Top Hat (1935)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A glamorous and enthralling Depression-era diversion, Top Hat is nearly flawless, with acrobatics by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that make the hardest physical stunts seem light as air.

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Movie Info

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.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Comedy , Musical & Performing Arts , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Turner Home Entertainment

Cast

Fred Astaire
as Jerry Travers
Ginger Rogers
as Dale Tremont
Edward Everett Horton
as Horace Hardwick
Helen Broderick
as Madge Hardwick
Eric Blore
as Bates
Erik Rhodes
as Alberto Beddini
Edward Mudie
as Flower Salesman
Lucille Ball
as Flower Clerk
Edgar Norton
as Hotel Manager
Leonard Mudie
as Flower Salesman
Gino Corrado
as Hotel Manager
Peter Hobbes
as Call Boy
Frank Mills
as Lido Waiter
Tom Ricketts
as Thackeray Club Waiter
Dennis O'Keefe
as Elevator Passenger
Genaro Spagnoli
as Fisherman
Rita Rozelle
as Dancer
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Critic Reviews for Top Hat

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (8)

Finally, thanks more to Fred Astaire than any other single influence, the character of musicomedy in the cinema has now completely changed.

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This one can't miss and the reasons are three -- Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin's 11 songs and sufficient comedy between numbers to hold the film together.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

This 1935 musical finds Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at the top of their form.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The third Astaire-Rogers movie and one of the best.

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Because we are bound by gravity and the limitations of our bodies, because we live in a world where the news is often bad and the prospects disturbing, there is a need for another world somewhere, a world where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers live.

Full Review… | January 19, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The plot is involving, especially as it builds to its seemingly impossible-to-solve finale.

September 6, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Top Hat

"Heaven, I'm in heaven". The fourth film to pair up legendary duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, "Top Hat" features some legendary songs by Irving Berlin ("Top Hat, White Tie and Tails", and "Cheek to Cheek") and some very charming dance sequences by the two stars. When Horace and Madge (Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick) seek to set up their two friends on a date, the woman, Dale (Rogers) mistakes Jerry (Astaire) for Madge's husband, Horace. As Jerry woos Dale, she can only resist as a good friend should when said friend's husband is making plays for her. Dale's friend, Alberto Beddini is a fashion designer with eyes on his model, but she doesn't take him seriously. Then there's Bates, the butler of Horace who always refers to himself as a small group ("we will take your hat for you, sir") and lives to antagonize his boss. It's a light romantic comedy to be sure, but between all the nonsense there's some amazing dance numbers. There's something so familiar to the Astaire/Rogers asthetic that it may as well be ingrained in our collective subconscious. It is elegance and class personified, a depression-escaping fantasy to be sure, but it is beauty and art, both basic and complex. That these two still resonate so deeply within our hearts and minds, nearly eighty years later, is a testament to just how great they really were.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Probably a classic in it's genre, but this rating is purely based on my personal taste. The balance between movie and music is excellent, the chemistry between Fred and Ginger is great. But I just didn't feel it. The decor and the clothing were hideous, and the movie a little too theatrical for my taste. This is my first and probably my last dance movie.

Saskia D.
Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

This is a funny movie of mistaken identity, starring Fred and Ginger, and including some dance numbers as usual, but I liked the comedy best.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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