Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Blue Skies (1946).
Blue Skies(1946). Cast: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Joan Caulfield, Olga San Juan and Billy De Wolfe, with music, lyrics and story by Irving Berlin. Most of the songs came from earlier works. The film was directed by Stuart Heisler and produced by Sol C. Siegel.
As in Holiday Inn (1942), the film is designed to showcase the songs of Irving Berlin. The plot, which is presented in a series of flashbacks with Astaire as narrator, telling the story how Crosby won the heart of the leading lady through songs and dance numbers. I thought it was a very colorful and entertaining musical.
"All by Myself": Crosby performs this 1921 song to Caulfield, who harmonizes with him in the closing phrases.
"I'll See You In Cuba": A 1920 song performed as a duet by Crosby and San Juan.
"A Couple Of Song And Dance Men": A comic song and dance duet for Astaire and Crosby.
Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires in "Puttin' on the Ritz" Although Berlin's 1930 song was originally written for vaudevillian Harry Richman, it has become associated with Astaire. In this tap solo with cane, which was widely billed as "Astaire's last dance". The routine was produced after the rest of the film had been completed, and according to Astaire, it took "five weeks of back-breaking physical work" to prepare.
"You Keep Coming Back Like a Song": Crosby performs this number.
"Blue Skies": Crosby sings this ballad, to Caulfield.
"How Deep Is The Ocean?": Crosby performs this 1932 song, backed by a female quartet.
"(Running Around In Circles) Getting Nowhere": Crosby sings this specially composed song to his daughter, played by Karolyn Grimes.
Draper was fired over either his impatience with Joan Caulfield, who was not a professional dancer, or his stutter. He was replaced by Fred Astaire.
This marked the second time that Irving Berlin's song "White Christmas" was used in a film.
Mark Sandrich, who directed several of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films, was the original director, but he died suddenly of a heart attack.
This was Paramount's biggest hit of 1946.
Fred Astaire, then 47 years old, planned to retire as a leading man with this film. He was planning to only work with his dance studios and breed racehorses. The film Easter Parade (1948), having recently lost Gene Kelly to a broken ankle, brought Astaire out of retirement. He danced on film and on television until he was nearly 70.
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.
After Fred Astaire announced his retirement after completing Blue Skies (1946), New York's Paramount Theater generated a petition of 10,000 names to persuade him to come out of retirement.