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The Gay Divorcee
The Gay Divorcee
Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes
Director: Mark Sandrich
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 47min

In one of their best loved, most charming song-and-dance comedies, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers demonstrate just how they became best known as America's greatest dance team. Includes the Academy Award(R) winning hit "The...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes
Director: Mark Sandrich
Creators: Dorothy Yost, Dwight Taylor, Edward Kaufman, George Marion Jr., J. Hartley Manners, Kenneth S. Webb, Robert Benchley
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Romantic Comedies, Musicals
Studio: Turner Home Ent
Format: DVD - Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/24/2006
Original Release Date: 10/12/1934
Theatrical Release Date: 10/12/1934
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Italian
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

The film that established the Astaire-Rogers legend
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 07/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE GAY DIVORCE had been perhaps the most important stage musical of Fred Astaire's Broadway career. Though out the 1920s, he had been the lesser half of the most famous dance team in American entertainment: Adele and Fred Astaire. Fred's sister, an enormously gifted comic dancer, had been the center of the act throughout their career, but when she retired to marry English royalty, Fred was placed in the position of needing to reinvent himself and salvage his career. Somewhat unexpectedly, Fred's enormous success in THE GAY DIVORCE established him not just as a comic dancer, but as a romantic one as well. An offer by Hollywood to come and remake the stage success as a film was accepted.Fred arrived in Hollywood, but his studio, RKO cast him in FLYING TO RIO before beginning THE GAY DIVORCE. Although he was fifth billed and the third billed male, his dance numbers with a contract dancer RKO had just obtained from Warner Brothers, Ginger Rogers, were the hit of the film. Against his wishes, RKO suggested casting Rogers in THE GAY DIVORCE because of their success as a team in FLYING TO RIO. That was what Fred was afraid of: a team. He had just managed to break free from being thought of as the lesser half of Adele and Fred, and he was hesitant about a new partner. But RKO won out and, as they say, history was made.THE GAY DIVORCE was quickly redubbed THE GAY DIVORCEE (the Hays office objecting that divorces could not be gay but were instead always unhappy affairs, although a divorcee could be). Fred was given nearly complete artistic control of his dance numbers, and instead of the highly choreographed numbers popularized by Busby Berkeley at Warner Brothers, Fred argued for filming his scenes with cameras just barely above ground level, and as close to one shot as was possible. The result was an emphasis not on visual pyrotechnics, but on the intimacy and emotions in the dance.The results were stunning. Although most of the songs from the stage musical were jettisoned, the greatest was kept, and in many ways it remains one of the mythic numbers in the history of musical cinema: Cole Porter's "Night and Day." The number defined for all time what Fred and Ginger were all about. Until this moment in the film, Fred had been futilely chasing Ginger, only to be rebuffed time and again. But once he begins to sing "Night and Day" she begins to have a twinge of interest. And once he grabs her arm and begins to dance with her, we manage to watch one of the great seduction scenes in the movies. At the beginning of the song, she still has no interest in him; at the end of the dance, they are in love. Although Ginger was never Fred's equal as a dancer, she was extraordinary in the manner in which she could respond emotionally to him in their dancing. Their dancing is so very nearly like love-making that we are not at all surprised that as the dance ends, and Fred's gently spins and lowers Ginger onto a couch, he rocks back on his heels, reaches into his jacket, and pulls out his cigarette and offers one to her. It is as perfect a moment as exists in film.THE GAY DIVORCEE succeeds primarily because of Fred and Ginger's incredible magic together, but it is also a delight because of the amazing comedic cast. Erik Rhodes, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, had only two notable roles, both times as an Italian in two classic Astaire-Rogers films. In this film and in TOP HAT, he manages to steal nearly every scene he is in. Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore both were so perfect in their roles that they reappeared in several other Astaire-Rogers films. Alice Brady brings her classic insanity to the film. The film, of course, achieved Fred Astaire's worst fears, and gave him a new partner. But given the incredible success of Astaire and Rogers, I don't think anyone believes that this was in any sense an unfortunate turn of events."
My favourite Astaire and Rogers film
L O'connor | richmond, surrey United Kingdom | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fred Astaire plays a dnacer returning to England from a trip abroad. In the Customs shed he meets Ginger Rogers in an embarassing predicament. He tries to find out who she is, but she refuses to tell him, and he spends ages searching London for her until he finally tracks her down and begins to awaken her interest. Ginger goes down to Brighton with her friend dithery much-married Alice Brady, and Astaire and his dithery lawyer friend Edward Everett Horton go in pursuit. Ginger has gone to Brighton to try and obtain a divorce, she intends to spend the night with a professional co-respondent. Somthing Astaire says makes her think he is the co-respondent, which puts her right off him. Fortunately the real co-respondent, a diminutive Italian, turns up ("your wife is safe with Tonetti,he prefer spaghetti") and the mystery is sorted out. But what will happen when Ginger's husband arrives the next morning? will she get her divorce. This is a wonderful film, with a silly but extremley funny plot, and some wonderful dialogue, particularly between Horton and Brady, who somehow manage to end up married to each other, much to their surprise. An absolutely delightful film."
"Night and Day"
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 09/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers gave everyone something to smile about for a couple of hours during the depression with a special blend of magic that can never be repeated. Their films were sophisticated and charming, elegant and romantic, and most of all, funny. "The Gay Divorcee" is a gorgeous production from Pandro S. Berman. A fine screenplay from George S. Martin, Dorothy Yost and Edward Kaufman, based on the novel by Dwight Taylor, helped this wonderful film garner 5 Academy Award Nominations, including one for Best Picture.

