“In dealing with a girl or horse, one just let’s nature take its course.”
I love discovering old movies that I didn’t even realise were classics until I watched them. No one stumbles across Citizen Cane, or Vertigo, or The Wizard of Oz. Those movies are too famously classic to be seen by mistake or luck. I also love discovering why a certain director, actor, or combination of actors are considered Hollywood legends. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were such an iconic screen duo, I knew who they were before I knew who they were. By that, I mean Looney Tunes cartoons meant I recognised them even though I had no idea what those cartoons were spoofing. With Top Hat, I get the lot. A classic I’d never heard of, full of shots and dance numbers I know I recognise. And immediate proof of why I knew “Fred and Ginger” long before I actually knew who they were.
Flying to London to star in a West End musical, Jerry (Fred Astaire) stays with the producer of the musical, Edward Everett Horton as Horace. On his first night, Jerry is tap dancing around Horace’s apartment which leads to a complaint from the woman in the apartment below. That woman just so happens to be the gorgeous and charming Dale (Ginger Rogers). Jerry is infatuated and although initially annoyed by him, it doesn’t take too long for Dale to start to feel the same way. The only problem is, this is a screwball comedy, so we’re gonna need some mistaken identity to get in the way. Which arises early on as Dale thinks Jerry is in fact Horace. And since Dale is friends with Horace’s wife, she’s more than just a little conflicted about her undeniable attraction. (more…)