7.6/10
5,521
51 user 37 critic

The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 12 October 1934 (USA)
An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director:

Writers:

(from the book by), (musical adaptation) (as Kenneth Webb) | 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Egbert 'Pinky' Fitzgerald
Erik Rhodes ...
Rodolfo Tonetti
...
The Waiter
Lillian Miles ...
Singer - Continental Number
Charles Coleman ...
Guy's Valet
William Austin ...
Cyril Glossop
...
Dance Specialty - Knock Knees
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Storyline

Mimi Glossop wants a divorce so her Aunt Hortense hires a professional to play the correspondent in apparent infidelity. American dancer Guy Holden meets Mimi while visiting Brightbourne (Brighton) and she thinks he is the correspondent. The plot is really an excuse for song and dance. The movie won three Academy nominations and the first Oscar for Best Song: "The Continental", a twenty-two minute production number. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Introducing the new dance sensation "The Continental" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

12 October 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Continental  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$520,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System) (as R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although "Night and Day" is the only song retained from the show "Gay Divorce" (on which the movie is based), the plotline remained basically the same on stage and film. See more »

Goofs

When Hortense and Mimi consult with Egbert in his law office, Hortense says Mimi has been married two years. The waiter (Eric Blore) says he met "Professor Brown" (Mimi's husband incognito) and his "wife" 3 1/2 years ago. See more »

Quotes

Waiter: I have an unnatural passion for rocks.
Guy: You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cocoon (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Let It Bother You
(1934)
Music and Lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
Dance performed by Fred Astaire (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

"Distinct Tendencies Towards Terpsichorean Excellence"
14 March 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Guy Holden, the celebrated stage dance star, is touring Europe on vacation. Mimi Glossop is a rich American living in London and is currently in the throes of a divorce. They meet, they dance, they fall in love.

Ginger Rogers was by far the bigger cinema star when RKO Radio teamed her with Fred. She had appeared in 34 films to his 3, and two in the previous year had been smash hits - "Golddiggers" and "42nd Street". This loose borrowing from Cole Porter's Broadway show contains only one of the master's songs, the immortal "Night And Day", and only four other songs in the entire movie - Conrad & Magidson's "Needle In A Haystack" and "The Continental", and Gordon & Revel's "Don't Let It Bother You" and "Let's K-nock K-nees" (featuring an 18-year-old Betty Grable, who had herself featured in no less than eight films in the previous year).

At the depth of the Depression, this sort of film was all the rage - a fantasy of carefree opulence and ease, set in a world of Parisian floorshows, ocean liners and tuxedos. The wit is sharp and the mood flirtatious. What if the film-makers hadn't the first clue about how an English barrister conducts his cases? This is about romance, not professional ethics. What if the terrain of Brighton isn't an igneous intrusion, but in fact a sedimentary accretion? This is about two people's sublime dancing, not geology.

Fred is as always the quintessence of style, a naturally elegant creature, and Ginger is gorgeous. The plot is very well constructed, containing all the misunderstandings associated with musical farce, but developing them with panache. The denouement is both neat and unexpected. There are plenty of girls dancing in the usual geometric patterns, but there is also abundant creativity in the choreography - the playful steps in "The Continental", for example, or Fred's reluctant dance for his supper. Mimi is trying to resist Guy, and has to be drawn into "Night And Day" against her will - an instance of character being expressed through dance. Max Steiner's arrangement of this number is glorious, with its 'tacit', and the swelling fortissimos, and a dainty countermelody in the strings. Ginger sings "The Continental" like an angel, nicely ragging the time.

Inconsequential? No doubt. Frothy? Certainly. A joy to watch? Definitely!


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