Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

SWING TIME (1936). Directed by George Stevens. With Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore, Betty Furness, Georges Metaxa. Songs by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields.

Splendid music and dancing in a feeble-minded non-plot. Performer(and gambler) Astaire goes to New York with crony Moore, meets Rogers, has the standard irritating effect on her and the "de rigueur" misunderstandings before she falls for him. Additional silly subplots are about Astaire having a fiancee and Rogers being courted by a jealous band leader who refuses to play for the duo's dancing.

The dialogues are innocuously imbecilic throughout with the jokes not even approaching the patter of the most mediocre Bob Hope or Hope-Bing Crosby comedies.No logical transitions or continuity ... and so on.

But what numbers! Although you get little song and dance until almost half-time, the second part is a series of marvellous gifts: "The Way You Look Tonight," "Pick Yourself Up," Swing Time" (the dance itself is undistinguished but its execution is excellent).

"A Fine Romance" is a classic. It cannot be hurt much by the unimpressive singing,especially Rogers' lack of voice or control. "Bojangles of Harlem" is a technical marvel where three large Astaire shadows dance with, then "against" Fred.(Bojangles is the nickname of Bill Robinson).Astaire's incredibly supple and subtle semi-adaptation of the black dancer's movements are among the best, most original routines he performed as well as an homage to Robinson . "Never Gonna Dance" is another treat.

Lyrics aren't always intelligent but so much melody and dancing greatness make the doggerel and other weaknesses insignificant. Must see.(Edwin Jahiel)