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William A. Seiter
Showman Jerry Travers is working for producer Horace Hardwick in London. Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horace's hotel, much to the annoyance of sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace. Written by
Top Hat is a terrific musical about mistaken identity that pushes the "joke" to the limit but never takes it self very seriously. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are perfect as actors, dancers, and pals in this engaging comedy with several great dance numbers.
Astaire does a great solo (with male chorus line) to Top Hat and teams with Rogers in The Piccolino, Isn't It a Lovely Day, and Cheek to Cheek. All excellent. During The Piccolino number they seem to be having so much fun it's contagious and it seems like the entire number is done in ONE TAKE! Co-starring are 4 great actors who all turn in splendid performances. Helen Broderick is Madge, the frustrated and wise-cracking wife. Edward Everett Horton is Horace, the henpecked but conniving husband. Eric Blore is the valet, and Erik Rhodes is Beddini. Each gets his/her turn in the spotlight. Broderick was the perfect "older" woman as sidekick, Horton and Blore are a great comedy team of scene stealers, and Rhodes has a ball fracturing English. Lucille Ball has a bit part as the florist's assistant.
Central of course are Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The Cheek to Cheek number is a classic and is fun to watch the feathers fly off Ginger's dress. My favorite is The Piccolino, especially when it breaks into a swing number and the dancers can really cut loose. Great fun.
One drawback is the UGLY set decorations that are in the same style no matter where they are. It's all that white-on-white stuff with hideous Greek decals and floral sprays everywhere. Even the scenes in Venice are all white right down to the gondolas. And just why are people swimming in the canals?
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