The Movies of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

The movies of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers stand today as a great showcase for magnificent dancing and wonderful music. The couple made a total of ten films together; nine were made from 1933-1939, the final one, The Barkleys of Broadway, was made in 1949. They were one of the great movie teams whose films still entertain the audiences of today.

Fred Astaire started his career in dancing as a young boy; he and his sister Adele played on the Vaudeville circuit beginning in 1906 when he was seven-years-old. In the 1920s, they played in several Broadway musicals including Lady Be Good and Funny Face. The act broke up when Adele got married. Fred went on to star in The Gay Divorcee which featured the Cole Porter classic "Night and Day." He made his screen debut in 1933 in Dancing Lady where he played himself. After that he made the series of RKO pictures with Ginger Rogers, beginning with Flying Down to Rio.

Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, 1906. Picture from Wikipedia.
Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, 1906. Picture from Wikipedia.

Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers also started her career on Vaudeville. When she was 15 she won a Charleston contest which allowed her to tour with Eddie Foy and his act for six months. At the age of 17, she married Jakc Culpepper; the two performed as Ginger and Pepper on the Vaudeville circuit. However, they were divorced in a few months and she went back to touring. In 1930, at the age of 19, she starred in the George and Ira Gershwin musical Girl Crazy; Fred Astaire was hired as choreographer. Her first "break through" film was in 42nd Street. After that film, she made a series of films for RKO, which included her films with Fred Astaire.

Fred and Ginger. Picture from Wikipedia
Fred and Ginger. Picture from Wikipedia

Flying Down to Rio

Directed by Thornton Freeland

  • Delores del Rio - Belinha De Rezendre
  • Gene Raymond - Roger Bond
  • Gnger Rogers - Honey Hale
  • Fred Astaire - Fred Ayers

While he and his orchestra are performing in Miami, Roger Bond spots beautiful the Belinha De Rezendre in the audience and is instantly smitten. He arranges for the orchestra to perform at her father’s hotel in Rio de Janiero so that he can get close to her. Ginger Rodgers is the singer for the orchestra and Fred Astaire is the assistant band leader.

The Gay Divorcee

Directed by Mark Sandrich

  • Fred Astaire – Guy Holden
  • Ginger Rogers – Mimi Glossop
  • Alice Brady – Aunt Hortense
  • Edward Everett Horton – Egbert “Pinky” Fitzgerald

Mimi Glossop wants to leave her husband, Aunt Hortense (who has a few divorces under her belt), with the help of a lawyer (Egbert) arranges for her to meet a co-respondent and for them to be caught together in her hotel room so she can get a divorce. Guy Holden is a friend of Egbert’s who shows up at the hotel at the same time and Mimi initially thinks he is the co-respondent.

Roberta

Directed by William A. Seiter

  • Irene Dunne – Stephanie
  • Fred Astaire – Huckleberry Haines
  • Ginger Rogers – Countessa Scharwenka
  • Randolph Scott – John Kent

Football player John Kent travels with Huckleberry Haines and his band to Paris where they have a job. As soon as they arrive, their performance is cancelled. They all visit John’s aunt who runs a fashion house with her assistant Stephanie; they meet Countessa Scharwenka there who gives the band a job.

Top Hat

Directed by Mark Sandrich

  • Fred Astaire – Jerry Travers
  • Ginger Rogers – Dale Tremont
  • Edward Everett Horton – Horace Hardwick

Dancer Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horace's hotel room disturbing the sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Problems arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace, the husband of her friend Madge.

Follow the Fleet

Directed by Mark Sandrich

  • Fred Astaire – Bake Baker
  • Ginger Rogers – Sherry Martin
  • Randolph Scott – Bilge Smith
  • Harriet Hilliard – Connie Martin

When he is on shore leave in San Francisco, sailor Bake Baker tries to renew his romance with his old dancing partner, Sherry Martin. In the meantime, his friend Bilge Smith gets involved with Sherry’s sister, Connie.

Swing Time

Directed by George Stevens

  • Fred Astaire – Lucky Garnett
  • Ginger Rogers – Penny Carroll

Lucky travels to New York City to raise enough money to marry the woman he wants to. He meets Penny and the two of them form a successful dance team; unfortunately, Lucky falls in love with Penny.

Shall We Dance

Directed by Mark Sandrich

  • Fred Astaire – Petrov
  • Ginger Rogers – Linda Keene
  • Edward Everett Horton – Jeffrey Baird

Ballet star Petrov and dancer Linda Keene, who he barely knows but has fallen for, travel across the Atlantic to New York aboard the same ship. Petrov's manager starts the rumor that they are secretly married to keep another woman on board from bothering the star.

