Tagline – Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and the Fabulous Gershwin’s… What More Could You Ask For?
Starring – Fred Astaire (Peter P. Peters/Petrov), Ginger Rogers (Linda Keene), Edward Everett Horton (Jeffrey Baird), Eric Blore (Cecil Flintridge).
Released – May, 1937
Directed By – Mark Sandrich
Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures
Description – Peter P. Peters is an American ballet dancer working for a ballet company owned by Jeffrey Baird and appearing in Paris. Peter dances under the name of Petrov and has always dreamed of blending the style of ballet with modern jazz dancing.
When Peter sees some photographs of famous tap dancer Linda Keene he is immediately smitten and tells Jeffrey that he will meet and marry her. Peter goes to Linda’s apartment and overhears her telling her producer that she wants to quit show business and return to New York.
When they meet, Peter puts on his best Russian accent and introduces himself as Petrov pretending not to be impressed with her. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is so impressed that he tricks Jeffrey into booking passage for him on the same ocean liner she is taking back to New York.
Before boarding the ship, Peter encounters Lady Tarrington, a former ballerina, who is a dogged admirer of his. Too much so. In an effort to keep her at bay, Peter tells her that he and Linda have been secretly married for four years.
During the voyage the rumors start to fly. Lady Tarrington has told anyone who would listen about the supposed marriage and the rumor mill has stretched the untruth to include the fact that Linda may be pregnant. The sensationalism of the rumor has provided the seed for a massive publicity stunt by Linda’s manager Arthur Miller.
News of the stunt outrages Linda and her real Park Avenue fiance Jim Montgomery. Linda assures Jim that she is not married to Peter. Arthur, who does not want Linda to marry Jim because this will cause her to leave show business, arranges for a publicity man to take a picture of a sleeping Peter along side a mannequin of Linda.
The publicized picture creates chaos. A sham marriage will follow a broken engagement, true love will begin to grow, Peter will be seen with another woman adding to the chaos and threaten the new found feelings of love.
As with many an Astaire, Rogers movie, a beautiful dance number will save the day.
NOTABLE: Shall We Dance received an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Original Song (They Can’t Take That Away From Me).
The films story originated with RKO’s desire to capitalize on the success of Rogers and Hart’s 1936 Broadway hit “On Your Toes.”
In one scene Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance together on roller skates. The added difficulty of the skates required around 150 takes of the scene.
Shall We Dance was the seventh pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
During production of the film, George Gershwin was already suffering the ill effects of a brain tumor and would die two months after the pictures release.