Fred Astaire: The Signature Collection

1968
  |  560 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

Collection of films starring legendary song and dance man Fred Astaire. In 'Easter Parade' (1948), Astaire came out of retirement to play one half of a dance team who is ditched by his partner. Deciding he can make a star out of anyone he wants, he chooses a lowly chorus girl (Judy Garland) as his new partner. Songs include 'A Couple of Swells', 'Stepping Out With My Baby' and 'Shaking the Blues Away'. Also starring Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, the film also features an appearance by a 2-year-old Liza Minelli. In 'Broadway Melody of 1940' (1940), dancers Johnny Brett (Astaire) and King Shaw (George Murphy) are struggling to make a living in New York. When a producer is on the look out for a dance partner for star Clare Bennett (Eleanor Powell) he decides he wants Johnny, but when he goes to offer him the role, Johnny panics when he mistakenly thinks the producer is a debt collector and gives King's name instead of his own. King is now the star of the show and Johnny has missed out, that is until King gets drunk on opening night and a replacement is needed. In 'Finian's Rainbow' (1968), Francis Ford Coppola's first big-budget feature, Astaire stars as a simple-minded Irishman fleeing to America with a crock of gold. He is pursued by a leprechaun (Tommy Steele), the rightful owner of the stolen booty. The film was based on the hit stage musical. In 'The Barkleys of Broadway' (1949) Astaire and Ginger Rogers play a showbiz couple who are always bickering - but true love prevails. This film was their first together for ten years. The songs, by Harry Warren and Ira Gershwin, include 'They Can't Take That Away from Me' and 'You'd Be Hard to Replace'. Judy Garland was the first choice for the female lead, but withdrew because of illness. In 'The Band Wagon' (1953) a has-been star of movie musicals (Astaire) agrees to take part in a Broadway show, playing opposite a ballerina (Cyd Charisse). The stars fear they cannot work together, but the show's success is under a bigger threat from its pretentious musical director (Jack Buchanan), who turns a simple story into an overblown monster. When opening night is a flop, it is up to the cast to save the show.