Top Hat (1935) Director: Mark Sandrich
Top Hat is the most famous of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical screwball comedies. Screwball comedy was a particular type of film popular during the Great Depression until the 1940s in Hollywood, characterized by a strong and dominant female against a more effeminate man. In total, Rogers and Astaire made ten musical films together, nine with RKO, and one final film with MGM in 1949. Top Hat was their fourth film. They both are remembered as two of the greatest actors in Hollywood history.
In the film, Astaire plays Jerry Travers who comes to London as a dancer to star in an upcoming performance. While practicing a song and tap dance routine in his hotel room he awakens Dale Tremont below him. He quickly falls in love and trails her all over London, and even follows her to Venice. Through random coincidence, she mistakes him for another man, and slaps him in the face. In Italy, she develops a scheme with the man’s wife, but the plan unravels. In the end, they reconcile in a gondola in Venice and she agrees to a proposal of marriage.
The film is memorable for its Irving Berlin score, choreography, humor, and large, impressive sets.
Top Hat is a charming film filled with vintage Hollywood song-and-dance sequences. It was the highest grossing RKO film of the 1930s. Irving Berlin’s notable film score is the signature trademark of the film, along with the notable Art Deco backgrounds. For lovers of musicals, Top Hat is an essential film.