7.8/10
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108 user 72 critic

Top Hat (1935)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 6 September 1935 (USA)
An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Director:

Mark Sandrich

Writers:

Dwight Taylor (screen play), Allan Scott (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Jerry Travers
Ginger Rogers ... Dale Tremont
Edward Everett Horton ... Horace Hardwick
Erik Rhodes ... Alberto Beddini
Eric Blore ... Bates
Helen Broderick ... Madge Hardwick
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See them dance the sensational Piccolino! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

6 September 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The World by the Tail See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$609,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,884,760

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,980,360
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) (re-edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Early drafts of the script called for several additional Irving Berlin songs to be included, but they ultimately never made it into the film. These songs include "Wild About You," "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan," and "You're The Cause." See more »

Goofs

When Jerry is dancing, it appears that the main room in Horace's Suite is directly over the bedroom of the downstairs suite of Dale. Most hotels are built to an identical pattern on each floor. It is more economical that way. So for the dancing to wake Dale, Jerry should be dancing in one of the bedrooms, especially as his dancing appears to dislodge a ceiling tile in Dale's Suite. See more »

Quotes

Horace Hardwick: You know how wives are.
Jerry Travers: No I don't. How are they?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The English Patient (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

No Strings (I'm Fancy Free)
(1935) (uncredited)
Words and Music by Irving Berlin
Song and Dance performed by Fred Astaire
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Isn't this a lovely day to be caught in the rain?"
6 November 2007 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

'Top Hat' is a classic 1930s dance musical. The film positively reeks with class, and the winning partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is impossible to overlook. The two stars had performed together three times previously {Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcée (1934), Roberta (1935)} and would later do so on a total of ten occasions. As of this moment, I've only seen one of these films, but if 'Top Hat' is anything to go by, I have a lot of great titles to track down. It's rather peculiar that until recently I would actively avoid anything that features characters suddenly bursting into song for no particular reason, but classics such as this one and 'Singin' in the Rain' are gradually overcoming my aversion towards the musical genre. Mark Sandrich, who would direct five of the dancing team's outings, presents the audience with a glittering world of wealth, class and elegance, helped along by the potent chemistry of the two leads and a memorable selection of musical numbers written by Irving Berlin.

The storyline in 'Top Hat' is relatively basic, a lightweight screwball comedy with an assortment of misunderstandings and mistaken identities, but it's very entertaining. Of course, some of the plotpoints are rather contrived and require a bit of suspension of disbelief, but try and find me somebody who gives a damn. Jerry Travers (Astaire) is an American Broadway dancer making his London debut for producer Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). Following an uncontrollable late-night urge to start tappin' in his hotel room, Jerry comes to meet Dale Tremont (Rogers), who is initially repulsed by him but is later won over by Astaire's boyish enthusiasm and charm, not to mention some well-executed dance moves. However, an assortment of unlikely scenarios leads Dale to believe that Jerry is the husband of her good friend Marge (Helen Broderick), and his perceived infidelity leads her to seek somebody else's hand in marriage, namely the pompous Italian dress designer Alberto Beddini (Erik Rhodes).

Of course, the story is entertaining to watch, but the film's main assets are its remarkable dance numbers. As opposed to many other musicals, the sequences in 'Top Hat' have a certain intimacy about them. There is no quick editing or unusual shooting angles, but instead the camera is settled at enough of a distance for us to fully see both performers, and then it just sits back and allows the two stars to do what they do so well. Additionally, because each of the songs is integrated almost perfectly into the plot {except for "The Piccolino," which seemed a bit out-of-place}, the musical interludes complement the storyline, and vice versa. Choosing a favourite song would be next to impossible, so I'll just declare that "No Strings," "Isn't This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)" and "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" are all massively enjoyable to watch. The film's most famous number, "Cheek to Cheek," has since become one of American cinema's most beloved musical scenes, and subsequent directors have regularly employed it to add emotional resonance to their own works {see Woody Allen's 'The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)' and Frank Darabont's 'The Green Mile (1999)'}.


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