Top Hat (1935) Film Review A+

Top Hat
DIRECTOR: Mark Sandrich
BOTTOM LINE: The Best of the Astaire-Rogers movies.
Of the nine films that Astaire and Rogers made at RKO Pictures in the thirties, “Top Hat” is their best. It’s also their most indubitably gay, with Eric Blore (who was straight in real life) doing his butler with a superior attitude and Edward Everett Horton, whose own special variation on the double take (an actor’s reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction) had yet to become tiresome. The songs by Irving Berlin are some of his best, and the dance to Cheek to Cheek is Astaire-Rogers at their absolute peak. Gay actor Erik Rhodes, who had also appeared in “The Gay Divorcee” the previous year, makes an indelible impression as Alberto Beddini, a dandified Italian fashion designer with a penchant for malapropisms. Rhodes spent most of his life on Broadway, the rest of his Hollywood output being mostly forgettable. The film’s production design (by Carroll Clark, with Van Nest Polglase being the head of the design department) marked the peak of the Art Deco movement in Hollywood.

  • Cinematography: David Abel.
  • Screenplay: Allan Scott and Dwight Taylor
  • Production Design: Carroll Clark and Van Nest Polglase
  • Songs: Irving Berlin.
  • Choreography by Fred Astaire and Hermes Pan

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

  • No Strings (I’m Fancy-Free)
  • Isn’t This a Lovely Day (to be Caught in the Rain)
  • Top Hat, White Tie and Tails
  • Cheek to Cheek
  • The Piccolino

  • Flying Down to Rio (1933)
  • The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Roberta (1935)
  • Top Hat (1935)
  • Follow the Fleet (1936)
  • Swing Time (1936)
  • Shall We Dance (1937)
  • Carefree (1938)
  • The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

STREAMING: Amazon Prime and Apple TV+

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