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Top Hat (RKO 1935, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers)

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Top Hat has Astaire, Rogers, Irving Berlin, choreography by Hermes Pan and Astaire: all the elements that define the classic Astaire-Rogers picture and, therefore, the height of the ’30s musical.

When dancer Fred Astaire hits London for the debut of his new show, his tap practice in his agent’s (Edward Everett Horton) hotel room wakes his downstairs neighbor, ginger Rogers. With one look at her face, a smitten Astaire chases her all over London and even to Venice after she believes he’s really married to Horton’s wife.

Despite her marriage in a fury to an Italian designer, the lovers are reunited in a gondola at the end. The plot’s made meaningless, of course, by the elegance and bravura of the Deco sets, the perfectly integrated musical set pieces, and the justly famous pairing of Astaire and Rogers, including their renowned interpretation of ‘Cheek to Cheek.’

All 5 Berlin tunes, including ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Top Hat,’ made it to the top of the charts.

The Piccolino, the elaborate production number that is one of the highlights of Top Hat, allegedly required more than 125 hours of rehearsal.

Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Picture; Best Song (‘Take My Breath Away’).

production details
USA | RKO | 101 minutes | 1935

Director: Mark Sandrich
Script: Allan Scott, Aladar Laszlo, Sándor Faragó, Károly Nóti,

cast
Edward Everett Horton as Horace Hardwick
Lucille Ball as Flower Clerk
Fred Astaire as Jerry Travers
Ginger Rogers as Dale Tremont
Eric Blore as Bates
Helen Broderick as Madge Hardwick
Erik Rhodes as Alberto Beddini
Gino Corrado as Venice Hotel Manager
Dennis O’Keefe as Elevator Passenger