CAREFREE (1938) B/W 84m dir: Mark Sandrich
w/Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy, Luella Gear, Jack Carson, Clarence Kolb, Franklin Pangborn, Walter Kingsford, Kay Sutton, Tom Tully, Hattie McDaniel, Robert B. Mitchell and the St. Brendan's Boys Choir
A psychiatrist (Astaire) attempts to help a lawyer (Bellamy) and his fiancee (Rogers) over some psychological hurdles on their way to the altar. Of course, Dr. Fred winds up falling for the lovely Ginger. Not up to the standard of the best Astaire-Rogers films, this is nevertheless a very good musical. Some of the action is rather dated (as, for example, when Fred hypnotizes Ginger for a dance routine, "pulling her strings," as it were). But Ginger really shines in this one, plus there's a lovely slow-motion dance number that she and Fred perform together, "I Used to Be Color-Blind," which was originally scheduled to be filmed in color.
From The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book by Arlene Croce: "Carefree is more screwball comedy than musical, and it is more Ginger Rogers' film than Fred Astaire's. It's also the shortest of the Astaire-Rogers films, with only four numbers, and an obstacle of a plot that clearly was never intended to support a musical. ...
"Although Carefree contains more than its share of novelties, it is very much the twilight movie of the Astaire-Rogers series. The wheel of the Thirties had already turned and the Forties are already here, in the clothes that Rogers wears --- the splashy appliqués, the witch hats, the snoods --- and in the muted luxury of the settings: white wood and fieldstone for the country club and its grounds, with only now and then a satin chair or fluted drape echoing the 'streamlined' urban glitter of the earlier films. The lighting is lower-key and the photography is softer (the cameraman was now Robert de Grasse, Rogers' favorite). Much of the film is shot out of doors; it breathes of freshly turned earth. But there was no new planting. This really was the end."