Review: ‘The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle’

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle is top-flight cinematic entertainment. It's another switch on the backstage story, this time dealing with a much-in-love married pair of ballroomologists catapulted from dire straits in Paris into international acclaim and fortune.

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle is top-flight cinematic entertainment. It’s another switch on the backstage story, this time dealing with a much-in-love married pair of ballroomologists catapulted from dire straits in Paris into international acclaim and fortune.

The medley of some 40 yesteryear pops is the common denominator for all types of audiences.

Irene Castle technically-advised. Her published memoirs, My Husband and My Memories of Vernon Castle, are the story background [adapted by Oscar Hammerstein II and Dorothy Yost] of the film. Her personal life story has been seemingly transmuted into celluloid with considerable faithfulness and a minimum of bombast or heroics.

Their success story dates from the time that the shrewd Maggie Sutton (Edna May Oliver) gets them an audition at the Cafe de Paris. Comes the war, however, and Castle enlists in the Canadian Royal Flying Corps, and meets untimely death as a flying instructor.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire are excellent as the Castles.

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

Production

RKO. Director H.C. Potter; Producer George Haight; Screenplay Richard Sherman; Camera Robert de Grasse; Editor William Hamilton; Music Victor Baravalle (dir.); Art Director Van Nest Polglase, Perry Ferguson

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers Edna May Oliver Walter Brennan Lew Fields Etienne Girardot
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