Top Hat (1935)
Director: Mark Sandrich
1935, 99 minutes, Digital, NR
Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore
Distributor: Turner Home Entertainment
One of the best of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, Top Hat centers on a typical mistaken-identity plot, with wealthy Dale Tremont (Rogers), on holiday in London and Venice, assuming that American entertainer Jerry Travers (Astaire) is the husband of her friend Madge (Helen Broderick)—who’s actually the wife of Jerry’s business manager Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). Complicating matters is Dale’s jealous suitor Beddini (Erik Rhodes), whose motto is “For the woman the kiss — for the man the sword.” Beddini is disposed of by some last-minute chicanery on the part of Jerry’s faithful valet Bates (Eric Blore), paving the way for the happy ending everyone knew was coming from the opening scene.
The Irving Berlin score includes “Cheek to Cheek,” “Isn’t it a Lovely Day?,” and the jaunty title song. The charisma of the stars, the chemistry of the supporting players, the white-telephone art direction of Van Nest Polglaise, the superlative choreography by Astaire and Hermes Pan, and the effervescent direction of Mark Sandrich all combine to make Top Hat a winner.