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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make them like this any more!
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',...
Published on 4 Jun. 2003 by MFL

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top Hat DVD
POOR QUALITY SOUND AND PICTURE. Enjoyed this Movie many years ago unfortunately quality of sound is very poor which detracts overall enjoyment.
Published 24 months ago by Joe


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make them like this any more!, 4 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Top Hat [VHS] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophistication and gaiety in the Depression made us feel better. Might be time to watch this one again, 30 Sept. 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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...

"No Strings" introduces us to Jerry in one of those wonderful all white art deco hotel suites where sophisticated people hang out. He tells us in song just the kind of free-spirited guy he is..."no strings and no connections, no ties to my affections..." and then moves into a fast and complicated tap dance all over the room. Just watch how Astaire perfectly picks out a counter rhythm with hand slaps against a shelf while he taps.

"Isn't This a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain" is a total charmer. In a gazebo, Jerry tries to woo Dale. After singing the song, he does a few steps and she, hands in her pockets in her riding breeches, surprises him by taking him on. A little challenge dance starts...and then we're off into one of those great wooing dances that only Astaire could create. The longer they dance the more we see how taken with each other they're becoming. They move from an easy-going beginning into a mutual and happy recognition that something serious may be happening. Then the rain and the thunder start and we're off again. When the dance is over we all know something seriously happy really has taken place. I think this number also is a fine example of how Berlin could craft a great song where the lyrics are so conversational it's too easy to overlook the skill he had in placing them into the music.

Isn't this a lovely day to be caught in the rain?
You were going on your way,
Now you've got to remain.
Just as you were going,
Leaving me all at sea,
The clouds broke, they broke,
And oh what a break for me.
I can see the sun up high,
Though we're caught in a storm.
I can see where you and I could be cozy and warm.
Let the rain pitter patter,
But it really doesn't matter
If the skies are grey.
Long as I can be with you,
It's a lovely day

"Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" is a classic Astaire stage number, a marvelous song impeccably delivered. Watch how he gives his head a little shake of sheer joi de vivre as he gives us that inimitable Astaire walk. Then it's on to all those 20 chorus boys in tuxes being mowed down by Astaire and his cane. The dance shifts from light to dark to light again. And watch how Astaire slows down the dancing and, unexpectedly, strikes several poses in silhouette. Great stuff.

"Cheek to Cheek" is simply, in my opinion, one of the finest love sequences set on film. Astaire sings the song, then the two of them launch into one of the great dance duets where the song, the dancers and the choreography come as close to romantic perfection as you're likely to see. Even the feathers on Rogers' gown cooperate.

"The Piccolino" is the big production closer, an attempt to match the craze the Carioca, in Flying Down to Rio, set off. For sheer Hollywood sound stage spectacle -- a Berlin hit song, at least 30 dancing couples, a singing chorus, gondolas on canals, a dish of veal that rhymes with piccolino, and everyone in gowns and tuxes -- it's hard to beat.

The Top Hat DVD looks first rate. There are several extras, including a commentary by Ava Astaire McKenzie, Astaire's daughter, and Larry Billman, identified as a film historian. Fans of Astaire will find invaluable Arlene Croce's The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book and John Mueller's Astaire Dancing: The Musical Films.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?", 6 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Top Hat [VHS] (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. Both he and Dale get caught in a storm and find shelter under a gazebo, where the couple share one of their finest and most romantic moments ever, to Irving Berlin's "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?" Later in the story, they will get to dance "Cheek to Cheek."
Another only in the movies mix-up causes Dale to think Jerry is Madge's husband, Horace, bringing about a confused, and twice slapped, Jerry. Horace, of course, has never seen Dale before, and sends his crazy little manservant Bates to follow her around Italy once they arrive, thinking she is out to trap his pal Jerry. Dale tells her friend Madge about the incident, of course, and more fun follows as Dale tries hard not to fall for Jerry, who she thinks is her best friend's husband.
Not to be forgotten in this merry mess is Erik Rhodes, as fashion desiner Alberto Beddini, using Dale as a model for his creations. Dejected at the situation, Dale will marry Beddini, causing no end of frustration and hilarity as Jerry has figured out by this time what is going on. Madge hasn't, and gives Horace a black eye! Can Jerry get Dale to unload her new husband Beddini once everything is cleared up and she is free to love him? Will he even need to? Don't forget, the wildly eccentric Bates, who refers to himself as "we" has been shadowing Dale all over Italy!
The glossy RKO sets match the elegance and beauty of Irving Berlin's songs, giving the public another big dose of what it needed as the country recovered from the great depression, which wasn't so great at all. You don't have to wear white tie and tails while watching this marvelous film, but you'll almost wish you were, so you could be up there with Fred and Ginger and enjoy a style of romance that shone brightly, but passed ever too briefly in American film.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic dancing, 12 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven, I'm in heaven, let Fred and Ginger take you there as well., 12 Feb. 2014
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (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. Mussolini and his Italian countrymen may have been offended by Erik Rhodes comedy portrayal of Alberto Beddini, and Ginger's self styled gorgeous Ostrich feathered dress may have briefly caused a ripple in Fred and Ginger's working relationship (the feathers caused Fred no end of problems during the magnificent "Cheek To Cheek" sequence), but it all came good in the end with Top Hat taking over $3 million in takings and becoming RKO's biggest earner of the decade.

