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. It is also the longest musical number in all of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' films together.
After Flying Down to Rio (1933), Fred Astaire was reluctant to make a second movie with Ginger Rogers. He had previously been part of a dance duo with his sister, Adele Astaire, but wanted to establish himself as a solo dancer. Astaire sent a note to his agent about Rogers. "I don't mind making another picture with her, but as for this team idea, it's out! I've just managed to live down one partnership and I don't want to be bothered with any more." But when the critics praised the Astaire-Rogers pairing in "Rio," Astaire was persuaded, and he and Rogers made the second film in their partnership, this one.
This was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, "The Continental". Oscar statuettes were won by Con Conrad (music) and Herb Magidson (lyrics) as 1934 was the first year when an Oscar for this category was introduced.
Having just insured Fred Astaire's legs for a sum in excess of $300,000, producer Pandro S. Berman was keen to get some use of them so pushed hard for Astaire to team with a new partner. Astaire himself was initially reluctant to embark on a new partnership with a female co-dancer, having just recently split with his sister, Adele.
According to the Internet Movie Car Database, some cars are identified as follows: The car that Tonetti drives up to the resort in is a 1927 Austin Seven Swallow. The car that asks to get by in the fake roadblock is a 1927 Bugatti Type 40. The car Ginger Rogers is driving is a 1929 Dusenberg J. Fred Astaire is driving a 1931 MG J2 Midget.
This is the only film in which Fred Astaire plays a role that he originated in the Broadway stage production, which opened on Nov. 29, 1932 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and ran for 248 performances. Although Astaire had appeared in both the 1927 Broadway musical play and later the film Funny Face (1957), the stories were entirely different, using many of the same songs. Also, Fred Astaire and his sister Adele had appeared in the stage show "The Band Wagon" (1930) but the stage version was a revue, without a plot at all; a backstage plot was added when Fred Astaire filmed "The Band Wagon" in 1953.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' follow-up to their first film together was supposed to be called "Radio City Revels". However, RKO's staff writers proved to have real difficulty in coming up with fresh scenarios to fit the title. Fortunately someone suggested an adaptation of Cole Porter's then current stage hit, as Astaire had already played in both the Broadway and London versions.