The Barkleys of Broadway

After a hiatus of ten years, Astaire and Rogers teamed up one last time in 1949 for this so-so movie about a husband-and-wife dance team who bicker incessantly backstage. It isn't very witty—although it's supposed to be—and it isn't really satire, in the sense of Singin' in the Rain or The Band Wagon. Nor were Astaire and Rogers “the Lunt and Fontanne of musicals.” Even the shift to MGM couldn't furnish the necessary gloss. Still, Astaire's “Shoes With Wings On” number (an amalgam of The Red Shoes and “The Sorcerer's Apprentice”) is terrific; and it has the Gershwins' “They Can't Take That Away From Me.” The low point is Rogers booming out “La Marseillaise” while pretending to be Sarah Bernhardt. 109 min.

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