The chemistry between Astaire and Rogers lights up the screen during their dance numbers, a romantic yet innocent longing to fall in love in each graceful step and touch. A great supporting cast that includes Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes, add many laughs to this Mark Sandrich directed screen classic. Cole Porter's "Night and Day" is one of the most popular songs ever recorded, and "The Continental," a song not in Porter's origional Broadway show, but written for the film, won an Academy Award. The musical adaptation from the stage to film was by Kenneth Webb and the great Samuel Hoffenstein.

The story revolves around Mimi Glossip (Ginger Rogers) and her kooky aunt. Alice Brady is a hoot as Hortense, guiding Mimi through her divorce from geologist husband Cyril (William Austin). Guy Holden (Fred Astaire) can't forget the lovely Mimi after he "rescues" her from a snagged dress but she wants nothing to do with him. He searches all over London for her and finally catches up with her after a car chase and immediately proposes marriage!

Mimi is trying hard not to be charmed by Guy as her aunt has arranged for an attorney to aid in her efforts to free herself. The attorney is Guy's good pal, Egbert "Pinky" Fitzgerald (Edward Everett Horton), the black sheep of his family. Neither Mimi or Guy is aware of the coincidence, which creates a hilarious situation when Pinky arranges for her to have a "correspondent" in an effort to get her divorce.

Erik Rhodes nearly steals the film as the correspondent, Rodolpho Tonetti, whose motto is: "Your wife is safe with Tonetti. He prefers spagetti!" A secret phrase he is instructed to say to Mimi in order to identify himself as the correspondent, is one Pinky has overheard his pal Guy say. When Tonetti can't quite remember it, and doesn't have a description of Mimi, you can guess what happens!

Most of the fun takes place at a beautiful seaside resort, filled with all the glossy sets RKO could muster, which were abundant. Eric Blore is the waiter who will spill the beans about Mimi's husband's very real "correspondent" and allow Fred and Ginger to dance their way to happiness for the first time. Along the way, there is humor and charm, and a 17 minute sequence of "The Continental" which alternates between the easy grace of Fred and Ginger and a grander dance with practically everyone.

No other couple in film history has ever made love to each other through a dance like Fred and Ginger. Their charm and elegance let people imagine, if only for a couple of hours, that love and heaven existed still, and maybe they were the same thing. There was a fun happiness on the screen that allowed moviegoers to escape for a short interval from hard times, and give them hope that something better was just around the corner.

"The Gay Divorcee" was the beginning of an elegant magic Fred and Ginger would share with us all, until they finally felt it was time to say goodbye. But they never really have to say farewell as long as we have these wonderful film treasures, reminders, of both them, and the romantic innocence we once had."
Beautiful and funny on many levels
Jack Rice | California, USA | 01/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Calling the plot of Gay Divorcee "silly" or "needless" reflects the pedantry of the editorial reviewers, who apparently would rather see Astaire and Rogers in tights and tutu. The plot, in my opinion, is clever and funny. Of course, mistaken identity is an old device, but the measure is how well the characters bring it off, and there are six - six! - characters in Gay Divorcee who do this splendidly. How can we ever forget the immortal line, "Your wife is safe with Tonetti, he prefers spaghetti!" and all the permutations of "Chance is the fools name for fate." Or was it "Chances are fate is foolish"?Anyway, Nureyev said that Fred Astaire was the greatest dancer in the world, and I think Rogers was his best partner. Gay Divorcee's wonderful art nouveau fantasy set, combined with exquisite costuming - even the ridiculous Tonetti is beautifully attired - and the memorable music, provide a perfect framework for the ballets. And the bright, funny dialogue and perfectly cast characters fill in the intervals.Perhaps the world created by Astaire and Rogers is a fantasy world, but it's plausable enough for me to believe that somehow it would be possible to dress, to act and, yes, to dance in it myself."