The Barkleys of Broadway

Released on May 4, 1949 by MGM.  Music by Harry Warren. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Directed by Charles Walters. Produced by Arthur Freed. Cast included Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant, and Billie Burke.

THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY was originally intended as a vehicle for Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, coming off their successful pairing in EASTER PARADE, but became the reunion of Astaire and Ginger Rogers when Garland’s myriad of problems caused her to be dropped from the project before filming began. For this story of a bickering vaudeville couple, Ira and Harry Warren had written a number of songs designed for Garland’s personality and range, but were forced to come up with a second set of songs to fit Rogers’ style.  Strangely, a George and Ira Gershwin interpolation — “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” — was probably the highlight of the film. The Gershwins’ friend, Oscar Levant, was along to provide comic relief in his usual acerbic way.