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|Index||90 reviews in total|
There's a whole wealth of reasons as to why this is the defining Astaire and
Rogers musical. Some of the best quips, songs and dances spawn from it. It
lacks the elements that turned the series sour with later musicals like
"Carefree". The performances are perhaps the best of all Astaire and Rogers
musical. "Top Hat" also boasts the classic number "Cheek to Cheek", in which
Ginger dances in a fabulous pale blue dress of ostrich feathers, which in
turn, is a whole story in itself.
On the other hand, it travels along lines obviously similar to that of its predecessor, "The Gay Divorcee". Mistaken identity. Girl refusing guy troubles. Elegant costumes and tails. Erik Rhodes is back as 'The Italian Guy'. Edward Everett Horton is back as Fred's clumsy buddy. More screamingly painful controlled studio sets. In all, more ironic silliness, more crazy behaviour, and even more surprisingly, everyone seems to get away with it.
It could have been the public couldn't simply get enough of Ginger and Fred, the reasons the execs at RKO decided to merely reinvent "The Gay Divorcee". It certainly worked at the time. Preview audiences pains included working out whether they liked "It's a lovely Day" or "Cheek to Cheek" better. It even was nominated as a candidate for Best Picture of 1935. Clearly the ploy worked, "The Gay Divorcee" also receiving the nod the year before. Therefore, would this gimmick be fried the second upon re-release?
It's been sixty five years. The classic magic that thrilled the audiences of its day is still there. The screenplay is frivolous once again, but that is where the brilliance lies. The performances still preserved have lost none of their charisma and humour. Dances and songs are sensational, and the class of the whole thing is just a faint reminder of days gone by, though not with such silliness.
Despite its greatness and immortal appeal, the movie still has its flaws. Poor Ginger was passed "The Piccolino" the film's weakest number which was disguised with a lavish dance routine. Ginger received the numbers that Fred didn't like. Fred got the good ones again, "It's a Lovely Day", "Fancy Free" and "Cheek to Cheek".
RKO probably comes in second for lousiest in the exterior set decoration department. The only studio worse in its days was FOX. They certainly did their indoor decors beautifully, but still couldn't get it right for the outdoors. A somewhat acceptable London is supported by a totally artifical Venice.
It evokes an imagery of the Golden Hollywood ended. This was the first of the team's musicals I saw, although "Swing Time" remains my favourite.
What makes it in all, so brilliant? Go and see it for yourself. If the time and place is right, you'll love it.
I could watch these two dance for hours. That's the main attraction where Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers movies are concerned. The engaging plot and great original songs are just icing on the cake.
This isn't just the best of the Astaire-Rogers musicals, but is by
implication the best musical ever made. The dancing is, of course, superb,
but the comedy is sharp and witty, the performances all round are flawless,
and the romance is wonderful as well.
This was the second-biggest grossing movie of 1935.
Top Hot is a sheer delight. When it's said that they don't make 'em like they used to, they could be talking about this film. Astaire and Rogers are maybe the best duo in the history of American film, and certainly the best dance team. Top Hat also boasts one of Irving Berlin's best film scores, with standards like Cheek to Cheek, Isn't This a Lovely Day?, and Astaire's show-stopping solo number Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails. Then there are the comic antics of two of Hollywood's biggest scene-stealers, Edward Evert Horton and Eric Blore. Top Hat is really one of those films where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And nothing tops Fred and Ginger dancing cheek-t- cheek during Cheek to Cheek for romance and unutterable beauty. A true classic, and testament to Astaire's timeless charm and grace.
Why am I in heaven? Because I have just returned from seeing this
wonderful, wonderful film on the big screen (for maybe the tenth time).
But it was over a decade since I had that pleasure and I had forgotten
the wonder, the thrill, the ecstasy of it. Am I a musicals nut? No. Am
I an Astaire-Rogers super-fan? No. But this delirious romantic musical
farce is one of the most precious jewels in the crown of the cinema.
Whence cometh this wonder, I ask myself? Yes, many other of the Astaire Rogers films are enjoyable, and the dancing and even, perhaps, the songs in Swingtime or Carefree can match most of the numbers in Top Hat. But Top Hat stands like a beacon above and beyond anything that the duo, or RKO's musical division ever did before or after. I am coming to the conclusion that a lot of the credit belongs to Aladar Laszlo who was co-author of the play, but, more importantly had the same function on Lubitsch's masterpiece, Trouble in Paradise...
