Top Hat [Review 23 for FQ13]

They just don’t make movies like they used to… for a reason. That shouldn’t stop us from taking a moment to look back and enjoy some of the classics.

Top Hat

Why I Saw It: I’ve always been in awe of people who were excellent dancers. From a young age, I wanted to be able to dance like Michael Jackson. Despite that, I’d yet to see a Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film, so what better place to start than with arguably their most famous film?

What Was It About?  “An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Rating: 7.9 out of 10
The script was well-written, the gags were entertaining, the dancing was awe-inspiring, but I don’t see Top Hat as having a broad appeal for today’s audience. That didn’t stop me from enjoying it.

fred-astaireMemorable Performances: Obviously Fred Astaire was great in the film. His dance numbers were far more entertaining than I thought they would be, especially the tap dance performance he gave where he pretended like his cane was a gun and interacted with the other dancers. His work delivering dialogue was head and shoulders above that of Ginger Rogers, whose dance moves were excellent but the dialogue she was given was lacking.  Helen Broderick, on the other hand, had some great moments in the film as the producer’s distrusting-yet-ambivalent wife.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Supporting Actress – Helen Broderick
  • Best Actor – Fred Astaire

Favorite Parts: The tap dance number where he gunned-down a slew of other dancers was great. The part where Fred Astaire danced all around the apartment because he was excited about having met his lady love was fun and felt improved and gave a sense for how much the actor loves to dance. Late in the film where the guy is talking down to someone who doesn’t speak English was a fun gag, too. And the way the film runs with the miscommunication storyline is excellently crafted.

The Regrettable Aspects: The film is 76 years old, and while it’s not extremely “dated”, there were certain points along the way with which I had trouble connecting.

Would I watch it again? I’d say the dance numbers and the running gags were fun enough that I’d tune in just about whenever I’d find this on television… which isn’t likely to happen too frequently, but being such a classic, I’m sure it will.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  To anyone who enjoys great dancing and comedies based on miscommunication.

Other Recommendations:

WEST SIDE STORY – I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I really love West Side Story. It’s absolutely a film that all guys should watch at some point. Not everyone will love it, but I’d find it hard to believe that anyone will hate it.

BILLY ELLIOT – great story, great dancing, very well produced and acted. It’s one of my favorite films.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to TOP HAT, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up, SAVAGES.

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