That's a hard decision to make, since the decade was full of wonderful movies that encapsulate the era. Carole Lombard's "My Man Godfrey" would be a contender; so might "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang" or some of the decade's other socially conscious films.
But perhaps the best choice would be to place the alien in front of a screen to view these two in action:
The films Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made have so much going for them -- superbly crafted dance steps, classic pop songs from the top composers of the day, some solid comedic performances in the best Broadway tradition (both Astaire and Rogers were veterans of the stage), and excellent chemistry between the stars.
This Thursday, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is celebrating Thanksgiving by showing six Astaire-Rogers films we have much to give thanks for. Here's the schedule (all times Eastern):
6:30 a.m. -- "Roberta" (1935). This not only features Fred and Ginger, but Irene Dunne (a fine musical star in her own right) and Randolph Scott, with music from Jerome Kern, including "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes":
8:30 a.m. -- "The Gay Divorcee" (1934). The first starring vehicle for Astaire and Rogers (they had supporting parts in "Flying Down To Rio" the year before), this is an adaptation of Fred's Broadway success "The Gay Divorce"...the title was changed by Hollywood. There's plenty of great music here, such as this little-remembered gem, "A Needle In A Haystack":
10:30 a.m. -- "Swing Time" (1936). Many deem this the quintessential Fred and Ginger film, and you could make a good argument for it. It's Kern again, with Dorothy Fields, and the songs are splendid. Here's "Pick Yourself Up," in which Ginger is teaching Fred's character how to dance (you'll get a laugh from the end of the segment):
12:30 p.m. -- "Shall We Dance" (1937). The Gershwins provide the memorable music here, such as this tune, "I've Got Beginner's Luck." Dog lovers will especially enjoy this segment.
2:30 p.m. -- "Carefree" (1938). While this is generally considered not quite up to par with other Astaire-Rogers vehicles (the pun is intentional, as some of the film is set at a golf course), it does have its moments, such as "Change Partners" (and yes, that's Ralph Bellamy as the "other guy"). This is the first of two films with Irving Berlin music TCM is showing.
4 p.m. -- "Top Hat" (1935). And here is the other, an excellent film that has plenty of wonderful songs, including the brilliant "Cheek To Cheek." But my favorite from the film -- indeed, my favorite Astaire-Rogers moment -- is "Isn't This A Lovely Day." Enjoy.
Give thanks to Fred and Ginger this Thursday for providing us with such bliss...and for potentially adding at least one Martian fan.