Silk Stockings (1957) starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre directed by Rouben Mamoulian Movie Review

Silk Stockings (1957)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in Silk Stockings (1957)

Gray Stockings

American movie producer Steve Canfield (Fred Astaire) has big ideas for his next production and he not only lines up Peggy Dayton (Janis Page) to star in his version of War and Peace but he also persuades Russian composer Peter Boroff (Wim Sonneveld) to score the movie. It causes an uproar in Moscow and when Canfield seduces three Russian emissaries sent to retrieve the composer the Russian hierarchy turn to Nina Yoshenka (Cyd Charisse), a cold as ice trouble-shooter, to sort things out. Canfield soon realises he is going to have a tough time seducing her but with his charm and Paris on his side, who knows?

So here is the bland bit for you; "Silk Stockings" is based on the book "Ninotchka" by Melchior Lengyel which was turned in to both a play and the 1939 movie starring Greta Garbo. Now as of writing I haven't seen any other version of "Ninotchka" and so have nothing else to compare it to or at least that is comparing it to from a narrative point of view. On the other hand I have watched plenty of musicals and certainly can compare it to those and unfortunately for me "Silk Stockings" doesn't come out too favourably.

Janis Paige and Fred Astaire in Silk Stockings (1957)

Let me put this incredibly simply; there is boring dialogue with lots of humour which falls flat surrounded by the musical numbers which for the most also fail to impress. The thing is that it isn't one thing which lets the movie down but lots of things which when combined make "Silver Stockings" bland. There is the cinematography which lacks life and when combined with the bleak sets it ends up incredibly bland. But the dialogue is just as bland, not sparky enough to grab you and for some reason this is one of those movies where you watch and hear a joke but it doesn't make you smile.

Then there is of course the romantic comedy of Canfield trying to seduce Yoshenka and finding it hard to melt the heart of the ice maiden. It is seriously dull and you get no sense of comedy or romance from Astaire and Charisse. What is worse is that their musical numbers together are just as uninspiring and it all seems so slow and lacking vitality. It is because of this that Janis Page steals the movie as the vibrant and brassy Peggy.

What this all boils down to is that whilst I like musicals I found "Silk Stockings" a real let down and truthfully a bit of a dirge. It does have its moments and thankfully Janis Page who gives it a burst of life but for the most it is a struggle.