A Damsel in Distress

Overview

Fred Astaire's first RKO musical without his longtime partner Ginger Rogers is one of his best from any period -- even though it's obvious that leading lady Joan Fontaine can't dance a step. Written by P. G. Wodehouse, Damsel in Distress casts Astaire as Jerry, an American entertainer appearing in London. Poor Jerry gets sucked into a wager conducted among servants of country squire Lord Mashmorton Montague Love He is "elected" to rescue his Lordship's daughter Lady Alyce Joan Fontaine from an arranged marriage ...
See more details below
Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (8) from $14.86   
  • New (6) from $14.86   
  • Used (2) from $31.82   
Note: This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. This disc is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC drives.

Overview

Fred Astaire's first RKO musical without his longtime partner Ginger Rogers is one of his best from any period -- even though it's obvious that leading lady Joan Fontaine can't dance a step. Written by P. G. Wodehouse, Damsel in Distress casts Astaire as Jerry, an American entertainer appearing in London. Poor Jerry gets sucked into a wager conducted among servants of country squire Lord Mashmorton Montague Love He is "elected" to rescue his Lordship's daughter Lady Alyce Joan Fontaine from an arranged marriage with orchestra leader Reggie Ray Noble, a likeable chap who steadfastly refuses to play the villain of the piece. Weaving in and out of all this are Jerry's business manager George George Burns and his daffy secretary Gracie Gracie Allen. In addition to including such Gershwin standards as "A Foggy Day" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It," not to mention Fred Astaire's untoppable "drum dance," A Damsel in Distress affords George Burns and Gracie Allen their best-ever screen roles; the team is permitted to join Astaire in the elaborate "round-and-round" production number "Things are Looking Up," as well as a delightful whisk-broom dance which, it is said, George and Gracie taught to Fred, rather than the other way around. As Lady Alyce's duplicitous butler, Reginald Gardiner enjoys his own comic highlight with an interesting variation on his "musical cop" routine in Born to Dance. As for 19-year-old Joan Fontaine, she's quite lovely and charming, and Astaire does his very best to camouflage her utter lack of terpsichorean ability. Amazingly, A Damsel in Distress lost money at the box office, compelling RKO Radio to play safe by quickly reteaming Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Carefree.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A Damsel in Distress stars Fred Astaire and therefore is worth watching, but while it's charming and diverting, it's still a bit of a disappointment overall. There are problems with the script -- a few dead spots, some forced humor -- but no more so than in most musicals of the period. Unfortunately, George Stevens' uneven direction, which doesn't create the sense of spontaneity that a lightweight vehicle such as this requires, keeps the film from taking off as much as it needs to. He is not helped by Joan Fontaine, whose nascent dramatic abilities do not compensate for her slender musical and (especially) terpsichorean abilities. Fortunately, Astaire is on hand to make up for his co-star's shortcomings, which he does in spades, especially in his famous "drum dance," an atmospheric "A Foggy Day," a close-harmony "Nice Work if You Can Get It" and a charming " Things Are Looking Up." Fred is helped enormously by George Burns and Gracie Allen, in what may be their best big screen performance. The three have a delightful broom dance, and Gracie sells "Stiff Upper Lip" with her bizarrely unique brand of charm. This trio of chums and the dazzling Gershwin brothers score lift Damsel up quite a few notches, even if it's not enough to make it a classic of the genre.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/2011
  • UPC: 883316261569
  • Original Release: 1937
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 11,928

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Jerry Halliday
George Burns George Burns
Gracie Allen Gracie Allen
Joan Fontaine Lady Alyce Marshmorton
Reginald Gardiner Keggs, Butler
Constance Collier Lady Caroline Marshmorton
Ray Noble Reggie
Montagu Love Lord John Marshmorton
Harry Watson Albert
Jan Duggan Miss Ruggles
Charles Bennett Carnival Barker
Mario Berini Voice Only
Ralph Brooks
Jack George Madrigal Singer
Mary Gordon Cook
Major Sam Harris Dance Extra
Fred Kelsey Sightseer
Frank Moran Bobby
W.J. O'Brien Chauffeur
Ken Terrell Drunk
Technical Credits
George Stevens Director
Fred Astaire Choreography
Joseph H. August Cinematographer
Victor Baravalle Musical Direction/Supervision
Pandro S. Berman Producer
Harry Berman Editor
Carroll Clark Production Designer
George Gershwin Score Composer
Ira Gershwin Songwriter
S.K. Lauren Screenwriter
Argyle Nelson Asst. Director
Ernest Pagano Screenwriter
Hermes Pan Choreography
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Vernon Walker Special Effects
P.G. Wodehouse Screenwriter
A. Earl Wolcott Sound/Sound Designer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously