Favorite things about… Top Hat (1935)

Back by popular demand, it’s Favorite Things Friday here on TMP! The first Friday of each month, I’ll share my favorite things about one of my favorite films. For July, we celebrate a joyful musical-comedy full of miscommunication…

The favorite film:
Top Hat, a 1935 musical directed by Mark Sandrich

Top Hat 1935 Film Poster
(Image via IMDb)

The synopsis:
An American dancer meets a dressmaker’s model in a hotel and falls in love. His feelings aren’t immediately returned, but the model grows to like him… until she comes to believe that he is Horace Hardwick, a very married stage producer.

The cast:

  • Fred Astaire as the dancer, Jerry Travers
  • Ginger Rogers as the model, Dale Tremont
  • Edward Everett Horton as the real Horace Hardwick
  • Erik Rhodes as the designer, Alberto Beddini
  • Eric Blore as Bates
  • Helen Broderick as Madge Hardwick

Fun facts:

  • Fourth of ten films to co-star Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
  • Second highest-grossing film of 1935
  • Nominated for four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Song
  • Selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1990
  • The screenplay was written by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott, with music by Irving Berlin.
  • The New York Times‘ Andrew Sennwald wrote in his review: “Fred Astaire, the dancing master, and Miss Rogers, his ideal partner, bring all their joyous gifts to the new song and dance show […] Last year this column suggested that Miss Jessie Matthews would make a better partner for the debonair star than our own home girl. Please consider the matter dropped. Miss Rogers, improving magnificently from picture to picture, collaborates perfectly with Mr. Astaire in Top Hat and is entitled to keep the job for life.”
Top Hat 1935
(Image via MoMA)

Favorite things/quotes:

  • Fred and Ginger being introduced by their feet rather than their faces
  • Everyone in the club room being scandalized by the crinkling sound of Jerry’s newspaper
  • Edward Everett Horton!
  • You know it’s high society when people are falling out over their necktie preferences!
  • “You know Madge and her matchmaking proclivities.”
  • “I’m fancy-free, and free for anything fancy!”
  • Dale confronting the noisy-footed Jerry about his midnight dancing “affliction”
  • “Well, I’ll call the house detective and tell him to put HIS arms around you.”
  • “Peekaboo!”
  • “May I rescue you?”
    “No, thank you. I prefer being in distress.”
  • “Never again will I allow women to wear my dresses!”
  • That slap!
  • “I hate men. I hate you. I hate all men!”
  • “For the woman, the kiss! For the man, the sword!”
    “And what have you got for the children?”
  • Eric Blore!
  • Madge being proud of Horace for chasing/catching Dale
  • I love comedies of misunderstanding, and this is one of the greats, with its threads of romance and lies and mistaken identity.
  • “Heaven, I’m in heaven…”
  • Beddini describing himself as “rich” and “pretty” to convince Dale to marry him
  • Jerry dancing as ferociously as possible to ruin Dale’s wedding night
  • “Horace Hardwick, that interloper!”
  • Blore being the world’s worst boat captain
  • “And very cleverly, I became a clergyman!” Blore is such a delight.
  • That quick, adorable closing dance
Astaire and Rogers
(Image via Letterboxd)

5 thoughts on “Favorite things about… Top Hat (1935)

  1. I was not a fan of musicals (and to some degree, still am not) until I watched one starring Fred Astaire, and now I don’t mind watching any musical he’s in. And this was my first, and it got me hooked; I saw the ‘Heaven’ scene in a Woody Allen movie, and thought, I like this guy’s voice AND his dancing…I might have to check this out. Now I’ve seen a bunch, and I think my favorites are still this one and ‘Royal Wedding’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love musicals in general, but agree that his are the best of the best! I have next to no technical knowledge of dance, but he’s just endlessly captivating to watch. Glad to hear that you enjoy this one 🙂


    1. As usual, I can’t choose just one favorite, haha! I do want to re-watch the rest soon, though, and maybe try to formulate a ranking. Also, glad to hear you appreciate EEH as much as I do! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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