My brain is kind of melting. I played way too many drinking games last night and can no longer thing of clever titles for my posts.

Anyhoo…. everyone knows the “essential” Fred and Ginger films. Swing Time, Top Hat, The Gay Divorcee, Shall We Dance. But most of my favorites are the ones that don’t get a lot of attention. Roberta, Carefree, Follow the Fleet. And these movies have some of my very favorite Fred and Ginger dances. So why aren’t they better known? So here are my favorite obscure Fred and Ginger movies, with my favorite dances from each of them.

In my absolute favorite of their films, Fred and Ginger actually play second banana to Randolph Scott and Irene Dunne. They are infinitely more interesting than the main couple, but the movie is just so completely charming.

I’ll Be Hard to Handle
I don’t think Fred and Ginger ever had more fun doing a dance number than they did here. It’s a fast, fun, breezy dance that’s a blast to watch, and judging be the smiles and laughter coming from the pair, a blast to perform as well.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
This is my favorite Fred and Ginger dance. It’s a very simple dance, but it’s so well choreographed and put together. It’s extremely beautiful, and has some exquisite moments (the dip, the spin, the way he holds her head against his shoulder… so romantic).

Follow the Fleet
Fred and Ginger are kind of playing second banana again in this one (the other couple is Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard). The balance is a little more even between the pairings in this one, though. For once, Fred and Ginger don’t play upper class people. Fred is a sailor in the Navy and Ginger is a singer/dancer in a small dance hall. It makes for a really unique and fun dynamic between them.

I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
This is probably Fred and Ginger’s funniest number. I also love it because it’s really a moment for Ginger to shine and show her tremendous ability for physical comedy. Fred’s great here, but surprisingly, it really is Gingers number. I also like the song quite a bit as well.

Let’s Face the Music and Dance
Like Smoke Gets In Your Eyes this is a very simply done, but beautiful number. Ginger’s dress is extremely beautiful in it (it’s probably my favorite dress Ginger wore in any of there movies). It was beaded and very heavy, and if you look close enough you can see Fred getting whapped in the face by one of the sleeves.

This is probably the most unique Fred and Ginger movie, because it’s storyline and narrative structure are completely different from their other films. Fred is a psychiatrist who’s trying to help his friend with his wishy washy fiance (Ginger). Of course, they fall in love. This is definitely more Ginger’s movie than Fred’s, and it’s probably her finest comedic performance.

I Used to Be Color Blind
This is a very interesting dance. It’s done in slow motion to give it a dreamy feeling (the whole dance is actually a dream sequence). And it’s also the first time Fred and Ginger shared a kiss onscreen.

The Yam
This number is another reason that this is mostly Ginger’s movie. She gets to sing this song (Fred thought it was too silly and handed it off to her). She does a great job, and she kind of takes the lead in the dance, which is a really fun and creative number.

By Katie Richardson


As you all know from my last post, my brother is getting married tomorrow. I actually have time to myself this morning (amazingly) so I wanted to take some time to talk about weddings in movies.

One of Fred and Ginger’s most unique films revolves all around getting married. Fred is a psychologist who’s best friend, Ralph Bellamy, wants to marry Ginger, but she’s too indecisive to decide if she wants to marry him or not. Ralph brings her to see Fred to try to get her aversion to marriage worked out, and she ends up falling in love with him instead.

There are a lot of differences in this film from usual Fred and Ginger romances. For one, Fred doesn’t play a dancer. The romance follows a more traditional and conventional romantic comedy formula (which, for a Fred and Ginger movie, was not traditional or conventional). There are also so very funny moments involving psycholanalysis and hypnosis. The wedding comes at the very end, but you’ll never forget Ginger walking down the aisle with a shiner.

The Palm Beach Story
The Palm Beach Story is really about weddings (though it is an excellent film about marriage), but it has one of the greatest wedding scenes of all time. It takes place in the opening credits, and doesn’t even make much sense until later in the film, but it’s a great example of screwball filmmaking. It was also one the most unique opening title sequences ever. And, of course, you get to look at Joel McCrea. And that never hurt anyone.

I Married a Witch
I Married a Witch has both a great wedding scene and a great wedding night scene. But not with the same bride. The wedding scene, in which Fredric March is supposed to marry Susan Hayward, is hysterical. Veronica Lake is waiting upstairs, and the wedding keeps starting and stopping, with March running upstairs. Add to the fact the the wonderful Cecil Kellaway is there as Lake’s father trying to sabotage their relationship, and Robert Benchley being all awkward and bumbling.

Then there’s the wedding night, after he’s ditched Hayward at the alter and married Lake. It’s just a simple, sweet, romantic scene between the pair. They had a lot of chemistry, and this scene just shows it

Man’s Castle
You didn’t think I’d write about weddings without mentioning this movie, did you? It’s definitely different in tone than the other movies I’ve talked about. Bill marries Trina out of obligation (though he really does love her) when he discovers she’s pregnant. And she knows it. It’s such an oddly done scene, almost sad, as both of them look miserable. Not because they’re getting married, but because of the reasons. Like so many Borzage weddings, it bucks the traditional notions of a Church wedding, and they’re bound together more spiritually than legally. This is also done in other Borzage films, like Seventh Heaven and The Mortal Storm.

You might even say that, though the words were said, they aren’t truly married until after the wedding, after Bill tries to rob the toy store. He returns to Trina, and she patches up his wound. They make untraditional vows and promises to each other, and it’s much more a scene of unity than the wedding.

By Katie Richardson