What do you get when add Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers onto the big screen? A spectacular dance musical that saved RKO from bankruptcy (along with King Kong of course). The hit musical Top Hat is about a dancer who falls for a model but believes him to be her friend’s husband, causing her to push him away.
Fred Astaire is just your average leading man of the 1930s who knew how to wow an audience whether it’s with his charming yet cocky personality or especially with his light-on-your feet dancing. He just makes it look so easy every time! His chemistry with Ginger Rogers is so cute to watch as he continues to follow and make advances towards her only to keep getting rejected. But you can tell she secretly likes it and is merely playing hard-to-get. That’s what I like about the dance number “Isn’t it a Lovely Day” because you can see a story forming through the movements. They’re stuck under the gazebo because of the storm, he wants to dance with her, she feels compelled to, they move in synch, and the thunder heightens up the choreography.
This is the fourth movie with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as an on-screen duo and definitely not the first where confusion and mistaken identity are the ingredients that make up the love entanglement. I feel like Fred Astaire should have gotten assistant director credits for this film considering he always made sure that the dance sequences were filmed with nothing less of perfection with no closeups of the feet moving, no reaction shots, no montage shots- the focus is solely on the dancing. Interestingly enough, Ginger Rogers was dying to wear the feathered dress that she’s wearing in the scene above but Astaire and director Mark Sandrich hated the dress. To prevent Rogers from leaving the set, they told her she could wear it but feathers were all over the place as they danced. If you look closely, you can see them on the floor! I absolutely recommend this film to help get you on your toes (ignore the pun)!
Watch the delightful dancing duo dance to your heart in Top Hat and comment what you think: