Retro Movie Review: Swing Kids

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

In the early 1990s there was a popular resurgence of swing music. Many bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Squirrel Nut Zippers quickly became famous and many young people learned how much of a thrill Swing dancing could be.

With such resurgence of Swing popularity, it only makes sense that Hollywood would attempt to capitalize on such a fad. You’d expect that whatever came of such theatrical effort would be shallow and corny, much like all of the wannabe Star Wars movies of the 80s… or Dirty Dancing. Instead, the movie that appeared to be cashing in on a flight of passing fancy, Swing Kids, is much, much deeper than the title implies.

In the late 1930s, Germany was undergoing some major changes as the National Socialist (better known as Nazi) party led by Adolf Hitler was tightening its grip on German society. At the same time, Jitter-bug dancing young Germans were relishing in English and American Jazz culture and were doing everything they could to embrace it in their clothing, speech, music and dancing.

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