The Gay Divorcee (1934) Director: Mark Sandrich
The Gay Divorcee is a delightfully nostalgic film –a charming screwball comedy. It was the second of ten pairings for the legendary Hollywood musical duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Based on a stage musical of the same name, The Gay Divorcee was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
While on a trip to England, Mimi (Ginger Rogers) is attempting to obtain a divorce from her quirky Italian husband who has abandoned her. She consults an odd attorney who notes the difficulties of getting a divorce in England, so he suggests that she be caught in an adulterous affair so that detectives will grant a divorce. However, at the last minute, the attorney realizes that he has not notified detectives of the situation. Meanwhile another man named Guy (Astaire) has fallen in love Mimi, despite her initial lack of interest. In the end, Mimi is granted her divorce and she departs with Guy en route to get married.
The newly enacted Hay’s Code in Hollywood demanded the title for this film be changed from “The Gay Divorce” to “The Gay Divorcee”, as it was unthinkable that a divorce could possibly be a happy affair. Today, it is difficult to imagine Hollywood adhering to any kind of ‘code of conduct’ with concern for cultural mores, however The Gay Divorcee is great example of a 1930s comedy movie.