The Gay Divorcee (1934) Director: Mark Sandrich
The Gay Divorcee is a delightfully nostalgic film. It was the second of ten pairings for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Based on a musical of the same name, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The film takes place on a trip to England. Mimi (Ginger Rogers) is trying 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 proposes that she be caught in an adulterous affair so that detectives will grant a divorce. However, at the last minute, the attorney realizes he has not notified detectives of the situation. Another man, Guy (Astaire), has fallen in love Mimi, despite her initial lack of interest. In the end, Mimi is granted her divorce and she and Guy depart together in order 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 be a happy affair. Today, it is difficult to imagine Hollywood adhering to any kind of ‘code of conduct’ with concern for cultural mores.