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 in movies. It was 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 get 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 to get married.
The newly enacted Hay’s Code in Hollywood demanded the title 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 healthy values.
The Gay Divorcee is a fun film. It paved for the way for the couple’s string of later hits.