7.5/10
6,869
61 user 42 critic

The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 12 October 1934 (USA)
Trailer
1:17 | Trailer
A woman thinks a flirting man is the co-respondent her lawyer has hired to expedite her divorce.

Director:

Mark Sandrich

Writers:

Dwight Taylor (from the book by), Kenneth S. Webb (musical adaptation) (as Kenneth Webb) | 4 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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:

Musical Triumph Of Two Continents See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The jumpsuit that Betty Grable wears in the "Let's K-nock K-nees" dance number was a garment previously worn by Dolores del Rio in Flying Down to Rio (1933). See more »

Goofs

Egbert sits with Mimi and Hortense and places his hat on the table. When Mimi and Hortense leave the table and it cuts to a wide shot; the hat is no longer on the table nor in his hand. When it cuts to a close up of Egbert, it is even more obvious that the hat is not on the table or in his hand. See more »

Quotes

Mimi Glossop: Please don't ask me to stay.
Guy Holden: All right, I won't. Don't go!
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Roberta (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

The Continental
(1934)
Music and Lyrics by Con Conrad and Herb Magidson
Song performed by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Erik Rhodes, Lillian Miles
Dance performed by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, chorus
See more »

User Reviews

High point of Astaire and Rogers
22 January 2000 | by CalystaSee all my reviews

Fred and Ginger, two perfect partners, two of the best dancers in history. In 1934, the toast of RKO. What a great pair the studio that would become defunct in a matter of years had on their hands!

In 1933, the pair had proven themselves as second leads in "Flying Down to Rio", a musical heavily relying on special effects and little else. They stole the show, proven with "The Carioca", the erotically charged dance number which started an American craze of pressing foreheads and even got the Best Song Oscar nod over the supposed show stopping title song. Before, Ginger had "42nd Street" to her name, while Fred had the famous screen test analysis of "Can't sing. Can't act. Can dance a little."

"The Gay Divorcee" is the establishing musical of Astaire and Rogers. Silly, dated, slight, even stupid to a certain degree is the entire story. Without a doubt, high comedy and immense creativity make up for it. The mistaken identity plot was recycled for "Top Hat" the following year, but it hardly matters. It is littered entirely with hilarity! Writing was never the strongest point of these musicals anyway. The performances were not Oscar calibre but they were publicly loved, and it's obviously Astaire and Roger's singing, acting and most of all, dancing, that makes the movie what it is.

A top wealth of talent was assembled for the movie. Erik Rhodes is absolutely side splitting as the Italian guy Tonetti, wielding the fabulous line, "Your wife is safe with Tonetti, he prefers spaghetti!". Alice Brady is there as Aunt Hortense, but Edward Everett Horton is another stand out performer as the lawyer. His fumbling voice provides a character of clumsiness and two seem to go hand in hand. He was definitely one of the best supporting comedians of the 1930s and 1940s, in other Astaire and Rogers musicals, and movies like "Lost Horizon", "Holiday", "Here Comes Mr Jordan" and "Arsenic and Old Lace".

Only one song was retained for the filmic version of "The Gay Divorcee". The censors even crashed down on the stage's original title "The Gay Divorce". Fred performs a great rendition of the immortal Cole Porter song "Night and Day". "The Continental", the Best Song of 1934 is thrown there in the mix too. Other great numbers in there include "Looking for a needle in a haystack", "Don't Let it Bother You" and "Let's K-nock- K-nees". The latter is performed by a young Betty Grable. This is notable for the only time Edward Everett Horton sings and dances on screen. We can see from the results there's an obvious reason.

The stylish period of courtship and even set decoration and costumes evoke great memories of eras gone by. RKO hasn't helped preservation of these technical elements by throwing what always appears to be mediocre sets, but it doesn't matter anyway. The whole thing is irresistible, spectacular and unforgettable. This is one of the forgotten musicals of the time which has it all.

Rating: 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

12 October 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gay Divorcee See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$520,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,750
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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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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