Silk Stockings (1957)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Romance, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 18, 1957 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The last MGM musical for both Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, Silk Stockings, while definitely a minor effort, is pleasant and diverting, an agreeable way to pass a couple of hours. Drawn from the classic Greta Garbo/Ernst Lubitsch comedy Ninotchka, Stockings retains that earlier effort's basic story line and adds an engaging if lightweight Cole Porter score. The songwriter's wit and inimitable way with a phrase are shown to good effect in numbers such as "Stereophonic Sound," which satirizes the then-current effort to lure audiences to cinemas via technical innovations; "Josephine," in which you learn that Napoleon's lover was "commonly called Jo;'" and "All of You," in which Astaire tells Charisse he likes "the lure of you" and wants to take "a tour of you." As always, Astaire is charming, sympathetic, and believable, and -- even at 57 -- is still an unparalleled dancer. Charisse has her best role in this film, and while she may not erase memories of Garbo, she still shines. Her dance to the lushly arranged title track is a special triumph. Janis Paige makes the most of her two big numbers, and Peter Lorre's rare comic performance is a real prize. Rouben Mamoulian's direction is solid. All Stockings lacks is a real reason for being a musical; without that basic spark, it has to settle for being likable and entertaining but no more.