This, however, is my first Astaire/Rogers film. I know, shocking. But we all need to start somewhere. I'll put it plainly: the setting is ridiculous, the plot points silly, the jokes were mostly groaners and the acting was awful, and I really, really enjoyed my time with this film. The fact that everything was over-the-top silly helped. Either you embrace the silliness or you reject the whole thing. And when everyone in the film is in on the big joke that is this film, how could you not appreciate it?
About the dancing: I admit, it was a revelation. Yes, I had heard about Astaire and Rogers and I had seen Astaire with others, but this was something different again. They have three main dance numbers. The first dance was a "getting to know you" dance, friendly, ending with a handshake. The second dance was clearly seductive: she is infuriated with him, but wants to love him and is clearly over her head. He leads her smoothly, expertly, with all the cockiness and ignorance of a young man in love, and by the end of the dance he clearly wins her over. The final dance is simply surrendering to joy. I have never seen so much emotion and variety in a dance routine before, especially that middle dance. Never have I seen a straight dance number communicate more than the rest of the movie combined. I am won over, in a big way.
I can't wait to see my next Astaire/Rogers film. 4.5/5