the fresh films reviews

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Top Hat (1935)

Mark Sandrich
Top Hat

99 minutes

Pandro S. Berman
Dwight Taylor
Allan Scott

Based on the musical "The Gay Divorcee" by:
Dwight Taylor
Cole Porter

Cast includes:

Jerry Travers Fred Astaire
Dale Tremont Ginger Rogers
Horace Hardwick Edward Everett Horton
Madge Hardwick Helen Broderick
Alberto Beddini Erik Rhodes
Bates Eric Blore
Flower Clerk Lucille Ball
Flower Salesman Leonard Mudie
Curate Donald Meek



This is arguably the most classical of the several musicals starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts, masterly choreographed by Hermes Pan and Astaire himself. The five musical numbers were written by Astaire's lifelong pal Irvin Berling, and all five of them became big hits in 1935. "Cheek to Cheek" and "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain" are perhaps the most famous of the lot today.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers weren't only recurring figures in musicals during the 1930s, they effectively defined this new genre which epitomized the success of the talkies. And Top Hat capitalized on the success of The Gay Divorcee from the year before. Fred Astaire received his only Oscar nomination for the disaster movie The Towering Inferno in 1975, but he was never better than in these 1930s movies. The dance numbers are bubbling over with enthusiasm and joie de vivre, and Astaire and Rogers enjoy a wonderful chemistry and comedic timing between them. And to add a little zest (and confusion, as it were), the perfectly silly script puts the talents of character actors Edward Everett Horton and Erik Rhodes to best possible use just like in The Gay Divorcee. A winning formula from a time when formulas weren't only the norm, but also enjoyed as such by insatiable new movie audiences.

English version: Copyright 15.03.2020 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 23
.10.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang