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.
Message
Author
User avatar
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...

: 0

User avatar
dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

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.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

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.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

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.

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

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.

User avatar
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.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

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.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

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?

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: 979 Swing Time

#34 Post by CSM126 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:20 pm


User avatar
gcgiles1dollarbin
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:38 am

Re: 979 Swing Time

#35 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:26 pm

Dr. Strangelovian typo:
Svet wrote:so some density fluctuations are fuhrer exacerbated

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 979 Swing Time

#36 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:53 pm

Matt wrote:
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.
I agree, it's an exemplary commentary (quite remarkable given how early it was): informative, well-paced, and it doesn't hurt that John Mueller has similar cadences to Glenn Gould. A pleasure to listen to.

Actually, the whole extras package is really solid and well-conceived. The piece on the blackface sequence is meaty; Gary Giddins is always interesting, and his extra on the music is as full of valuable detail as the commentary; and the Ginger Rogers interviews are wonderfully informative. The only superfluous extra, really, is the Astaire interview, because it's so brief. Swing Time is nowhere near my favourite Astaire / Rogers film, but this disc is a superb intro to their body of work, and one of the best assembled packages of extras I've seen from Criterion in a while.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: 979 Swing Time

#37 Post by movielocke » Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:05 am

Watched the other three films the channel put up, and I see now why criterion went with swing time, while Swing Time maybe has the weakest script and poorest pacing of the book, the set pieces are extraordinary by comparison (though Shall We Dance does up Sandrichs game) and there is a charming meet-cute in Swing Time that is NOT two reels of super creepy stalking (that comprise the romance of the other three films), and Shall We Dance after a pretty flawless first hour manages to be far more offensive as misogyny than Swing Time is with blackface.

On the other hand the other films have scripts I found wittier and supporting casts that were much funnier, Shall we dance has the best song in “let’s call the whole thing off” and both it and “Top Hat” have wonderful scores as well. “Gay Divorcee” is flat out saucy and more modern being at the edges of the pre code era but has much less impressive dancing.

So seen again on the context of all these other fun films, it is nice how much of the book and the book formula “swing time” dispenses with, centering the film more around the set pieces than on an exceptionally tired repetition of endless obstacles to romance. (The plot of “shall we dance” after they get married is so torpid and frustrating because all the new blockades are meaningless time wasters).

On the other hand, forcing the ‘cuffs’ gag as both the opening gag and the closing gag of “swing time” is an incredibly bad choice, and one of the most unfunny gags in these films. Absent the pained forced laughter of this weakass joke at the end of “swing time”, I’d probably hold it in higher regard.

Post Reply