Much like how the film can lift you, that is just as priceless. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Strictly Come Dancing"? Try The Real Deal Instead., 12 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (DVD)
"Top Hat" is nearly eighty years old, but its magical charm remains ageless, and it stands as the quintessential Astaire and Rogers picture.
RKO really threw in the kitchen sink with this one; fabulous Irving Berlin score, funny (if slightly daft) script, dazzling choreography, magnificently surreal sets, a great supporting cast led by Edward Everett Horton, and of course, the singing and dancing of one of the silver screen's greatest partnerships, the legendary Fred and Ginger.
"Strictly Come Dancing"? Do me a favour. This is the personification of style and elegance. This is the REAL deal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Silliness Squared but Who Cares, 6 Sept. 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (DVD)
TOP HAT, RKO-Radio Pictures, 1936, is fourth in the canon of ten Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers films. It's as silly as any of them; it opens on an argument about whether a square tie must be worn with evening dress, and floats along by pushing a wafer-thin mistaken identity plot further than you might imagine. However, it did get four Oscar nominations, so turn off the uber-critic, and enjoy.

The story, written by the unaccredited Sandor Farago, Aladar Laszlo, and Karoly Noti, and credited to Astaire's frequent collaborators/writers, Allan Scott and Dwight Taylor, is, in many ways, a remake of the same people's 1934 Gay Divorcee. But it's got its own wit and charm. Pandro S. Berman produced, as he generally did, with an open purse for this team's efforts. Mark Sandrich directed: cinematography was by David Abel. Hermes Pan had a hand in the choreography, as usual; Bernard Newman designed Rogers's elegant evening wear. Art direction was by Van Nest Polglase, who gave us glorious art deco sets, glistening with white. London itself, its hotels and clubs, has never looked so glamorous; Venice and its hotel are of a fantastical beauty, though I don't know about those swimmers in the canals....

The film's leads, Astaire as Jerry Travers, dancing star, and Rogers as Dale Tremont, model, are given strong support by the usual suspects. Edward Everett Horton, Here Comes Mr Jordan , plays Horace Hardwick, Jerry's impresario/rich best friend. Eric Blore, Winter Wonderland , as his valet Bates. Helen Broderick, Then She Found Me, is Madge Hardwick, Horace's wife -- and why must she always be called Madge or Marge? Erik Rhodes, Xena - Warrior Princess: Complete Series 1 , is Albert Beddini, Dale's employer/dress designer, who will be her usual disappointed swarthy suitor: he never gets the girl. A young Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy: Complete Series , has a tiny part.

Famed American composer Irving Berlin contributed both words and music. "I'm Fancy Free" was a light-hearted romp for a solo Astaire; it starts the action rolling. The unforgettable duet, "Isn't It A Lovely Day," was sung and danced by both stars. "Top Hat and Tails," is one of Astaire's signature solos: he's backed by a line of chorus boys. "Cheek to Cheek" is a memorable melodic duet. "The Piccolino," Roger's somewhat shaky vocal solo, to me, does not rise to the same sublime heights as the very similar "Continental," from the two years earlier GAY DIVORCEE. But make no mistake, Astaire was a lucky man. He and Berlin were old friends from their scuffling Tin Pan Alley/vaudeville days, and Berlin knew just how to write for the hoofer. Songs are comfortably in his range, and allow him to talk/sing them in his inimitable style.

And oh, the dancing. Nobody's ever done it better. In addition, Astaire and Rogers could act and dance at the same time. Mind you, Astaire's very walk is one of extraordinary athleticism and grace: he's never quite not dancing. But, to adapt one of Berlin's great lines, "Heaven, I'm in Heaven, when they're out together dancing cheek to cheek." So, enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars RKO pride, 3 Oct. 2013
By 
Eric Mascarin Perigault (Panamá) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This 1935 film is third of Fred and Ginger. Here they are in good shape and you can tell that this really come into to stardom. Edward Everett Horton is the best companyto Fred. Everything here is good, the scenery, choreography, musical arrangements, and of course, dancing. RKO spent thousands of dollars on hiring the best composers of the time, in this case to Irving Berlin. Of the four songs performed here four became successes the Great American Songbook. Fred, not being a singer, introduced more songs in the Great American Songbook than any other singer like Crosby or Como or Sinatra. And he did in this series of films with Ginger at RKO.The film is superbly restored.

Esta película de 1935 es la tercera de Fred y Ginger. Aquí si están en plena forma y se puede decir que con esta realmente entran en el estrellato. Edward Everett Horton es el que mejor compañia hace a Fred. Todo aquí está bien, los escenarios, la coreografía, los arreglos musicales y, por supuesto, el baile. RKO gastó miles de dólares en contratar a los mejores compositores del momento, en este caso a Irving Berlin. De las cuatro canciones interpretadas aquí las cuatro se convirtieron en exitos del Great American Songbook. Fred, sin ser cantante, introdujo mas canciones en el Great American Songbook que ningun otro cantante como Crosby o Como o Sinatra. Y lo hizo en esta serie de peliculas con Ginger en RKO. La película está excelentemente restaurada.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Hat - great - !, 7 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (DVD)
Most enjoyable - it has aged well!
A timeless film of great quality.

I have just seen Top Hat the brand new musical
and it was that which made me want to see the original!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Isn't This a Lovely Day, 17 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Top Hat [DVD] [1935] (DVD)
Days after seeing the movie I still find myself humming:

Isn't This a Lovely Day
To be caught in the rain?

So tense, you can perceive the attraction between them, Adam and Dale, yet in their dancing they touch each other so scarcely. Cheek to cheek, once in a while...
Horace, Jeeves err. Bates, Madge... No words that can be spoken.

It's a masterpiece!
Made me a lovely, lovely day!
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Top Hat [DVD] [1935]
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