Damsel in Distress, A

Fred Astaire sails across the pond to meet damsel in distress Joan Fontaine and delightful (if unlikely) dance partners George Burns and Gracie Allen in a musical co-scripted by master wit P.G. Wodehouse and directed by George Stevens (Swing Time).


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Damsel in Distress, A
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by PowerReviews
Damsel in Distress, A
 
4.1

(based on 16 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

94%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Classic style (12)
  • Entertaining (12)
  • Funny (10)
  • Engaging (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Entertainment (10)
  • Everyone (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Movie buff (14), Collector (9)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (14)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Fred without Ginger

George Stevens, who directed the best of the Astaire/Rogers films (Swing Time) does a good job at keeping things lively and fun. This is, I believe, Gershwin's last complete movie...Read complete review

George Stevens, who directed the best of the Astaire/Rogers films (Swing Time) does a good job at keeping things lively and fun. This is, I believe, Gershwin's last complete movie score, and we're treated to classics such as "A Foggy Day" and "I Can't Be Bothered Now." Joan Fontaine does not make an attempt to be a musical star (she dances a few steps with Astaire) and there is none of the usual glumness (Rebecca, Suspicion, and Jane Eyre). This is easily the best appearance by Burns and Allen in any motion picture, and the fun house scene (which won an Academy Award) is worth the price of the disk. The soundtrack sounds remastered, but no one bothered with some white spots and scratches and reel change marks. The quality control in producing this DVD seems lacking; my disk broke into pixels a couple of times. But this is a DVD worth having, especially for that score.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Fine Musical Deserves Better Treatment

Granted, most of this film is in good condition, but there are sections with major print damage (missing frames, jumps, huge scratches, visible splices, blotches, etc). Also, I know...Read complete review

Granted, most of this film is in good condition, but there are sections with major print damage (missing frames, jumps, huge scratches, visible splices, blotches, etc). Also, I know this was a box-office flop in 1937, but that was because audiences then wanted to see Fred with Ginger, not Fontaine. By modern standards, this is a most elegant film with fine direction, performances, cinematography, music, dancing, writing and art direction (the art deco amusement park is a knockout).

So, I'm hereby making a pitch to Warner to find a better print and remaster/restore this title, like you did with "I Love Melvin".

Happily, there is no print damage during the major musical numbers (including the amazing Fun House number), and that is why I'm recommending this DVD...until a better one comes along.

Reviewed by 16 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

Absolutely Satisfied

By Satisfied Steph

from Findlay, OH

About Me Movie Buff

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Back to back laughs
  • Engaging Characters
  • Entertaining
  • Great Cinematography
  • Hilarious
  • Original

Cons

  • Slight poor sound quality

Best Uses

  • Adult Viewers
  • At Home
  • Perfect Gift
  • Younger Viewers

Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

I waited and searched for this movie to be put on DVD for 10 years. Thank you so much for finally doing it! It's a family favorite we didn't want to lose forever.

 
4.0

A Gershwin delight!

By Awash in Movies

from Pittsburgh, PA

About Me Collector, Movie Buff

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Classic
  • Engaging

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Entertainment

    Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

    This was Astaire's first movie at RKO without Ginger Rogers. Instead he got Joan Fontaine, who displays why she was known in Hollywood as "the wooden woman." The plot is as creaky as the Fred & Ginger movies, but at least Fred was starting to relax and act a bit naturally on camera.

    Despite all those reservations, the film is a delight. There's a terrific segment in which Fred, George Burns and Gracie Allen dance through a marvelous Art Deco fun house (and nobody ever did Deco better than RKO). Best of all, there's a wonderful Gershwin score wonderfully performed. I've never heard "Nice Work If You Can Get It" done better. And the film has never looked as good as it does on this disc. All in all, quite highly recommended.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Fred & George & Gracie

    By Wayne

    from MA

    About Me Collector

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Classic
    • Entertaining

    Cons

    • Uneven

    Best Uses

    • Entertainment

    Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

    Who knew Burns & Allen could dance? If you're a fan get this picture. They are worth the price.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No
     
    4.0

    a delightful romp

    By Col Bill

    from Springfield, VA

    About Me Collector, Movie Buff

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Classic
    • Engaging
    • Entertaining
    • Funny

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Entertainment

      Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

      Fred Astair is having a ball and Burns & Allen are a delight. The score is imaginative and, while this isn't Shakespeare, it's a lot of fun.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No
       
      5.0

      First class entertainment!!

