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Top Hat

Top Hat

5.0 10
Director: Mark Sandrich

Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton

One of the best of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, Top Hat centers on a typical mistaken-identity plot, with wealthy Dale Tremont (Rogers), on holiday in London and Venice, assuming that American entertainer Jerry Travers (Astaire) is the husband of her friend Madge (Helen Broderick) -- who's actually the wife of Jerry's business manager Horace


One of the best of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, Top Hat centers on a typical mistaken-identity plot, with wealthy Dale Tremont (Rogers), on holiday in London and Venice, assuming that American entertainer Jerry Travers (Astaire) is the husband of her friend Madge (Helen Broderick) -- who's actually the wife of Jerry's business manager Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). Complicating matters is Dale's jealous suitor Beddini (Erik Rhodes), whose motto is "For the woman the kiss -- for the man the sword." Beddini is disposed of by some last-minute chicanery on the part of Jerry's faithful valet Bates (Eric Blore), paving the way for the happy ending everyone knew was coming from the opening scene. The Irving Berlin score includes "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn't it a Lovely Day?," and the jaunty title song. The charisma of the stars, the chemistry of the supporting players, the white-telephone art direction of Van Nest Polglaise, the superlative choreography by Astaire and Hermes Pan, and the effervescent direction of Mark Sandrich all combine to make Top Hat a winner. Originally released at 101 minutes, the film was for many years available only in its 93-minute reissue form; it has since been restored archivally to 99 minutes.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Certainly the best of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicles (and one of the finest movie musicals to boot), Top Hat is a delicious confection of song and dance, sweetened with sophisticated screwball comedy. It was the perfect pick-me-up for 1935's Depression-weary audiences, and viewers will find it just as delectable more than 65 years later. Astaire plays a vacationing stage star who, immediately smitten by Rogers, decides to follow her to Venice. When Ginger mistakes Fred for the husband of her tart-tongued friend Helen Broderick, an unregenerate matchmaker, she is outraged by his advances, believing him to be already married. (Actually, prissy Edward Everett Horton is Broderick's husband, and the misunderstanding is compounded because he's also financing Astaire's London show). Everything's straightened out at the end, but not before Astaire and Rogers have dazzled us with their interpretations of such classic Irving Berlin tunes as "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" and, of course, the unforgettable "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails." Their dancing duets are impeccably performed in elegant Art Deco surroundings, with witty dialogue and superb comic performances more than adequately compensating for the plot's airiness. Bright and bubbly, Top Hat hasn't lost an iota of its charm in the decades following its original release -- and lovers of Hollywood movie musicals urgently need to have it in their home libraries.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Top Hat is classy, Depression-era escapism, with great tunes, witty choreography, and the charismatic screen chemistry of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is an excellent example of the fine work of director Mark Sandrich, who today is less remembered than the musical stars who had some of their greatest successes in his films. The film's story, cast, and style are largely derivative of The Gay Divorcee, which also starred Astaire and Rogers and was directed by Sandrich a year earlier. The supporting casts are pretty much the same, although Top Hat has the distinction of adding Lucille Ball in a small role. RKO pulled together many of its best resources to produce the film, including songwriter Irving Berlin, dance director Hermes Pan, and art directors Carroll Clark and Van Nest Polglase. The result was film that proved popular with audiences and critics alike. Top Hat was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Turner Home Ent
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by Fred Astaire's daughter Ava Astaire McKenzie and film historian Larry Billman; New featurette on top: Inside the success of Top Hat; Comedy short "Watch the Birdie" with Bob Hope; Classic cartoon "Page Miss Glory"; Theatrical trailer; English, French, and Spanish subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Jerry Travers
Ginger Rogers Dale Tremont
Edward Everett Horton Horace Hardwick
Erik Rhodes Alberto Beddini
Helen Broderick Madge Hardwick
Eric Blore Bates
Lucille Ball Flower Clerk
Phyllis Coghlan Actor
Gino Corrado Hotel Manager
Tom Costello Actor
Charlie Hall Actor
Peter Hobbes Call Boy
Ben Holmes Actor
Frank Mills Lido Waiter
Leonard Mudie Flower Salesman
Edgar Norton Hotel Manager
Dennis O'Keefe Elevator Passenger
Tom Ricketts Thackeray Club Waiter
Nick Thompson Actor
John Impolito Actor
Genaro Spagnoli Actor
Rita Rozelle Actor

Technical Credits
Mark Sandrich Director
Dave Abel Cinematographer
Fred Astaire Choreography
Irving Berlin Songwriter
Pandro S. Berman Producer
Mel Burns Makeup
Carroll Clark Art Director
Willaim Hamilton Editor
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Newman Costumes/Costume Designer
Hermes Pan Choreography
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Allan Scott Screenwriter
Max Steiner Musical Direction/Supervision
Dwight Taylor Screenwriter
Vernon Walker Cinematographer,Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [1:34]
2. Silence [3:36]
3. We Are Bates [2:44]
4. No Strings [3:29]
5. The Lady Below [3:09]
6. Her Sandman [1:43]
7. In the Driver's Seat [4:27]
8. Cloudburst [2:31]
9. Isn't This a Lovely Day [4:34]
10. All Business With Beddini [2:34]
11. Slap in the Face [3:40]
12. Scandalous [4:06]
13. Get Me a Plane [2:44]
14. Top Hat, White Tie and Tails [4:51]
15. Good for Horace! [4:05]
16. Displeased to Meet You [3:54]
17. Remember When [6:07]
18. Seeing Something in Horace [1:56]
19. Matchmaker Madge [1:44]
20. Cheek to Cheek [5:27]
21. Love Slap [1:28]
22. Steak Not Well Done [3:12]
23. Just Married [5:16]
24. Bridal Suite Bridling [4:12]
25. Not Before a Lady [3:17]
26. Crazie, Signore [2:26]
27. The Piccolino [6:52]
28. Just Unmarried [3:48]


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Top Hat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
RKL More than 1 year ago
Who can forget the sublime Cheek to Cheek? Or Top Hat, White Tie and Tails? Not you, after you've seen this! Throw in Edward Everett Horton in all his delightful befuddlement, and you can't love. They don't call this one a classic for nothin'.
CatNY More than 1 year ago
LOve the oldies. LOve the musicals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a case of mistaken identity. Through a few comedic situations, the whole affair is sorted out. The invaluable manservant Bates, and Berdini provide many memorable lines. It's marvelous! The dance scenes are delightful, and the costumes are fabulous. Definitely should be put on DVD, along with all Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' movies
Guest More than 1 year ago
Considered by many as the best of the Astaire-Rogers films, ''Top Hat'' is one of my favorites. It contains some of the dancing team's best numbers, such as ''Isn't It a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)'' and ''Cheek to Cheek.'' In the latter, Ginger wears a fabulous ice-blue gown, the shoulders and skirt of which are completely covered with ostrich feathers. These feathers proved to be a problem during rehearsal, as they came flying out with every turn. Seamstresses worked all night on it to ensure the dress would stay intact during filming. The movie itself is very enjoyable. Another case of mistaken identities, but very well done with wonderful performances by Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, and Eric Blore. Also, keep your eyes out for a cameo appearance by Lucille Ball.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why the heck isn't this on DVD!?!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this a while back, but no one could ever make a better musical like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!! This is a must see, the best of all the movies they made together ( all ten! )