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Second Chorus1940

  • 3.3
The combination of Fred Astaire's dancing and jazz clarinetist/composer Artie Shaw's big band was hot stuff when they united for this sole collaborative effort. It won Shaw Academy Award® nominations for Best Song ("Love of My Life," co-written with Johnny Mercer) and Best Score. Astaire and Burgess Meredith play extremely mature college students who are also trumpeters and rivals for the affection of pretty secretary Paulette Goddard. She soon becomes their manager and she's so good at her job that soon Artie Shaw himself comes sniffing around, wondering who's stealing all his bookings. "I Ain't Hep to that Step But I'll Dig It," the impressive duet for Astaire and his leading lady, was shot in one take, mercifully, as far as she was concerned, because her dance experience was modest and he was a notorious perfectionist. Other highlights include Astaire's satirical Cossack dance and the performance of Shaw's "Concerto for Clarinet." The trumpet parts for Astaire and Meredith (who later married Goddard) were dubbed by stellar players Bobby Hackett and Billy Butterfield, respectively. - Dennis Harvey

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