After the enormous success of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Paramount decided to pair it's top musical star, Hutton, with Astaire, but the combination didn't work. Filled with cliches, a generally lackluster and witless screenplay, and a failure to ignite, LET'S DANCE has Astaire billed under
Hutton. Although he attempted to save the hackneyed story with his feet and grace, it was to no avail, and the result is a flat piece of business. Astaire and Hutton are performing overseas for the troops when she reveals that she's just been married to a flier in the service. Dissolve to years
later in a Boston brownstone where we discover that her husband died in action, and that she now has a 5-year-old son, Moffett. The house belongs to her late hubby's mother, Watson, a stuffed blouse. Hutton is stifled by the Boston Brahmin life and decides to leave her mean mother-in-law and take
up the showbiz cudgels once more. Watson has other plans for Moffett and would never allow that, so Hutton and son leave surreptitiously. Hutton finds Astaire, who is earning a few bucks in a nightspot but trying to make it as a businessman by day. Astaire helps Hutton get a job at the club and
everyone immediately takes to Hutton and Moffett. But Watson can't stand the thought of her grandson growing up in such a tawdry atmosphere and sends her lawyers out to get the boy back. A custody suit is begun, but when Astaire and Hutton fall in love and decide to make their lives one, Watson
has no recourse.
There's little entertainment value in LET'S DANCE until the two stars begin to dance, and then the magic of the Astaire feet takes over. There are two numbers that are usually featured in Astaire retrospectives--one where he dances on a piano, and the other when he and Hutton have a fleeting
moment in a cowboy number which features the same energy, laughs, and rough-and-tumble moves that Astaire and Garland used in the hobo dance "A Couple of Swells" from EASTER PARADE (1948). It's innovatively choreographed by Pan (a man with whom Astaire worked often and well) and played with great
fun by Hutton and Astaire. Other than that, there's not much electricity. LET'S DANCE is far too long and Loesser's score is not nearly as good as much of his other work. Tunes include: "Tunnel of Love," "The Hyacinth," "Piano Dance," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Can't Stop Talking," "Oh, Them
Dudes," and the one song that stepped out to become sort of a standard, "Why Fight the Feeling?" Cooper and Young provide what little humor there is in the movie with their portrayals of two attorneys whom Watson has hired to do the dirty deed of nabbing Moffett away from his mother.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: After the enormous success of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Paramount decided to pair it's top musical star, Hutton, with Astaire, but the combination didn't work. Filled with cliches, a generally lackluster and witless screenplay, and a failure to ignite, LET'S DAN… (more)