So what if Aladar did light the spark in the film? Nearly everyone concerned is perfect. There is barely a line of dialogue that is not funny or barbed, and even the corny jokes: Ginger:'What is this strange power you have over horses?'. Fred: 'Horse power.' add to the blinding sense of INNOCENCE that gives the film its power.
And then there are the supporting roles. Edward Everett Horton makes a magnificent Horace, but is upstaged in every scene by Eric Blore as the incomparable Bates. Erik Rhodes is sensational as Beddini, uttering mangled English as though he imagined he was Shakespeare. And what of director Mark Sandrich? If Howard Hawks' definition of a good director ('Someone who doesn't annoy you.') is right, then Mark Sandrich is a good director! But this is not a film d'auteur but a magnificent product of the Hollywood studio system - one of the best.
But I digress. I like thousands of films, and love hundreds of them, but this wondrous emotional masterpiece can take its place along with perhaps twenty or thirty films that I love to exasperation. That is alongside The Adventurer, 42nd Street, The General, Earth, Citizen Kane, El Dorado... OK, I won't bore you with the rest. And so that is why I'm in heaven. And if there is a heaven, then after I die, I will enter the world of Top Hat.
"Top hat" (1935) directed by Mark Sandrich is a musical movie whose
cosmopolitanism give us a pair of dancers here and there, London and
Venice at the time, with an energy from the body that anybody stand
without move on each chair as movie goers. Even forty or seventy years
after its stage acrobatics and choreography with tip tap shoes, in such
a foolish concert visually beautiful and encouraging putting sadness
for a while out of minds. Only when they were quiet and observing each
other in silence, before others in a saloon of high society of the
time, could their shoulders give some sign of apparently indifference
from their own story as dancers with love affairs crossed by fake
The choreography and the decoration of the stage in the main show, that justifies the title with the black sophisticated hats and the sticks for the compasses and equilibrium of this couple of dancers - on which is in itself the most famous example of a screening music-hall moment by its simplification and high contrast of brightness in black and white -, are much more important together in the main other scenes than the holes of the plot with the tricks of snubbing characters at the time almost as farcical inspiration. That means the way that the dancers keep in touch or abandon each other in scene are conventions of golden youth without any interest out of their feet and hands round the speed of the rhythm in their balance as an eternal turnabout over the clouds of imagination and the deck of inspiration for a first kiss as plenty conventionality of Hollywood happy end for the good of everybody. Like director Mark Sandrich helps to understand us in his escape for marvelous eternity of these foolish dancers, a couple of dreamers for ever in a Europe that already doesn't exist anymore between wars and loves, only the ghosts of shipwrecking.
Otherwise, where the episodes of the story in between shows the dancers like human beings, such as a fair play for helping each other indeed, instead hearing the intriguing plot and competing each other against the level of either participation, in such a double show of supposed to be the own real life of the main characters, before the vassals as waiters of high life and old society, whose occupancy is nonetheless below as in snow condition, but like conserving ice on the rocks to drink and amazing in free times of travels. There is here in this musical movie the illusion of a couple of lovers in real life out of the fiction about dancers in Europe and far away of America, but it was only true on the stage for the marching of the same couple, dancing between moments of hate and loving each other forever when timeless separated by the conjuncture of a melodramatic but energetic plot at the time of gangsterism - with the scene of Fred Astaire simulating with his stick the choreography of the fall's shooting of each of the members of the orchestra -, in a magisterial evocation on stage decor of the rhythmic trepidation of the roar twenties from the dry law against booze... Almost nothing of eroticism but a fashionable way of showing elegance and somewhat sex-appeal as it was your sister brother fighting incest with fox-trot, tangos and waltz's.
Top Hat By definition, in film studies, formalism is a trait in
film-making, which overtly uses the language of film, such as editing,
shot composition, camera movement, set design, etc., so as to emphasize
graphical (as opposed to deistic) qualities of the image. In the film
Top Hat, one can see many traits of formalism such as the following. As
the film begins, that camera shoots Jerry Travers in the apartment
room, dancing, and singing. The camera moves along so that it follows
every step Jerry performs. There was also a scene where the camera
shoots Dale Tremont in the horse carriage while Jerry drives it, this
scene demonstrates flirting.
Another scene was when Dale and Jerry danced in the rain. The scene shows both of them dancing while it rain which gave it a happy mode even though it was raining, the camera also faced them in the center of the screen. A little after, Dale goes back to her room after dancing and the theater scene was demonstrated. They way they switched from the hotel to the theater was by the maid tapping on the vase and the instructor of the orchestra tapping on the stick. They switched space in the process of the tapping.
