Carefree (1938)

Article #897 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-29-2003
Posting Date: 1-26-2004
Directed by Mark Sandrich
Featuring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy

A psychiatrist agrees to analyze his friend’s girlfriend, and ends up falling in love with her.

This is one of the pleasant surprises about taking a fairly wide view in this survey of fantastic cinema; I really didn’t expect to be covering any other Fred Astaire movies than ON THE BEACH or GHOST STORY. But here I am, touching upon one of those wonderful RKO musicals he made with Ginger Rogers during the thirties, and it gets in the gate by featuring a certain amount of hypnotism, a scene that takes place in a dream, and a sequence where Fred Astaire’s mirror reflection talks back to him. The plot is pretty nonsensical, but that’s not why you watch a movie like this; you watch it to see Fred Astaire dance, with or without Ginger Rogers, and this is an experience I find heavenly. In fact, if this movie is a disappointment at all, it’s because there’s not enough dancing and a little too much comedy, though in all honesty the comedy is pretty good. Ralph Bellamy once again finds himself in the role of a boyfriend whose girl is destined to fall in love with the leading man, as he was in HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

Quite frankly, the magic of watching Fred Astaire dance makes me want to take up the art itself. For that matter, I’d take up golf if I could play it while dancing like Fred Astaire (as he does here).

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