A Damsel in Distress

Released in November 1937 by RKO. Music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. Screenplay by P. G. Wodehouse, Ernest Pagano, and S. K. Lauren, adapted from a Wodehouse story. Directed by George Stevens. Produced by Pandro S. Berman. Cast included Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Reginald Gardiner, Ray Noble, Constance Collier, and Montague Love.

The Gershwins’ second project after relocating to California in 1936 was Fred Astaire’s first film musical without Ginger Rogers. Based on a story by P. G. Wodehouse, Astaire stars as a famous American composer working in London who falls in love with a young woman from an aristocratic English family (Joan Fontaine). George Burns and Gracie Allen add fine comic support as Astaire’s manager and his secretary. “Stiff Upper Lip,” which the trio performs in a funhouse, is one of the most complex and delightful musical sequences ever filmed.