This is where Jerry dance scene comes in. While watching the film, I noticed that Jerry's dance scene was not cut. As the film moved along, the whole scene was moved into a new location which was in Venice now. I observed that the scene for Venice was unreal. While the setting is in Venice, they performed the dance "Cheek to Cheek". I observed that while they danced, they moved from the dance floor to a more secluded area. The camera mostly focused on Jerry and Dale while they danced away.
These are some of the traits of formalism that I observed while watching Top Hat. Some include the camera movement, the set design, if its real or unreal, and etc.
Director Mark Sandrich produces Top Hat, one of the 1930's essential
musicals of cinema, and arguably the best musical of its era. A
capturing story of loves personal and interpersonal conflicts, combined
with outstanding dancing and song. Top Hat immediately caught my
attention and never let it stray away. Sandrich excellently portrays
chemistry between main characters Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers. The
movie conveys realistic acting styles, and camera angles. Each scene
tends to end off with a joke and a punch line which I found quite
amusing. The story line is real regardless of the hysterical conflicts
involving the complete unawareness of Rogers character Dale towards
love interest Jerry played by Astaire.
The dramatic plot enables us to feed off the characters and their real feelings. I truly entered this world created by Sandrich, because of the set designs and costumes. This was a higher society of people presumably a fantasy for some lower class people in the 1930's. Sandrich style is present in the movie through many scenes for instance in one scene playing the song London Bridge to show the audience the characters were in London, as well as characters using accents.
Sandrich controls sound, sight and our imagination with this film. An interesting scene using the control of sound was Astaire's soft shoe dance. Character Jerry is dancing for Horace Hardwick in a hotel room but is too loud and ultimately decided to throw sand on the floor to muffle the noise. The use of lighting on stage contributes greatly to keep us aware if it is night or day. The special effects in the gazebo scene really put me in the rain to sing and dance with Jerry and Dale. Sandrichs conversion from scene to scene including the punch lines is coincidental. This can be seen from the clinking on a vase in the hotel and then switching to the motion of the baton hitting the music stand to conduct the orchestra.
This film is quintessential Fred and Ginger, from the initial verbal sparring and mistaken identities that keep them apart, to the wonderful tap and partner dances which reconcile their differences and establish their love and equality as a couple. Both quantity and quality are present throughout the movie. An all around great movie filled with energy and enthusiasm.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love musicals and Top Hat is one of my favourites here we have Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers once again delighting us all with their simple but captivating dance sequences and Thirties romance and charm. Some dance sequences in this that I love are the dance in the bandstand in the rain, The dancing cheek to cheek sequence,Where Fred goes to the gentleman's club to meet his friend and it's all quiet and he talks and causes a disturbance and when he sings Top Hat.All the Venice hotel sets are stunning and Gingers dress for the cheek to Cheek dance sequence is just gorgeous. Great acting and a nice story make this a classic to be cherished forever. Some of my favourite scenes are where Ginger comes upstairs to complain about the tap dancing and Fred sends her to sleep by Tap dancing softly on some sand he put on his floor a lovely scene.And the scene where he pretends to be a cabbie it is a funny scene well acted.A great film featuring two talented actors and dancers doing what they do best entertaining us as only they can.Well worth renting or buying.
The musical comedy Top Hat was directed by, Mark Sandrich. It was very
interesting and held the attention of its viewers'. The dance scenes in
this movie were connected to the emotions and moods of that character
and what was going on in the story. The viewer was able to tell that
the producers thought out the dance scenes and wanted them to be
parallel to their plot line. During one of the dance numbers Fred
dances with Ginger and sings to her about heaven. Ginger's dress and
the background both symbolized the idea of heaven. When the two were
done dancing they moved together and it seemed very peaceful and almost
"heavenly," very happy and content, they way they were acting.
Another scene that stood out was when the dancers were attached by rope. In this scene Fred and Ginger are at a very high-class restaurant. While they are eating Ginger was singing bout a man who was looking up in the sky at the stars. This foreshadowed the design the dancers would then create which was a star. The cameras viewed the dancers at the best angles that were appropriate at this time. Towards the end of the movie Fred had another scene that was interesting and equally entertaining. He danced in a way that made it look like he was shooting down the rest of the dancers behind him.
Top Hat's plot line was believable. Traveling around and performing was very common during this time period. This movie had very extravagant dancing and grabbed the attention of the viewers. It was enjoyable to watch and wasn't hard to follow along with. Overall, it was a well thought out and enjoyable funny romantic musical.
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