Sunday, February 1, 2009

Carefree (1938)

I've gotten a bit behind with posting, but the last musical I watched was RKO's 1938 offering Carefree. I was perusing the library's large collection of musicals on DVD and this one was the first I picked up. When I saw that the cover exclaimed "See them do 'The Yam'" I was hooked! I have to admit I haven't seen many of the Astaire-Rogers musicals, but this seemed like a good place to start.

Although this musical only had four numbers and there wasn't much bursting into song, two criticisms I had about In the Good Old Summertime, I loved this movie. Of course the dancing was great and the Astaire-Rogers chemistry was fun to watch (if only his head wasn't shaped so strangely...). Fred plays a psychiatrist who agrees to analyze his friend's girlfriend (Ginger) who doesn't want to get married. Of course, Ginger falls in love with Fred instead. The friend is played by Ralph Bellamy. It was interesting for me to see him as a young man as I've only seen him playing FDR in the Winds of War and War and Remembrance miniseries.

The Irving Berlin score was thoroughly enjoyable. "The Yam" did live up to expectations. In fact, I don't understand why it hasn't become a classic like "White Christmas" and "God Bless America." There seem to be some copyright issues with posting the songs from the movie on-line, but I've found a nice performance by Clodagh Rodgers from a BBC special:

Courtesy of schwint on YouTube.

Any yam today?

The DVD featured a number of bonuses including a fantastic Warner Bros. cartoon, "September in the Rain." (Please note that this contains racial stereotypes prevalent in the 1930s/40s that would be considered offensive today - please don't watch if you think you might be offended.)

Courtesy of grannyfone1 on YouTube.

The DVD also included a short from a 1941 called "Public Jitterbug No. 1" with Betty Hutton. Oddly, there was no jitterbugging at all.

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