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Top Hat [VHS]


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Product details

  • Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes, Eric Blore
  • Directors: Mark Sandrich
  • Writers: Aladar Laszlo, Allan Scott, Ben Holmes, Dwight Taylor, Károly Nóti
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 4front
  • VHS Release Date: 13 Jan. 1997
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R6C8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,254 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In 1957, Benny (Minnie Driver) and Eve (Geraldine O'Rawe) set off from their hometown to attend college in Dublin. There they meet Nan (Saffron Burrows), who introduces them to Jack (Chris O'Donnell), the college heart-throb rugby star. Jack and Benny begin a passionate relationship, but an impulsive decision by Nan eventually changes the course of the relationship for good.

From Amazon.co.uk

Even the best Fred and Ginger musicals are merely lavish excuses for some of the most elegant dancing ever put on screen, and Top Hat is no exception. The story is a silly but timeless tale of mistaken identity that compounds itself to extremes. Fred Astaire is the famous American hoofer Jerry Travers, in London preparing for a new show with his befuddled producer Horace Hardwick (the always entertaining Edward Everett Horton) when he falls for Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers), a lovely, wisecracking American girl as light on her feet as Jerry. Dale believes Jerry to be Horace, the husband of her best friend Madge (Helen Broderick) and rebuffs his advances by marrying her dressmaker Alberto (Erik Rhodes), but in the best tradition of musical comedy, true love finds its own way. Practically the entire cast of the 1934 hit The Gay Divorcee reunites for this frothy confection, along with director Mark Sandrich, designer Van Nest Polglase, and choreographer Hermes Pan. Irving Berlin provides a tuneful score, including "Cheek to Cheek", which provides a classic duet for Astaire and Rogers, and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails", which remains one of Astaire's finest solo numbers. Polglase outdoes himself with sets both elegant and outrageous and Hermes Pan's choreography is as smooth as ever, but ultimately it is the grace and chemistry of the leads that makes Top Hat top entertainment. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By MFL VINE VOICE on 4 Jun. 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Easily the greatest of the Astaire-Rogers musicals, 'Top Hat' is the perfect blend of light comedy and dancing genius. It boasts the greatest score that Irving Berlin ever wrote, featuring the romantic 'Cheek to Cheek', 'The Piccolino' and the title song, 'Top Hat, White Tie and Tails.' A particular favourite of mine is 'Isn't it a lovely day to be caught in the rain', which gives Ginger the unusual luxury of wearing flat shoes in a dance with Fred. Even the story is remotely tolerable, with an amusing supporting performance by Edward Everett Horton. An absolute must for musicals and dancing fans alike.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2008
Format: DVD
With the nation in the midst of economic ruin, who were better at lifting our spirits and making us smile? Why, Fred and Ginger, of course. I've got a feeling we'd better start watching their old movies again.

Is Top Hat better than Swing Time? People have been staking out their positions for years. Me, I think both represent the height of the Astaire-Rogers magic, all wrapped up in some of the greatest songs ever written for Hollywood movies and with incomparable choreography and dancing. So I just flip a coin to decide...but I make sure I always use the coin with a head on each side.

The story in Top Hat is inconsequential. It's all about Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) an American dancing star in London who meets Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers), the girl who charms him. It's love at first sight for Jerry, but not for Dale. There are misunderstandings, reconciliation, comedy relief and...well, who cares? The point is that in Top Hat both Astaire and Rogers have classic Astaire and Rogers characters to play, he classy and without a major worry in the world, she down to earth and a little hard to get. The plot is light, sophisticated and moves quickly. The comedy relief, provided by Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes and Helen Broderick, often is genuinely amusing ("We are Bates!") ("I will never allow women to wear my dresses again!") and doesn't become tiresome. The songs by Irving Berlin are among the best he ever wrote, and are so spotted within the movie that it seems we keep moving from exhilaration to exhilaration. That said, the point of an Astaire-Rogers film is the dancing, and then the way things happen through the dances and the songs...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "starlighthotel" on 6 Sept. 2005
Format: VHS Tape
A merry Dwight Taylor story, this time adapted as a screenplay by Taylor himself and Allan Scott, gave Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire another chance to shine in this elegantly crafted Pandro S. Berman production, directed by Mark Sandrich. Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and some truly lovely gowns created for Ginger by Bernard Newman, make this Fred and Ginger outing as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the ears. Their's was a style and grace that passed only once this way, and we shall never see anything like it again as long as our planet keeps spinning.
The three wonderful character actors from "The Gay Divorcee," Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes, are joined this time around by Helen Broderick, giving a deft touch to this fun and zany story which was as good an excuse as any for Fred and Ginger to sing and dance the Irving Berlin tunes. It is Eric Blore this time who steals every scene he's in as Horton's quite odd little manservant, Bates. Just as in Deanna Durbin's "Lady on a Train," Edward Everett Horton will somehow manage to get a black eye!
Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) is meeting Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) at the stuffy Thackery Club to talk about starring in his new show. Horace's wife, Madge (Helen Broderick), has plans to set up the single Jerry with her girlfriend Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers). The meeting will be in Italy, but by chance, his dancing wakes up the prety girl below Hardwick's suite, who just happens to be Dale. From the moment she comes to complain about his dance affliction, Jerry is smitten, pouring sand on the floor to dance her lightly to sleep.
Jerry pursues her, not knowing at first who she is. His posing as a horsedrawn cab driver with an accent is one of the amusing scenes in his pursuit of his dream girl.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Aug. 2005
Format: DVD
This film does not include a particularly brilliant storyline; it is about a mix up that results in Ginger Rogers believing that Fred Astaire is married, when is he actually single. However, this film includes some of the best dance routines ever performed, including No Strings (I'm Fancy Free) and , of course, Top Hat. This is the first film with Fred and Ginger that I have seen, and I can definitely say that I would like to see some more!
An inspiration to dancers today!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD
While demonstrating his new dance sequences to producer Horace Hardwick, showman Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) severely annoys the resting Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) in the room below. After Dale goes up to complain about the noise, both Dale and Jerry are very attracted to each other, but due to a case of mistaken identity the path of true love is far from being smooth.

Top Hat is the first film from acclaimed duo Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers that was specifically written for them. Working around the twin source material of The Gay Divorcée and The Girl Who Dared, the screenplay sparkles amidst the frothy nature of the plot. Standard (but lovely) fare here, the kind that would define all of the duo's films, silly plot, boy meets girl and it's not straight forward, and of course a simmering sexual undercurrent that comes with the chase between the sexes.

Songs come courtesy of the magnificent Irving Berlin (aided by Max Steiner), belting show stoppers like "Cheek to Cheek", "Isn't It A Lovely Day" and the sublime solo cane Astaire showcase that is "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails". Gorgeous sets enhance the piece, such as an art deco Venice arrangement, but ultimately it's the charm and artistry of the leading pair that shines the brightest. Coming as it did during the Depression era, Top Hat, and the even better Swing Time a year later, really were (and still are) tonics for the people, I find it almost impossible to not lose myself in these types of pictures, and the audiences of the 30s clearly felt the same as me.
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