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USA 1959
Directed by
Robert Mamoulien
117 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Silk Stockings

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse star in this adaptation of the stage musical of the same name which was in turn an adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch's classic 1939 Greta Garbo comedy, Ninotchka, about an icy Russian agent coming to Paris and falling in love (as one does).

Already in its day it was a somewhat anachronistic affair with Astaire by this time a legacy of yesteryear and Cole Porter's musical style less in vogue than that of Rogers and Hammerstein. Today when the Cold War is long since a thing of the past and poking fun at Communism irrelevant and the portrayal of women as swooning over expensive underwear is little short of ludicrous, the film has lost even more of its purchase over the imagination. Nevertheless, Astaire, then aged 60 and too old for the part, is as elegant as ever (however when his plastered down hair shakes free in the opening number as when he loses his hat dancing the closing number, we know that the master is no longer calling the shots) whilst Charisse makes a graceful and beautiful partner for him. Porter's songs are not amongst his best although 'All Of You' appears from the stage show and 'The Ritz Roll And Rock' is an amusing antiphon to Berlin's classic and Astaire's signature song, 'Puttin' On The Ritz'.




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