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A Damsel in Distress (1937)

A Damsel in Distress is a 1937 English-themed Hollywood musical comedy film starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, George Burns, and Gracie Allen. With a screenplay by P. G. Wodehouse, loosely based on his novel of the same name.

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X."

Astaire's co-star Joan Fontaine was not a dancer and he was reluctant to dance on screen alone. He also felt the script needed more comic relief to enhance the overall appeal of the film. Burns and Allen had each worked in vaudeville as dancers (aka "hoofers") before forming their act and when word of the project reached them, they called Astaire and he asked them to audition.

Burns contacted an act he had once seen that performed a dance using brooms. For the next several weeks, he and Allen worked at home to learn the complicated routine for their audition. When they presented the "Whisk Broom Dance" to Astaire, he was so taken by it, that he had them teach it to him and it was added to the film. Their talents were further highlighted as they matched Astaire step by step in the demanding "Funhouse Dance". Throughout the picture Burns and Allen amazed audiences and critics as they "effortlessly" kept pace with the most famous dancer in the films, as many did not know either of them could dance.

A Damsel in Distress (1937).mp4


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