"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels."
For the movie going public during the years of The Great Depression, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers must have been a breath of fresh air. Going to their movies, you would never know that hard times upon us. They're films were lighthearted fares bristling with charm and humor, great songs, and of course the dancing. When people argue over their greatest films, its usually a tossup between Top Hat and this film and Swing Time is a fine candidate. It opens with dancer and gambler John "Lucky" Garnett (Astaire) giving a knockout performance and skipping the curtain call to rush off to his wedding. Fearing his company will falter, Pop (Victor Moore) and the rest of the crew scheme to have Lucky miss his big date. When he finally arrives to the empty house for the ceremony, his soon to be father-in-law says that when he returns a success from New York with $25,000, he can have his daughters hand. Barely catching the train with Pop, he meets Penny (Rogers) who just so happens to be a dance instructor. The two don't exactly hit it off and he actually gets her and her coworker Mabel (Helen Broderick, a playmate for Pop) fired, but soon they find each other dancing the biggest nightclub and falling for each other, causing Lucky to reconsider his engagement. Swing Time was directed by George Stevens, considered and great director and known for more serious fare like Giant and A Place in the Sun. Maybe he gives the film the steady hand it needs although when you get down to it Swing Time is simply just a lot of fun. The music is catchy, Moore and Broderick are a hoot in the roles, and Rogers and Astaire are truly affable in the leads. What takes the cake though is the dancing, which seems to defy the laws of physics (I read that over 300 hours of dance practice went into making the film). Swing Time did not only act as an uplift to the struggling masses of the 30s. At least in my sake, it caused me to leave my worries at the door as I witnessed the magic of Fred and Ginger maneuvering about the dance floor.