979 Swing Time

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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schellenbergk
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:03 pm

Re: 979 Swing Time

#26 Post by schellenbergk » Fri May 17, 2019 8:47 am

Fred Holywell wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:09 pm
DVDBeaver
I'm especially looking forward to that interview with Fred Astaire's hat...

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dustybooks
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#27 Post by dustybooks » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:53 am

As implied, it doesn’t look that much better than the old Warner DVD — which I have to keep anyway as it contains an otherwise unavailable Looney Tune! — but the supplements are exquisite. The lengthy documentary is very nice and detailed, with Giddins a particularly engaging contributor, and I greatly enjoyed the longer audio interview with Ginger Rogers. Meanwhile, reading Chris’ review I think I liked the John Mueller commentary a little more than he did; because I don’t have much technical understanding of dance, I appreciated his very fast-paced breakdowns of Astaire’s routines and I didn’t mind the various dead spots (though that’s maybe because I hadn’t watched the film in a few years).

While I prefer Top Hat overall (more down to the comic than the musical elements) this really is one of the few musicals I’ve seen in which every number is genuinely wonderful. “Never Gonna Dance” almost had me in tears this time, which I don’t recall happening before so I suppose I’m becoming a sap in my old age. And while I recognize how offensive “Bojangles of Harlem” is — and if I didn’t recognize that, at least three of the features would set me right! (Mia Mask’s interview is well done, by the way) — I still marvel at how ingeniously put together it is; when I first saw the film in my twenties its visual audacity was the thing that knocked me out the most.

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movielocke
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#28 Post by movielocke » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:35 pm

browsing the BN sale (40% off most non-criterions right now) I noticed that the latest repackaging of "vol 1" of the astaire rogers collection combines at least three of the films that I really liked, Top Hat, Shall we Dance, and the Gay Divorcee, and it's only 12 bucks right now.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-si ... 3929596560

I never saw Carefree, is it any good?

volume 2

I'm guessing they only put four in this repackage because Swing Time was licensed out, and I've heard the Barkleys of Broadway is the worst (and doesn't fit with the 30s series), which is probably why it was dropped in these repackagings.

A previous TCM classics packaging had Swing Time, Top Hat, Shall we Dance and the Gay Divorcee, given those are the four best, I should have picked it up! I don't know how many times I nearly bought it, because I always seemed to see it on the TCM Barnes and noble display.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#29 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:51 pm

Carefree is pretty thin (comically/dramatically and musically) compared to the rest of volume 1.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#30 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 pm

I rank it fifth (behind Swing Time, Top Hat, Gay Divorcee and Shall We Dance), although it's not in the same class and definitely not a major A&R film. They go screwball in this one, with the accent on comedy rather than on the musical numbers, which are relatively few, though still engaging. Yeah, the comedy and tunes aren't always brilliant, but Fred and Ginger's charm still make it enjoyable overall.

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 979 Swing Time

#31 Post by Matt » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:51 pm

I really enjoyed the commentary on this. It is perhaps a little dry in parts, but is really worth paying attention to during the musical sequences. I've never heard a commentary explain a film's choreography and how it relates to the narrative quite like this one does. As many time as I've seen this film, I never noticed the repeated callbacks to the little hop steps from the first "dancing school" scene with Astaire and Rogers or how Astaire makes even throwing dice into a dance move until Mueller pointed them out.

I know some here were disappointed that the supplements seemed a little sparse, but I think there's just enough here to contextualize the film without becoming repetitive. I'm probably in the minority, but I've come to prefer these packages that you can get through in one afternoon or evening.

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Drucker
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#32 Post by Drucker » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:27 pm

Just watched this for the first time and absolutely loved it. I had mentioned in another thread months ago that my early forays into musicals hadn't gone well and someone remarked I clearly wasn't watching the right ones. The film was coherent, funny, all the music was in the perfect place and hit the perfect notes. Wonderful stuff. Even the slightly annoying 'father' figure was alright by me.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 979 Swing Time

#33 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:58 pm

Gay Divorcee on CC looked (very nicely) restored (rather like Swing Time) -- I wonder how many of the Fred and Ginger films have been/are being similarly restored?

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