      By Elizabeth the classic film fan

      from Rockford, IL

      About Me Audiophile, Collector, Movie Buff

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Classic
      • Engaging
      • Entertaining
      • Funny

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Everyone

        Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

        Grade 'A' movie with Fred Astaire, Burns & Allen, and Joan Fontaine. Beautiful Gershwin score with songs like "A Foggy Day" and "Nice Work if you Can Get It". Pure enjoyment!!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        3.0

        Fine Musical Deserves Better Treatment

        By Bill

        from Lakewood, CO

        About Me Movie Buff

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Dancing
        • Music
        • Performances
        • Witty Script

        Cons

        • Print Damage

        Best Uses

        • Home Theater

        Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

        Granted, most of this film is in good condition, but there are sections with major print damage (missing frames, jumps, huge scratches, visible splices, blotches, etc). Also, I know this was a box-office flop in 1937, but that was because audiences then wanted to see Fred with Ginger, not Fontaine. By modern standards, this is a most elegant film with fine direction, performances, cinematography, music, dancing, writing and art direction (the art deco amusement park is a knockout).

        So, I'm hereby making a pitch to Warner to find a better print and remaster/restore this title, like you did with "I Love Melvin".

        Happily, there is no print damage during the major musical numbers (including the amazing Fun House number), and that is why I'm recommending this DVD...until a better one comes along.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        A forgotten gem!

        By Paul

        from Lawrence, KS

        About Me Collector, Movie Buff

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Classic
        • Engaging
        • Entertaining
        • Funny
        • Great Music

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Entertainment
          • Everyone

          Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

          Such a delightful movie with first-class performances from Astaire, Burns, Allen, Fontaine, Gardiner, Collier, and Love. It may be surprising to some to see the legendary comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen tap-dancing alongside Fred Astaire! They're terrific. And Gracie's one-liners are laugh-out-loud funny. This is the first RKO Astaire film without Rogers, and 19-year-old Joan Fontaine holds her own in a charming performance. It also marks one of the last projects to have original music by George Gershwin. He died while the film was in production, and it includes some of his best and most beloved songs.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Fred without Ginger

          By AndyCF

          from Brockton, MA

          About Me Collector, Movie Buff

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Best Burns and Allen
          • Classic
          • Entertaining
          • Funny
          • Great Gershwin Score
          • Soundtrack remastering

          Cons

          • Not restored
          • Poor quality control

          Best Uses

          • Entertainment
          • Fred Astaire fans

          Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

          George Stevens, who directed the best of the Astaire/Rogers films (Swing Time) does a good job at keeping things lively and fun. This is, I believe, Gershwin's last complete movie score, and we're treated to classics such as "A Foggy Day" and "I Can't Be Bothered Now." Joan Fontaine does not make an attempt to be a musical star (she dances a few steps with Astaire) and there is none of the usual glumness (Rebecca, Suspicion, and Jane Eyre). This is easily the best appearance by Burns and Allen in any motion picture, and the fun house scene (which won an Academy Award) is worth the price of the disk. The soundtrack sounds remastered, but no one bothered with some white spots and scratches and reel change marks. The quality control in producing this DVD seems lacking; my disk broke into pixels a couple of times. But this is a DVD worth having, especially for that score.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          This was a fun movie!

          By Da Ordster

          from Connecticut

          About Me Collector, Love 1930's era, Movie Buff

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Classic
          • Entertaining
          • Funny
          • Imaginative choreography

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Entertainment

            Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

            This was a treat, to see Fred Astaire interacting with George Burns and Gracie Allen! The dance numbers were staged in a creative way, and the music was great.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No
             
            4.0

            Glad to replace my vhs!

            By MJ

            from SD

            About Me Movie Buff

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Classic
            • Engaging
            • Entertaining
            • Funny

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Everyone

              Comments about Damsel in Distress, A:

              So glad to be able to replace our old vhs of this film. The dvd quality is very good considering it's age and this is a fun film ...unusual with the pairing of Burns, Allen and Astaire and a art deco fun house. Thanks for making this gem available!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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