35 user 16 critic

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 29 March 1939 (USA)
The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.


H.C. Potter


Richard Sherman (screen play), Oscar Hammerstein II (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott
Roberta (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Paris, a man clueless about fashion suddenly inherits his aunt's dress shop, while his bandleader friend reunites with his old flame.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An aviator and band leader who is always getting his group fired for his flirtatious behavior with the female guests soon finds himself falling for an engaged woman.

Director: Thornton Freeland
Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady
Swing Time (1936)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore
Top Hat (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In order to cover up his philandering ways, a married Broadway producer sets one of his dancers up on a date with a chorus girl for whom he had bought a gift, but the two dancers fall in love for real.

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X". After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen
Second Chorus (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

When perennial college students Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are forced to make it on their own, the competitive pair get jobs with Artie Shaw's band and reunite with ex-manager Ellen Miller.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Artie Shaw


Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Astaire ... Vernon Castle
Ginger Rogers ... Irene Castle
Edna May Oliver ... Maggie Sutton
Walter Brennan ... Walter
Lew Fields ... Lew Fields
Etienne Girardot ... Papa Aubel
Janet Beecher ... Mrs. Foote
Rolfe Sedan Rolfe Sedan ... Emile Aubel
Leonid Kinskey ... Artist
Robert Strange ... Dr. Foote
Douglas Walton ... Student Pilot
Clarence Derwent Clarence Derwent ... Papa Louis
Sonny Lamont ... Charlie
Frances Mercer ... Claire Ford
Victor Varconi ... Grand Duke


In 1911, Vernon Castle, minor comic in a stage revue, pursues the leading lady to a New Jersey beach...where, instead, he meets stage-struck Irene Foote. A few misadventures later, they're married; at Irene's insistence, they abandon comedy to attempt a dancing career, which attempt only lands them in Paris without a sou. Fortunately, agent Maggie Sutton hears them rehearse and starts them on their brilliant career as the world's foremost ballroom dancers. But at the height of their fame, World War I begins... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La grande farandole See more »


Box Office


$1,196,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Censorship restrictions undermined the film's period authenticity. Following the more rigid enforcement of the Hays Code in 1934, censors refused to green-light any accurate, historical portrayal of the Ragtime Era or the early Jazz Age with its bra-less flappers, rakish menswear, and libertine sexuality. As such, the film's costumes evoke tame 1939 fashion. See more »


Walter, the Foote's and later the Castle's servant/ factotum, was in reality a black man. See more »


Irene Castle: I thought you could be a first dancer, a very beautiful first dancer because you are a beautiful dancer but you're so smug and conceited that you can't see any further than your funny nose!
See more »


Remake of The Whirl of Life (1915) See more »


King Chanticleer
Written by Nat Ayer
Lyrics by A. Seymour Brown
Rehearsal dance: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Musical with a Plot
7 June 2001 | by consortpinguinSee all my reviews

"The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" was the last of the major Fred Astaire - Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s. And it was different in many ways from the others, namely that the story was more important than the songs and dances.

Really, is "Top Hat" with its emphasis on production numbers linked by a thin plot of mistaken identity really a lot different than today's action movies with endless car chases and pyrotechnic special effects linked by a very thin story about a hit man or the earth getting hit by a comet? Sorry about that analogy, I'll take the great musicals over the "actions" any day! "Yo" is not great dialog.

My parents tell me that at the time, this film was panned by the critics and did not make it as big at the box office. Could it be that everyone wanted another "Top Hat" or Swing Time?" I enjoyed those lovely musicals with their big production numbers. Could it be the emphasis on Vernon's patriotic service with the RAF in World War I might have offended many people's "isolationism" in 1939 about the growing World War II?

Fred and Ginger wanted to do a movie with more substance, and they pulled it off in grand style. The songs and dances were nice, with only one very brief "production number." But they did a great job of showing how two young entertainers met, fell in love, became famous, and made a sacrifice in the war. In 1911, young Irene Castle "discovers" Vernon, a second-rate vaudeville comic when she sees him dancing at an evening outing. She shows Vernon her not ready for prime time dance number "The Yama Yama Men." The two fall in love and marry, and with a lot of self-taught dance technique, suddenly hit the big time in France by dancing their famous "Castle Walk." The Castles' fame grew and grew and they toured Europe and America, and made a lot of money through merchandising things like Irene Castle hats. Long before Michael Jordan's basketball shoes. In fact, you will see entries for both Vernon and Irene here in the Movie Database. Irene went on to star in a few silent films, but never made a "talkie." You'll be glad to know that Irene served as an advisor for the Rogers -Astaire film, enhancing its accuracy.

As always, they had some great character actors. I never knew Walter Brennan was ever that young. Fred and Ginger really showed a depth to their acting. From there, of course, Ginger moved into dramatic movies, including her Oscar-winning "Kitty Foyle." I think Fred's later movies matured too.

In short, I think you will like this movie, but don't expect to see a clone of "Swing Time."

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed