Ginger Rogers movies on TCM
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire became movie stars thanks to Dorothy Jordan. Jordan, Ramon Novarro's leading lady in three popular early MGM musicals, had been cast as the second female lead in RKO's Flying Down to Rio, a 1933 musical starring Mexican Dolores del Rio as a (hilarious) Brazilian and Gene Raymond as her red-white-and-blue suitor.
But instead of practicing her tap dancing, Jordan opted to get married to King Kong co-director Merian C. Cooper. Enter Ginger Rogers. And what followed in the next two-and-a-half decades were a series of delightful performances in movie comedies, dramas, and musicals.
Ginger Rogers in old Greta Garbo role
Turner Classic Movies is currently showing The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), the last Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire pairing and the duo's only movie in color. Next is the Robert Z. Leonard-directed Weekend at the Waldorf (1945), a less prestigious but immensely popular remake of 1931-32 Best Picture Academy Award winner Grand Hotel.
Transposed from Berlin's Grand Hotel to New York's Waldorf-Astoria, Weekend at the Waldorf stars Rogers in the old Greta Garbo role and Walter Pidgeon in the John Barrymore part. Others in the cast: Lana Turner, Van Johnson, and Edward Arnold in roles originally incarnated by Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore (Johnson's role was fully revamped), and Wallace Beery.
Ginger Rogers schedule on Sunday, August 12 (EDT)
6:00 AM RAFTER ROMANCE (1933). Dir.: William Seiter. Cast: Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster, George Sidney. Black and white. 73 minutes.
7:30 AM CAREFREE (1938). A psychiatrist falls in love with the woman he's supposed to be nudging into marriage with someone else. Dir.: Mark Sandrich. Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy. Black and white. 83 minutes.
9:15 AM 5th AVE GIRL / FIFTH AVENUE GIRL (1939). Dir.: Gregory La Cava. Cast: Ginger Rogers, Walter Connolly, Verree Teasdale, James Ellison, Tim Holt, Kathryn Adams, Franklin Pangborn, Louis Calhern. Black and white. 83 minutes.
2:30 PM PRIMROSE PATH (1940). Dir.: Gregory La Cava. Cast: Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Marjorie Rambeau, Miles Mander, Henry Travers, Queenie Vassar, Joan Carroll. Black and white. 93 minutes.
4:15 PM SHALL WE DANCE (1937). Dir.: Mark Sandrich. Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Jerome Cowan, Ketti Gallian, William Brisbane. Black and white. 109 minutes.
6:15 PM VIVACIOUS LADY (1937). Dir.: George Stevens. Cast: Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, James Ellison, Beulah Bondi, Frances Mercer, Phyllis Kennedy, Grady Sutton, Franklin Pangborn, Jack Carson. Black and white. 90 minutes.
8:00 PM 42ND STREET (1933). The definitive backstage musical, complete with the dazzling newcomer who goes on for the injured star. Dir.: Lloyd Bacon. Cast: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Guy Kibbee, Una Merkel, Allen Jenkins, Ned Sparks, Edward J. Nugent, Robert McWade, George E. Stone, Louis Beavers, Patricia Ellis. Black and white. 89 minutes.
9:45 PM SWING TIME (1936). To prove himself worthy of his fiancee, a dancer tries to make it big, only to fall for his dancing partner. Dir.: George Stevens. Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore. Black and white. 104 minutes.
11:45 PM STAGE DOOR (1937). Women at a theatrical boarding house try to make their big break happen. Dir.: Gregory La Cava. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Andrea Leeds, Constance Collier, Gail Patrick, Samuel S. Hinds, Lucille Ball, Franklin Pangborn, Jack Carson. Black and white. 92 minutes.
1:30 AM THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949). A married musical team splits up so the wife can become a serious actress. Dir.: Charles Walters. Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant. Color. 109 minutes.
3:30 AM WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF (1945). In this remake of Grand Hotel, guests at a New York hotel fight to survive personal tragedy. Dir.: Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Robert Benchley, Phyllis Thaxter, Keenan Wynn, Leon Ames, Porter Hall, Samuel S. Hinds, Lina Romay, Miles Mander, George Zucco, Cora Sue Collins, Warner Anderson, Rosemary DeCamp, Jacqueline deWit, Irving Bacon, Nana Bryant, Moroni Olsen, Xavier Cugat. Black and white. 130 minutes.
Movie schedule and synopses via the TCM website.