Perhaps the best remembered of the 10 Astaire/Rogers musicals, Top Hat has it all: Art Deco elegance, a wonderfully addled storyline, loopy support from skilled farceurs and the incomparable chemistry of the two leads chee... more »k-to-cheeking to Irving Berlin's finest film score. It's a wake-up call for romance when Fred's exuberant No Strings dance in his hotel suite disturbs the sleeping beauty (Ginger) in the room below. They meet cute, Fred decides he'd like a few strings (preferably a tied knot) after all and love beckons until Ginger mistakenly gets the idea that Fred is a married playboy. But mistakes can be wonderfully, wackily resolved. Among the highlights: Fred mows down the chorus line in his signature Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, the shimmeringly dreamy Isn't It a Lovely Day (to Be Caught in the Rain)? and the rhapsodically tender Cheek to Cheek. Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Top Hat is top-drawer entertainment magic. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Fred Astaire?s Daughter Ava Astaire McKenzie and Film Dance Historian Larry Billman
Featurette:On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat
Other:Comedy Short Watch the Birdie with Bob Hope, Classic Cartoon Page Miss Glory« less
"The fourth Fred & Ginger (F&G) movie, Top Hat is considered by many to be the quintessential one and is my personal favorite. In the Top Hat musical number, Fred cleverly uses his gentleman's cane as a "machine gun." And the ever-so-tender cheek to cheek number where he is singing and dancing with Ginger makes me feel like I am dancing in heaven as well. A deleted scene in some prints in which Bates (Eric Blore) insults a policeman, is present in this DVD.
A running commentary with Ava Astaire McKenzie (daughter) includes background information about the supporting actors and trivia, such as the significance of the ring Fred wears in the film. And even though Ginger rides the horse in this movie, we learn that Fred is the real horse lover. Ava admits she does not know everything about her dad and his career, which adds to the authenticity of what she does know and contributes.
A behind-the-scenes look, the featurette, "On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat" explains many intricacies and attention to detail in the making of the movie. Nothing is left to chance. You will appreciate all the names in the opening credits. It includes interviews with Ava Astaire McKenzie, archivists, and biographers with a mix of F&G photographs and film clips. (Run time 18:20)
"Watch the Birdie" is a comedy short with a young Bob Hope playing a prankster on a cruise ship who himself gets "pranked." It's sort of a let down after Top Hat, so I am not sure why it's included on the same DVD. (B&W, Run time 18:16)
"Page Miss Glory" (1936) is an old Merrie Melodies cartoon about the exploits around a bell boy in an upscale hotel. It has a touch of Busby Berkeley near the end. (Run time 7:43)
Theatrical Trailer (Run time 1:02)"
"I'm in Heaven, I'm in Heaven..."
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many times when the subject of old-time, classic movies comes up, my father inevitably brings up the story of how as a child he was given a quater on his ninth birthday and sent off to a local Baltimore, movie theatre with his friends to see the now classic movie musical, "Top Hat". Just recently I purchased the DVD box set, "Astaire & Rogers Collection, Volume 1". Naturally, the first disc I viewed was "Top Hat". Well after seeing this disc, I now know, why my Dad over seventy years later, is still talking about this wonderful piece of cinematic, movie magic. To paraphrase an old Humphrey Bogart line, "this is the stuff that dreams are made of". Where do you start with what makes this movie great? You have to start with the pure magic of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers working together. This film is pretty much this duo's creative peak. You have Fred Astaire acting, cracking jokes, singing and best of all DANCING! If you wish to ever to see pure creative genuis at work, before your very eyes, then just watch this man's feet and body language. Astaire shows such elegance and grace, that he has now become the very definition of those words. As for Miss Rogers, her skills have been quite underrated in the past. You know the old cliche saying, "she could do anything he could do...but she could do it backwords (and in heels)". It's true! This pair's artistry and creative gifts perfectly match each other. My personal favorite moment in the movie is the extended dance sequence between the two during the song, "Cheek to Cheek". In the begining of the scene, when Astaire sings "I'm in heaven..." and then repeats the phrase, you really do believe him! The two dancers glide along the dance floor as though they are in a dream. When the music majestically swells and he dips her, there is truely a sense of romance and sensuality, that is completly overwelming. It really is a classic scene from movie history. Astaire & Rogers are joined by a classic cast of comic, character actors, who forever will go down in cinematic memory. There is Edward Everett Horton, who plays Astaire's stuffy show producer. He is the 'King of the comic, double-take'. His man-servant is played by the humorous actor, Eric Blore, who reminds me of a school boy, who knows he's played some sort of naughty prank. Horton's wife is played by actress, Helen