Ginger Rogers While Rome Burns

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I wish somebody had cast Ginger Rogers as the Empress Poppaea in a Roman epic so the marquees could scream, GINGER ROGERS WHILE ROME BURNS, but they didn’t, so we shall have to be content with ROXIE HART, only it is not available for streaming so many of you will have approximately the same chance of getting to see it, which is a shame.

But here, at Mubi’s Notebook, for Forgotten By Fox, is my appreciation of William A. Wellman’s savage satire, as blackhearted a satire as anyone ever made. With dancing!

9 Responses to “Ginger Rogers While Rome Burns”

  1. The Al Franken story proved that the left were keen to make sure no possible suspicion of inappropriate behaviour went unpunished, which leaves them wide open to further attacks of this kind.

    Censorship forced the Wellman film to soften a few things, but it does so cunningly — SOMEBODY shot that guy, but it’s not at all clear than anyone will go to jail for it.

  2. Menjou also plays comedy in Preston Sturges’s “The Milky Way”, arguably stealing the movie out from under Harold Lloyd. As it stands, it plays more like an ensemble farce than a star vehicle. Credit to Lloyd for — on camera, anyway — subduing his usual competitiveness and being a team player in group scenes.

  3. That one’s Leo McCarey (although others had to fill in when he got sick from drinking toxic milk).

    Lloyd worked with Sturges on The Sin of Harold Diddlebock and their respective egos did not meld pleasingly. More on that one soon.

  4. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Their egos may have clashed but the film is wonderful.

  5. Thanks for slamming the awful editing in CHICAGO, the newer musical. When I wrote that the cuisinart cutting style in the dancing scenes obscured any proof that anybody could really dance, the FILM EDITOR wrote in to give me grief and remind me that he had an Oscar for the work, not me, so he knew better. David Cairns rides to the rescue of my ego.

  6. All part of the service!

    If you sub out the word “Best” for the word “Most” in the Oscars, they usually make more sense. Doesn’t mean the work is always bad, by any means, but people do tend to respect anything there’s a lot of.

    In the case of Richard Gere, the cutting might be part of a stratagem to disguise the fact that it’s not him dancing. But if so it doesn’t work. The rest of the time it’s indefensible.

  7. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Gere is otherwise one of the best things in “Chicago.” But as I pointed out in my first post Maurine Dallas Watkins is a story unto herself and there’s a film to be made about how she created “Chicago” far darker than the work itself.

  8. Watkins’ turn in Hollywood from ’31 to ’38 produced multiple exposés of journalistic skullduggery, but none with the bite she was capable of. Apart from maybe The Story of Temple Drake, which is pretty hard-boiled.

    Imagine a pre-code Chicago with, say, Jean Harlow as Roxie and, say, Barrymore as Billy Flynn?

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