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The Gay Divorcee (1934)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,508 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 30 critic

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 (... See full summary »

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(from the book by), (musical adaptation), 9 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Plot Keywords:

divorce | aunt | dancer | password | lawyer | See All (49) »

Taglines:

Musical Triumph Of Two Continents 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)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The musical number "The Continental" lasts 17 1/2 minutes, the longest number ever in a musical until Gene Kelly's 18 1/2-minute ballet at the end of An American in Paris (1951) 17 years later. See more »

Goofs

When Tonetti and Guy are tied together after the night in the hotel room, they make a number of moves where they try to go in opposite directions, but are unable to because they are tied together. When the doorbell rings a final time Tonetti goes to answer the door and Guy goes to comfort Mimi, they are no longer tied together. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Hortense: [Going with Mimi to check into the hotel] Oh, Egbert, are you coming with us?
Egbert Fitzgerald: What? Hortense, oh my. You can't remain with her. This is supposed to be a clandestine affair. You can't have a clandestine affair between three people!
Aunt Hortense: [laughing] Oh, that's what you say!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in To the Manor Born: The Spare Room (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's K-nock K-nees
(1931)
Music and Lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
Song performed by Betty Grable (uncredited) and Edward Everett Horton (uncredited)
Dance performed by Betty Grable (uncredited), Edward Everett Horton (uncredited), chorus
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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