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Old 04-05-2005, 19:09   #1
John Hodson
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Let's Face The Music & Dance; the Astaire / Rogers Collections; R1 Vol. 2 October

Coming your way this August from those fab Warner Bros.; Astaire & Rogers: The Signature Collection Volume 1. R2 fans already have a Fred 'n Ginger Collection from Universal (Top Hat, Carefree, Shall We Dance, Follow The Fleet), but knowing Warners, this set will blow that away. Details and artwork at DVD Times here:

Perfect Dance Partners, Timeless On-Screen Magic...
The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume One
Top Hat, Swing Time,
Follow the Fleet, Shall We Dance,
The Barkleys of Broadway

All are Remastered and Brand New to DVD with Extensive Bonus Features Including New Featurettes, Documentaries and Commentary by Fred Astaire's Daughter

Collection Debuts August 16 from Warner Home Video

Burbank, Calif. May 11, 2005 - On August 16, Warner Home Video will debut
The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume One - five memorable classics from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose magical chemistry made them Hollywood's greatest dance duo. Featuring five new-to-DVD titles, The Astaire & Rogers Collection: Volume One includes the critically acclaimed Top Hat and Swing Time, along with Follow the Fleet, Shall We Dance and The Barkleys of Broadway, the couple's final film together. All five films have been newly remastered and include extensive bonus features such as documentaries, featurettes and commentary by Fred Astaire's daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie. The Collection will sell for $59.92 SRP. All titles will also be available individually for $19.97 SRP.

Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (Top Hat / Swing Time / Follow the Fleet / Shall We Dance / The Barkleys of Broadway)

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers


Ginger Rogers had already built a career in Hollywood, starring in two dozen movies before first appearing with Fred Astaire in 1933's Flying Down to Rio. In comparison, Astaire had yet to make his mark on the big screen, starring in only one film before his pairing with Rogers. (The legendary Paramount screen test report read simply, "Can't sing. Can't act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.").

Astaire would prove his detractors wrong in Flying Down to Rio. Though cast as supporting players, Astaire and Rogers's incredible energy turned "The Carioca" dance number into the highlight of the film. Movie executives saw the duo's star potential and quickly gave them leading roles.

Their first was 1934's, The Gay Divorcee, a huge hit nominated for three Academy Awards® and winning one for Best Music. The film also established the highly successful Astaire-Rogers formula - a devil-may-care playboy and a sweet, spunky girl get into a tangle of mistaken identities, fall in love on the dance floor, resolve their misunderstandings in the nick of time and foxtrot their way to happily ever after.

Astaire and Rogers captivated audiences in eight more films, ending their partnership in 1939 with The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. Rogers sought to prove herself as a dramatic actress and succeeded when she won a Best Actress Oscar in 1941 for her role in Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman. Astaire, while appearing in a variety of notable movie and television roles, never gave up the dancing bug and went on to partner with Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse and Barrie Chase -- not to mention a few turns with Gene Kelly.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would reunite on screen for one last time in 1949's The Barkleys of Broadway.

The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume One

Top Hat (1935)

One of the most beloved Astaire-Rogers musicals, Top Hat has it all: art deco elegance, a whimsical storyline involving a case of mistaken identity and the ideal chemistry of the two leads dancing to Irving Berlin's finest film score. Directed by Mark Sandrich (Gay Divorcee, Shall We Dance), Top Hat was nominated for four Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. The film's highlights include Astaire's signature "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails," as well as "Isn't It a Lovely Day (to Be Caught in the Rain)?" and "Cheek to Cheek." An added treat is a young Lucille Ball appearing in a small role as a flower clerk.

DVD Special Features:
* Commentary by Fred Astaire's Daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie and Film Dance Historian Larry Billman
* New Featurette On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat
* Comedy Short Watch the Birdie with Bob Hope
* Classic Cartoon Page Miss Glory

Swing Time (1936)
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers headline Swing Time, the romantic comedy buoyed by a sublime Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields score, nimble direction by George Stevens and the leads' effortless dancing (after reportedly 350 hours of rehearsing). Standouts of the film, considered one of the team's very best, are the songs "Pick Yourself Up," "Never Gonna Dance," and the Oscar-winning "The Way You Look Tonight" - plus Astaire's "Bojangles of Harlem" tap tribute.

DVD Special Features:
* Commentary by John Mueller, Author of Astaire Dancing
* New Featurette The Swing of Things: Swing Time Step by Step
* Musical Short Hotel a la Swing
* Classic Cartoon Bingo Crosbyana

Follow The Fleet (1936)
In the fifth of ten Astaire-Rogers pairings, Fred trades his top hat for a sailor's cap, Randolph Scott gets the girl (Harriet Hilliard), Ginger gets a tap solo and viewers get the unending delight of seven sparkling Irving Berlin numbers, including "Let Yourself Go," "We Saw the Sea," "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance."

