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Dolores del Rio,
Showman Jerry Travers is working for producer Horace Hardwick in London. Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horace's hotel, much to the annoyance of sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace. Written by
For the "Cheek to Cheek" number, Ginger Rogers wanted to wear an elaborate blue dress heavily decked out with ostrich feathers. When director Mark Sandrich and Fred Astaire saw the dress, they knew it would be impractical for the dance. Sandrich suggested that Rogers wear the white gown she had worn performing "Night and Day" in The Gay Divorcee (1934). Rogers walked off the set, finally returning when Sandrich agreed to let her wear the offending blue dress. As there was no time for rehearsals, Ginger Rogers wore the blue feathered dress for the first time during filming, and as Astaire and Sandrich had feared, feathers started coming off the dress. Astaire later claimed it was like "a chicken being attacked by a coyote". In the final film, some stray feathers can be seen drifting off it. To patch up the rift between them, Astaire presented Rogers with a locket of a gold feather. This was the origin of Rogers' nickname "Feathers". The shedding feathers episode was recreated to hilarious results in a scene from Easter Parade (1948) in which Fred Astaire danced with a clumsy, comical dancer played by Judy Garland. See more »
When Horace and Bates are speaking to the hotel manager, the hook of the coat hanger that Bates is holding changes orientation between shots. See more »
I'm only just now beginning to realize how silly the plot and some of the comedy was in this movie. When I watched it, it was perfectly wonderful, and I smiled all the way through. Fred and Ginger, of course, are perfect, whether dancing so memorably to the likes of "Isn't It a Lovely Day" and "Cheek to Cheek" or pitching woo. Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Helen Broderick kept it moving with their throughly entertaining comedy relief. Even almost 65 years after its premeire, it's still in tip-top condition, both in the print and in its impact, on first viewing, at least. (I'm afraid to watch it again, for fear the impact will be destroyed.)
I've seen almost all of Fred and Ginger's pictures since viewing this. Some are good, some less so, and all have their moments of excellence. But none of them matched this one in my mind for sheer feel-goodness. The ones that came closest were Swing Time, Shall We Dance, and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and The Barkleys of Broadway, the last two because they had quite plausible stories, (and in the case of Castle, one based on real life). But still, Top Hat is Fred and Ginger at their best, and hopefully will always stay that way in my mind.
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