Broderick, who seems to have made an art form out of delivering her lines with irony & sarcasm. Finally there is comic actor, Eric Rhodes with his hilariously way over the top, Italian accent (he puts Chico Marx to shame!) and his foppish ways. The songs in this film have now become popular standards, that have become engrained in our culture's musical consciousness. All are written by Composer, Irving Berlin and include classics such "Isn't This a Lovely Day", "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails", Cheek to Cheek" and "No Strings (I'm Fancy Free)". While countless performers have covered these songs, it is the Astaire & Rodgers renditions from this film, that is in our collective memory. Finally mention should be of the movies' beautiful costumes and especially the almost fantasy-like, art decco, stylized sets which seem to effortlessly transport the viewer to another world. Remember, this film was released during the height of the 'Great Depression'. It was tough times for many movie patrons back then. Well, for one hour fourty minutes through the singing, dancing, comedy and the fantastic visuals it must have made folks forget their troubles. These days I suspect this film can still work it's wonderful movie magic! The DVD picture itself is crystal clear and highlights the beautiful B&W photography. The sound is O.K. for a film from 1935. Extras include a short featurette on the making of the film, commentary from Astaire's daughter, a theatrical trailer, a Warner Bros. cartoon and a Bob Hope comedy short. For a night of great escapist entertaiment, I highly recommend the classic film "Top Hat"! Dad certainly liked it!"
Wonderful in Every Way
Hannah Somers | California, United States | 09/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I expected fabulous dancing, but this movie is hilarious as well. I laughed until I cried. The plot centers around mistaken identity, which is a sure-fire comedic convention if done well, and it is done very well here indeed. Astaire and Rodgers are very funny, but the supporting players are masters of comedy. Highly enjoyable."
I generally can't stand musicals, but...
KV Trout | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a musical for those people who hate musicals... I think you would have to be the biggest curmudgeon in the world not to find this movie fun and joyful. If this movie does not improve your mood, there is probably something seriously wrong with you.
I'm not kidding.
Not only am I not a fan of musicals, but I also am not a fan of dancing. I mean, watching dancing is okay, but I don't go out of my way to watch it.
But the dancing that Fred and Ginger do, here, is nothing short of brilliant. Not only that, it is so joyous. You can just tell that they (Fred, especially) just LOVES dancing! You feel it, and it makes YOU love dancing, too; you just can't help but love what they do, it is infectious.
Also, the story is very funny, full of improbably twists and turns, and very good comedic timing and jokes.
And of course, Ginger... Oh, to have been Fred, with those gorgeous eyes, that gorgeous face looking at me like that... She was way before my time, and is not "Playboy" beautiful. She's just so damned cute. How could anyone not find her irresistable?
I don't usually gush like this, you can check my other reviews. I guess this movie brings out the sap in me. What can I say?
I love this movie.
By the way, there seem to be 2 major camps: those who think this is the best of the Ginger and Fred movies, and those who think that honor goes to "Swing Time". My wife and I both found "Swing Time" to be far less satisfying than "Top Hat". Basically, the dancing and singing are about equally great; but the story of "Top Hat" is much better and the jokes much funnier in "Top Hat".
I'm... puttin' on my Top Hat...
anonymous1234567 | San Francisco, California United States | 04/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a fantastic movie this is! It features wonderful music by Irving Berlin, wonderful elegance all around, and especially, wonderful Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the best team in the history of movies. The movie glides along, and you glide with it, and are swept up in the sheer joy of it all. The plot is absurd: Ginger thinks Fred is her best friends' husband. Fred, of course has no idea of this and pursues Ginger relentlessly. All of this is just an excuse for singing and dancing, and there is plenty of it, to some timeless Irving Berlin songs. It is some of the best you'll ever see. From the first moment when Fred starts puttering around to the tune of "No Strings," you wind up with a big grin on your face and amazement at how good he is. Ginger Rogers was always his best partner, because she was a perfect foil and a great dancer as well. But there was more to it than that. She was also a good actress and had great comic timing and always seemed ready to go along with the silliness of the plot. Here her best moment (and the best dance in the movie) is "Isn't This A Lovely Day." It is set in a sort of gazebo in a rainstorm and it is marvelous- the two wind up moving into a little tap competition- then thunder is heard, Ginger leaps into Fred's arms, they break apart, the music begins getting faster and faster, and suddenly they are whirling around the gazebo in giddy joy. The whole movie is marvelous, in fact. There is not a moment where I was dissapointed. 100 minutes of sheer pleasure."