Fred Astaire is Sometimes a Jerk

Every now and then, I like to flip through the TCM channel and record anything that intrigues me. I’ve got quite the collection already – everything from Lauren Bacall to Marlon Brando to James Stewart. I’m often chastised for never deleting the films I’ve recorded because there’s only limited space on our PVR, so I decided to watch a couple this week.

The first one I saw was “Carefree” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Their films are always a delight to watch but there’s one thing that bothers me greatly about many of them. Fred always steals Ginger away from her fiancés! Nowadays, you would never see the winsome male lead chase after an engaged woman (or would you?) on the silver screen, but you’d be surprised how many times it happens in films back then. I think that’s why I don’t very much like “An American in Paris”, because that silly girl cheated on her fiancé with Gene. And the funny thing is, the jilted lovers are often nice guys who always let their women go without so much as a protest (well, except for the fiancé in “Carefree”. He was miffed.)!

But what turned me off was how Astaire crashed the wedding at the end and replaced the real groom with himself when the groom was actually one of his good friends who had asked him to mend his relationship with Ginger. Ehh… I didn’t hesitate very long in deleting that one.

Thankfully, “Stage Door” made up for that. The combination of Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers struck my interest (plus a very young Lucille Ball)! They’re both so different and awesome that I had to see them working together. Funnily enough, their characters were at odds in the film, but all is well because they eventually hug it out. It’s set in the heart of New York City where single women are looking for their big break in the theatre. I loved this one – it was a drama, comedy and tragedy all wrapped in one. And the script was absolutely hilarious! The punchlines are delivered quickly one right after the other that it really keeps you on your feet. The writers have my respect. And best of all – there was no stealing of fiancées!!

In short, I must say RKO are OK (anyone get that reference?)!



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