DVD Special Features
* New Featurette Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet
* Musical Short Melody Master: Jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra
* Classic Cartoon Let It Be Me

Shall We Dance (1937)
In their seventh movie, Astaire and Rogers croon, swoon and sway, this time to a glorious score from George and Ira Gershwin which includes "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," Oscar-nominated "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "They All Laughed" and more great numbers. Dance highlights include a terrific roller skate number and Astaire's solo in the art-deco boiler room of an ocean liner. The film centers around world renowned ballet star Petrov (Astaire) and musical revue sensation Linda Keene (Rogers) who decide to wed and publicly divorce to quash persistent rumors of their secret marriage.

DVD Special Features
* Commentary by Kevin Cole and Hugh Martin
* New Featurette They Can't Take That Away from Me: The Music of Shall We Dance
* Musical Short Sheik to Sheik
* Classic Cartoon Toy Town Hall

The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
After 10 years apart, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers reteam for their final film, written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and directed by Charles Walters. The story mirrors real-life creative tensions the two shared, with Astaire playing driven musical comedy hoofer Josh Barkley and Rogers his wife Dinah. When Dinah leaves to become a great dramatic actress, Josh vies to win her back. The routines include Astaire's "Shoes with Wings On" and a reprise from Shall We Dance, "They Can't Take That Away from Me" by George and Ira Gershwin.

DVD Special Features:
* New Featurette Reunited at MGM: Astaire and Rogers Together Again
* Vintage Short Annie Was a Wonder
* Classic Droopy Cartoon Wags to Riches

Astaire and Rogers Collection
Street Date: August 16, 2005
$19.97 SRP (Per single DVD title)
$59.92 SRP (Collection)

Shall We Dance; Rating: NR, B & W, English: Mono, Run Time: 109 minutes. Swing Time; Rating: NR, B & W, English: Mono, Run Time: 104 minutes. Top Hat; Rating: NR, B & W, English: Mono, Run Time: 100 minutes. The Barkleys of Broadway; Rating: NR, Color, Standard, English Mono, Run Time: 109 minutes. Follow the Fleet; Rating: NR, Color, Standard, English Mono, Run Time: 110 minutes.


In my next incarnation in this world, I'm going to be Fred Astaire y'know...
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Old 23-05-2005, 16:59   #2
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Pitched up at DVD Import for a decent $49.95 here. Not at DVD Soon yet, but not only are their prices all over the place, seemingly on a day to day basis, but they're a little pricey right now.
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Old 28-06-2005, 13:41   #3
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With some of these titles owned by Universal in R2, you won't find this box for sale here, but DVD Times has news of the UK release of one of the films; The Barkleys of Broadway here.

BTW, DVD Soon has the box at $51.79 CAD here.
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Old 30-06-2005, 15:54   #4
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I've updated the first post with the final specs and press release from Warners.

I'm not the only one enthused by this release surely? There must be more fans out there...
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Old 30-06-2005, 21:31   #5
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John, I cannot wait for this release either. It seems to me that it has been talked about for years and I shall certainly be buying the boxset from Loaded247 as soon as they list it!
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Old 30-06-2005, 22:11   #6
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There seem to be so many box sets and re-releases around, it's a tough job to keep up with them! But I'll add this to my list & wait for a slight price drop to under £18
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickLondon
John, I cannot wait for this release either. It seems to me that it has been talked about for years and I shall certainly be buying the boxset from Loaded247 as soon as they list it!
We still seem to be in the minority don't we chaps? Is it me, or of late does there seem to be a general lack of enthusiasm not only about this thread - and, at last count, only 192 views on this thread in nearly two months, to take only one example, is astonishing, and quite, quite depressing - but about this Forum in general.

Someone tell me I'm waaay wide of the mark...

(EDIT - of course, the paradox is that if no-one's looking at the thread, no-one will see my moan, and thus, few, if any, will answer, only plunging me into a deeper despair - hey! I like a good moan. Makes me feel better...)

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Old 02-07-2005, 14:03   #8
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There is just so much out there for us classic film collectors right now.

Although, of the many announcements made recently, this Astaire/Rogers set has me drooling in anticipation - I have the Region 2 set, but eagerly await this new box, with that "special" Warners treatment - and, hopefully, spiffing and sparkling prints!

And roll on volume 2!


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Old 05-07-2005, 11:23   #9
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i tend to be a lurker here but felt compelled to post a comment after reading john's thoughts. i for one am excited about this release and the various other classic releases given such superb treatment by warners in recent times....and i'm sure i'm not the only person under 30 who feels this way. it is exciting to view these classic films for the first time in all their restored glory. additionally, the extras greatly enhance the viewing experience and allow me to appreciate the political and economic climate in which they were made. my grandparents used to love so many of these screen greats and i feel very privileged to be able to enjoy the films they grew up with from the comfort of my own living room. i still enjoy blockbusters but want to learn about all aspects and eras of film-making. and as i try to educate myself about film, these films are going to make for some very enjoyable homework.
don't give up on us guys...
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Old 05-07-2005, 14:35   #10
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I do lurk a lot around here and always appreciate John's (and everyone else's) stirling work in talking about all these wonderful new releases. I shall be getting the Fred and Ginger set even though I'm trying to cut down on my DVD purchases due to an upcoming holiday in Chicago.
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Old 05-07-2005, 23:55   #11
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John---this thread and you are ESSENTIAL, so please don't be too down.

