7.6/10
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The Gay Divorcee (1934)

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director:

Mark Sandrich

Writers:

Dwight Taylor (from the book by), Kenneth S. Webb (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:
Fred Astaire ... Guy Holden
Ginger Rogers ... Mimi Glossop
Alice Brady ... Aunt Hortense
Edward Everett Horton ... Egbert 'Pinky' Fitzgerald
Erik Rhodes ... Rodolfo Tonetti
Eric Blore ... The Waiter
Lillian Miles Lillian Miles ... Singer - Continental Number
Charles Coleman ... Guy's Valet
William Austin ... Cyril Glossop
Betty Grable ... 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:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

12 October 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Continental See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$520,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Helen Broderick was asked to play the role of Hortense but was unavailable. 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

Guy Holden: [after crashing into Mimi's car] Hello, hello! I've been looking for you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the version of The Gay Divorcee released in Brazil in the 1930s, the Brazilian actor Raul Roulien sang in the musical number "The Continental". See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Sensational
29 January 2004 | by rick_7See all my reviews

Following an apparently accidental teaming in 1933's Flying Down to Rio (a fun Dolores Del Rio vehicle), Fred and Ginger got their first starring feature a year later. It was based on J. Hartley Manners' play 'The Gay Divorce'. The Hays Office insisted on shoving an 'e' on the end, for how could a divorce be so trifling as to be gay? Some UK prints still run with the original title. RKO assembled a sparkling ensemble cast of top-flight farceurs, bringing together (in ascending order of sublimity) Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton and Erik Rhodes ("Are you a union man?"). Mark Sandrich directs the thing with a maximum of fuss and style. Hermes Pan helped Fred choreograph the numbers.

The plot is suitably - and delightfully - trivial. Musical star Guy Holden (Fred) happens upon a girl (Ginger), falls desperately in love with her, then spends the rest of the picture trying to free himself from marvellously silly plot threads and Everett Horton's exquisite quadruple-takes.

Keeping just one song from Cole Porter's original score, the timeless 'Night and Day', and adding only four others, The Gay Divorcée is more a comedy with songs than it is a musical comedy. But what comedy - and what songs! 'Looking For a Needle in a Haystack' is a masterpiece of economy: Fred a whirlwind of frustrated, lovestruck energy as he spins around his hotel room lamenting his missing love in peerless style. "Men don't pine," he memorably concludes, "Women pine. Men ... suffer." Everett Horton's rare excursion into song-and-dance territory is a breath of hysterical, liberating ludicrousness, as he knocks knees with a young Betty Grable. 'Don't Let It Bother You', performed by a chorus of dancing girls (and dolls), then spectacularly reprised by a tapping Astaire, is another treat. 'The Continental', the film's vast production number is peculiarly edited but sporadically fine and offers a fitting climax.

It's exceptional fluff, the sort of heady, heightened escapism that you don't come close to very often. An extravagantly mounted, joyous comedy played to perfection by two stars at their irresistible peak. Unmissable.


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