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Love is a Funny Thing
‘Carefree’ was the first Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film I saw on DVD when my Dad introduced me to them as a movie duo. So in a sense, ‘Carefree’ is another of my favourites of the Astaire/Rogers movies.
I say that because ‘Carefree’ is more comedic than other Astaire/Rogers films. It allows Ginger Rogers especially to portray her comedic talents as well as Fred Astaire’s. I’ll explain why is the case.
The film has Fred Astaire playing psychiatrist Dr. Tony Flagg. He attends to his friend’s fiancée, who happens to be this ‘weddingphobic’ (if that’s even a word) here – Ginger Rogers as Amanda Cooper.
After a misunderstanding between them, Tony and Amanda get along as he tries to help out of her anxieties to marry Stephen Arden. But as the situation progresses, Amanda falls in love with Tony. 🙂
It’s interesting how this film progresses Fred and Ginger as a romantic couple in movies. In most films, Fred is trying to win Ginger’s heart whilst she’s not very keen. Here, it’s the reverse – of a sort.
Fred as Tony encourages Ginger as Amanda to have a dream, after eating an unusual dinner. Once Amanda has that food, she falls asleep and soon ends up having a dream about her and Tony in love.
That dream sequence includes the song/dance number ‘I Used To Be Color Blind’. It’s also one of those rare instances where Fred and Ginger kiss on screen. Previously it’s been off-screen and pecks.
Once Amanda has that dream, she’s reluctant to tell Tony that she dreamt about him and makes up a dream of her own. Fred soon hypnotises Amanda and she’s goes into a state where she’s carefree!
There’s your movie title! 😀 This is where Ginger gets to show her comedic talents as she goes crazy in public. It was so funny to see her doing stuff where she’s not in control and acting pretty childlike.
Amanda soon reveals to her Aunt Cora that she’s in love with Tony instead of Stephen. Stephen makes the assumption that Amanda is in love with him when she tries to tell him that he loves Tony.
During a dance, Amanda secretly reveals to Tony that she’s in love with him and he has her in his office the next morning to try and fix things. He has her hypnotised to love Stephen and to hate Tony
Now, whilst that’s probably a silly thing to do to hypnotise someone to make them hate you, at least Tony has doubts mid-process. It leads to a scene where he talks to his subconscious self via a mirror.
It also leads to another comedic sequence where Amanda, under hypnosis, is out on another crazy rampage to find Stephen before firing a gun to try and kill Tony who turns up. It’s a funny sequence.
The movie’s climax features Tony trying to de-hypnotise Amanda, but Stephen and Judge Travers getting in the way once they learn of Tony’s schemes. Amanda is also mean to Tony under hypnosis.
Thankfully, with Aunt Cora’s help, Tony manages to get to Amanda, after she gets punched accidentally by Stephen. Once Tony de-hypnotises Amanda, these two get married at the end. Aww!
It’s funny how this movie plays out the romantic comedy story between Fred and Ginger’s characters. I don’t think that’s how it’s played in real life, but it’s amusing to watch it in this movie. 🙂
As well as Fred and Ginger, Ralph Bellamy stars as Stephen Arden, Amanda’s would-be fiancé if he wasn’t so selfish. There’s also Luella Gear as Aunt Cora, who’s more supportive of Tony and Amanda.
Jack Carson stars as Thomas Connors, Tony’s friend and colleague at his workplace. There’s also Clarence Kolb as Judge Joe Travers, who gets told to ‘sit down’ a lot by Aunt Cora during the film. 😀
The film also has Franklin Pangborn as Roland Hunter, who was on the golf course I believe. All I can remember was that he fainted. 🙂 I’m not sure if James Finalyson from ‘Laurel & Hardy’ was in this. 🙂
The lyrics and music for this film was composed by the famous Irving Berlin. As well as ‘I Used To Be Colour Blind’, there is that dance number where Fred Astaire’s Tony hits golf balls to impress Ginger.
There’s also song, dance and musical numbers like ‘The Night Is Filled With Music’, ‘The Yam’ with Fred and Ginger dancing and ‘Change Partners’. These musical numbers are really lovely to listen to.
‘Carefree’ is definitely a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film I enjoyed watching from beginning to end. The comedy and music are pitched perfectly as well as Fred and Ginger playing their characters.
The DVD special features are as follows. On the ‘Carefree’ disc for ‘The Fred & Ginger Collection – Volume 1’ DVD box set, there’s a special introduction for the film by Fred Astaire’s daughter Ava Astaire McKenzie. There are also production notes by film historian Ken Barnes; cast and crew notes and a photo gallery for ‘Carefree’.
On the ‘Carefree’ disc in ‘Astaire and Rogers: The Complete Film Collection’ DVD box set, there’s a vintage musical short called ‘Public Jitterburg No. 1’ and the classic cartoon called ‘September in the Rain’.
‘Carefree’ rating – 10/10
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