[box cover]

Silk Stockings

The Cole Porter Collection

  • Broadway Melody of 1940
  • Les Girls
  • High Society
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Silk Stockings
  • Silk Stockings (1957) isn't one of the best musicals (call it a second-tier effort), nor one of the great Fred Astaire vehicles. But when it's on, it's as good as the best. Following the plot of Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka fairly closely, the film starts as three Russian agents (Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin, and Joseph Buloff) arrive in Paris to monitor Russian composer Boroff (Wim Sonneveld). But Boroff comes under the attention of American movie producer Steve Canfield (Astaire), who woos him to score his newest film starring swimming sensation Peggy Dayton (Janis Paige, in a scene-stealing role). And after Steve gets the agents wrapped around his capitalist finger, it is the iron-willed Ninotchka Yoschenko (Cyd Charisse) who is sent to straighten things out, complicated by Steve's claim that Boroff's father was a French traveling salesman. Directed by Rouben Mamoulien, Silk Stockings is a fine musical effort, with the main selling points being Astaire and Charisse, who get two great numbers together ( "All of You" and its sequel "The All of You dance"), while Charisse gets two great numbers to herself: "Silk Stockings" and "Red Blues." Unfortunately there is one number that doesn't snap like the rest, "The Ritz Rock and Roll." Otherwise, this was one of Astaire's last musicals, and one of the last of its type, and is well worth the effort. Warner presents the film on DVD in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with restored Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Part of "The Cole Porter Collection," extras include a featurette entitled "Cole Porter in Hollywood: Satin and Silk" (10 min.), which features an interview with Cyd Charisse. Also included is the 1934 short "Paree, Paree" (21 min.) featuring a young Bob Hope and Dorothy Stone, with music by Cole Porter, and the short "Poet and Peasant Overture" (9 min.). Theatrical trailer, production notes. Snap-case.
    —DSH

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