It's June/July, holiday season, a bit of overload, things slow down every year about now and you know that everything runs in cycles anyway. It's going to be a really good year for our kind of dvd releases and companies. And without you and your obvious love for film, many of us would be quite lost.
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Old 06-07-2005, 07:52   #12
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Thanks, and that's very kind; but I'm rather horrified that that any one persion can be considered 'essential' in a forum of 40,000 members plus? This Classic forum - unique in the UK - will survive if it's considered a success. Success will be judged on the number of visitors and the number of posts - posts are the lifeblood of any online community; good intelligent chat, the passing of information and enthusiasm for the movies we love.

So c'mon chaps - less lurking, more posting!
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Old 06-07-2005, 09:47   #13
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I've been guilty of lurking a lot recently, mostly due to a lack of time. This release sounds tempting although I really can't abide "The Barkleys of Broadway" and would have preferred to have the great RKO films left untainted by it.
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:48   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
Thanks, and that's very kind; but I'm rather horrified that that any one persion can be considered 'essential' in a forum of 40,000 members plus? This Classic forum - unique in the UK - will survive if it's considered a success. Success will be judged on the number of visitors and the number of posts - posts are the lifeblood of any online community; good intelligent chat, the passing of information and enthusiasm for the movies we love.

So c'mon chaps - less lurking, more posting!
Et mea maxima culpa. Please forgive my failure to post on a regular basis. Would that circumstances permitted that I could visit my favourite forum with greater frequency. And God forbid that it may fail to survive!

(There can be no question, however, my dear chap, that we all are indeed in your debt.)

Frankly, the prospect of the Fred and Ginger set - along with that devoted to Mr Lewton - has me simply drooling. It is several years since we were first tantalised with Warners' promise of such a set, and I must say that it is shaping up to be fabulously worth the tortuous wait.

I also could comfortably live without "The Barkleys of Broadway", but as for the other pictures... I say, talk about sheer delight!

Let us recall the words of Mr Greene with regard to Mr Astaire: "The nearest we are ever likely to get to a human Mickey Mouse."

And those prompted by a screen test at Paramount: "Can't sing. Can't act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little."
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Old 06-07-2005, 13:43   #15
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I say, in just popping over to the Digital Bits, I chanced upon a tit-bit in the good Barry Maxwell's column which is certain to be of interest to those with a craving for musicals:

Quote:
In other Warner news, an anticipated Busby Berkeley box set is rumoured to include at least Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames, and Gold Diggers of 1935, while a proposed MGM Musicals collection is rumoured to include 'Til the Clouds Roll By, Ziegfeld Follies, Summer Stock, Three Little Words, and It's Always Fair Weather. There are no release dates for these sets as yet.


An earlier post - shall we dance? - served to highlight a variety of existing, pleasing DVDs in the genre (and slightly beyond), but do bear in mind that these were DVD Soon's prices then, not now.
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Old 06-07-2005, 13:52   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Trueform
I say, in just popping over to the Digital Bits, I chanced upon a tit-bit in the good Barry Maxwell's column which is certain to be of interest to those with a craving for musicals:
Imperious, Rex, simply imperious...

I took note of this in the Upcoming Thread, and I'm anxiously waiting for an official announcement; sounds great doesn't it?

(300 views, lots of good posts - MUCH happier now )

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Old 06-07-2005, 14:20   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
Imperious, Rex, simply imperious...
I took note of this in the Upcoming Thread
Sincere apologies, John. Must keep up!

Quote:
sounds great doesn't it?
By God, indeed it does - especially, in my book, the promise of "It's Always Fair Weather" with the divine Miss Charisse.

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Old 06-07-2005, 21:40   #18
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I await this set with baited breath - here's hoping that the team at Warner have done their thing & will present us with pristine (or as close as they can get) transfers

You may call me an old soppy, but Fred & Ginger flicks still give me a warm glow inside - just some of the most magical films ever made.

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Old 07-07-2005, 09:11   #19
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Originally Posted by charlie angel
You may call me an old soppy, but Fred & Ginger flixks still give me a warm glow inside - just some of the most magical films ever made.
I say, you have hit the nail on the head there, you old soppy.
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Old 07-07-2005, 13:53   #20
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Quick straw poll; have y'all ordered yet, and if so, where from? I chose DVD Import for £21.75-ish delivered (and, BTW, DVD Soon for The Thin Man Collection box while it was very cheap; even if customs nab it, it should work out at £25 which is a bargain either way in my book).

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