TITLE: "Top Hat"
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1935
DIRECTOR: Mark Sandrich
STARS: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
EDITOR: William Hamilton
AWARDS: Best Picture (Oscar, Nomination), Best Music, Original Song (Oscar, Nomination), Best Dance Direction (Oscar, Nomination), Best Art Direction (Oscar, Nomination)
RUN TIME: 101 min.
VIEWING FORMAT: DVD
When American dancer, Jerry Travers (Astaire), travels to London to star in a new show directed by his friend, Horace (Edward Horton), he falls for Dale Tremont (Rogers). Through a case of mistaken identity, Dale think Jerry is Horace, who is married to Dale's friend, and refuses his advances.
WHY THIS IS THE FILM OF THE WEEK:
Some films transcend the art form to become legacies in their own right. That is why "Top Hat" still stands out today. Cute dance numbers and fun songs keep this piece afloat for modern audiences.
This, the fourth of ten Astaire-Rogers pairings, was also their most financially successful. Working with Irving Berlin, with whom Astaire became life-long friends, proved magical for the duo. "Cheek to Cheek" is still considered a classic song, being referenced in all facets of pop culture, including last week's review, "The Green Mile."
The Venice scene, the final major set piece, was the largest ever constructed at the time. It showcased dozens of coordinated dancers, with the final scene being shot in only two takes. Astaire still stands out as an incredible dancer. This musical stands out due to its focus on the wonderful pairing of two strong dancers, as opposed to relying on singing.
This film received good reviews upon its release, with the only real negativity being focused towards the story. This writer tends to agree. Great dance numbers, and enjoyable musical scenes are interspersed throughout a somewhat predictable, and sub-par story. With that being said, any lover of the musical genre would greatly enjoy this film.
MY IMDb RATING: 7 out of 10