Carefree

Directed by Mark Sandrich

  • Fred Astaire – Tony Flagg
  • Ginger Rogers – Amanda Cooper
  • Ralph Bellamy – Stephen Arden

Tony Flagg is a psychiatrist who takes on Amanda Cooper as a patient because she can’t make a decision about her engagement to his friend Stephen. However, Amanda falls for Tony while under hypnosis.

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

Directed by HC Potter

  • Fred Astaire – Vernon Castle
  • Ginger Rogers – Irene Castle
  • Edna May Oliver – Maggie Sutton
  • Walter Brennan – Walter Ash

This film is based on the true story of ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle who were very successful just before the outbreak of World War I. They were separated at the height of their fame when Vernon joined the army.

The Barkleys of Broadway

Directed by Charles Walters

  • Fred Astaire – Josh Barkley
  • Ginger Rogers – Dinah Barkley
  • Oscar Levant – Ezra Miller

Josh and Dinah Barkley are a successful musical-comedy duo. When Dinah is offered the chance to become a dramatic actress she jumps at the opportunity. Their friend, Ezra Miller tries to get them back together.

The Films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

  • Flying Down to Rio  1933
  • The Gay Divorcee  1934
  • Roberta  1934
  • Top Hat  1935
  • Follow the Fleet  1936
  • Swing Time  1936
  • Shall We Dance  1936
  • Carefree  1938
  • The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle  1939 
  • The Barkleys of Broadway  1949


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22 comments

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

This is a great Hub. I love the old movies like Fred and Ginger made. They were so talented.

I voted this Hub up, and will share.


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago

So many great movies on one list, and all of them with so much class and style. I love Ginger and like Fred, so their films are always enjoyable. I love the movie clips included too!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario Author

Thanks for these great comments. Alocsin, I fell in love with that picture as soon as I saw it and knew I had to use it :)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Thank you for this tribute to two of my favorites. The pic of them as kids is something I'd never seen before and is priceless. Voting this Up and Awesome.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I love this hub. It's amazing. I love old Hollywood and the allure of it. Unfortunately I haven't been keeping up with my Fred and Ginger movies but I definitely will look these films up on TCM or on DVD. Thanks for sharing :)!


laurathegentleman profile image

laurathegentleman 5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

Wonderful Hub - I love Fred and Ginger! I had a Fred and Ginger movie marathon with my sister last year, and now I'm tempted to do it again!


Dorothy 5 years ago

Love these films, got them all on DVD apart from Roberta which I`ve never seen and not been able to get


gunsock profile image

gunsock 5 years ago from South Coast of England

The more I see of Astaire and Rogers the more magical they seem to become! Beautifully written hub. I enjoyed it very much.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Brilliant Hub - loved the clips


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

When I was a child I saw my first Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, which was “Carefree.” I loved it! It made a big impression on me. Even since then I’ve watched their movies whenever I can. I’ve never liked the singing very much, but I love the dancing and the acting.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Fred Astaire was a talented guy and Ginger didn't having any trouble keeping in step. I'll always remember him for the great job he did in Bing Crosby's "Holiday Inn" in 1942.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario Author

I'm really tempted to have a Fred and Ginger film festival this weekend...

Thanks for all the comments, glad you love this pair as much as I do.


Julie-Ann Amos profile image

Julie-Ann Amos 7 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

Another great hub thanks


Journey * profile image

Journey * 7 years ago from USA

Uninvited Writer, this is a terrific hub. Thanks for putting it together and sharing with us.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Ahhh, the fabulous classics. I love them all

UW Great hub once again.

regards Zsuzsy


Woody Marx profile image

Woody Marx 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Beautiful Hub on a graceful and sophisticated topic. What could be more elegant than Astaire and Rogers on the dance floor? Astaire voice may not have been the perfect voice for singing, but I prefer his version of all the great tunes he sang, above those of any other. A genius certainly in the realm of performance, but also in the innovative dance moves he pioneered.

Two thumbs up for me!


EverythingMouse profile image

EverythingMouse 7 years ago

I have so rarely watched any of these old movies but I really should take the time to. I am now so involved with dance with my children that i would love to show them these movies.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

What a nice tribute to this famous duo. I haven't seen any of these fully but plan to as I the past right now is much sexier then the present (Ginger Rogers was gorgeous by the way).

Mow, I gotta ask, UW...Was this creative intent?:

"...unfortunately, Lucky falls in love with Penny."

I just fell off my swivel chair with that one!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario Author

Me too Sandy, they are simplistic but oh so good.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I loved watching those old movies.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario Author

Thanks for your comment Ginn, I always watch these films when they come on TV.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago

Yes, these were some of the best. I very seldom watch something twice but these I break the rules for, thanks!!!

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