known for Top Hat), with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the leading roles, allowed me to escape just like the Great Depression audience of 1936.
The music and lyrics by Irvin Berlin are charming.
A Nebraska by birth, I have to say that fellow Nebraskan, Fred Astaire (Omaha; now don't forget Marlon Brando who was also born in Omaha) who was born on my birthday, was also my idol--confession time: I wanted to be a dancer and truth be told the closest I got was one who loves music and in my salad days could dance for four hours straight, stopping only to quench my thirst.
The most famous scene from this film is the dance number "Let's Face the Music and Dance" with Ginger Rogers wearing a beaded dress which supposedly weighed 30 lbs. Oddly, both the characters played by Rogers and Astaire were contemplating suicide for different reasons and thankfully dance saved them from the act. This scene was redone 20 times but the first take--all in one shot--was one that is used in the film.
If you decide to rent this film, look for Betty Grable and Lucille Ball in minor roles.
After seeing this film, I realized that of late I have begun to shy away from violent films and highly negative ones. Even though I am quite aware of what is happening in the world (I read both the Washington Post and the New York Times, occasionally listen to Radio Madrid, and watch France 2 and the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart religiously), I do feel the need to escape into musicals and science fiction films because I like everyone else need balance in my life.