a nice reference and overview of director MARK SANDRICH...another director NOT listed in 501 DIRECTORS by Steven J. Schneider...the author discusses some causes and reasons for his anonymity...some would say "one-dimensional" film maker...early death at age 45...collapse of the studio system....star-filled films that eclipsed his directorial skills...I would argue that he made wonderful niche films....basically invented the ASTAIRE/ROGERS chemistry....produced quality and successful films...if you do not believe me, check out these five gems!!
#1. THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)... the first ASTAIRE/ROGERS pairing has a little more plot than most...still has it's share of music and dance...based on the broadway play THE GAY DIVORCE....great songs, including "CONTINENTAL" & "NIGHT AND DAY"...good support from ERIK RHODES & ERIC BLORE...
#2. TOP HAT (1935).... my favorite ASTAIRE/ROGERS vehicle...minimal plot based on "mistaken identity"...a ton of wonderful IRVING BERLIN songs, including "CHEEK TO CHEEK" & "PICCOLINO"....BLORE & RHODES return for comedic relief....look for LUCY!!!
#3. FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936)... a small step down from the high level TOP HAT...plot involves two sailors (FRED ASTAIRE & RANDOLPH SCOTT) romancing two sisters (GINGER ROGERS & HARRIET HILLIARD(NELSON)...based on the IRVING BERLIN musical HIT THE DECK...LUCY as "KITTY"!!!!
#4. SHALL WE DANCE (1937)... an equal in brilliance to TOP HAT..flimsy plot, to say the least....it is really all about the Gershwins..."YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME"...THEY ALL LAUGHED"..."LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF"..
#5. HOLIDAY INN (1942)... sorry..no GINGER...fred and bing crosby try to run an inn that is only open for "the holidays" (it ain't Shakespeare), setting up a song and dance session for virtually every known HOLIDAY, including GEORGE WASHINGTON... a bevy of IRVING BERLIN songs with BING singing the academy award winning "WHITE CHRISTMAS"....