I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: Top Hat

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
In Movie Musical Challenge, I'm watching all 25 picks for AFI's Greatest musicals starting from the bottom.  Number 15 is the 1935 film Top Hat starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  There just had to be a classic Astaire/Rogers film on this list!

Top Hat is such a charming musical.  The story is funny and farcical and very light-hearted.  It revolves around Fred Astaire's character - Jerry - who is instantly interested in Dale (Ginger Rogers) and attempts to woo her with tons of flowers, sparkling dialogue, and lots of dancing and singing.  And some stalkerish behavior LOL.  I really loved the dialogue in this film actually - so many great one-liners and comebacks.

While in 'The Band Wagon' I was not as enamored of Fred Astaire - with Fred and Ginger, I can see why Fred was such a great leading man.  He's so amiable and charming, and of course the dancing and over the top romantic overtures makes him very appealing.  I loved Ginger too - she's so perfectly matched to Fred dancing-wise, and in their verbal exchanges.  I wonder why this musical is ranked above the other films Fred and Ginger did - so I'm sure I'll be watching the others sometime!  (Hopefully including one or two in Movie Musical Challenge for next year.)

As a film, this was interesting to watch because it's the earliest movie musical I've seen yet (although this is just the second earliest on the list - there is one from 1933).  Perhaps one aspect that is indicative of how early this film is, is that I feel like with the tap dancing there was a stronger emphasis on the sound of the taps than I've noticed in other tap-heavy movie musicals.  As opposed to the flow and story of the dance.  There is that one scene where Jerry pretends to shoot the other men on the stage and makes the gun shot noise with his feet.  It's incongruous, but a pretty cool scene.  I did watch the extras on the DVD for this, and they mentioned that Fred Astaire really advocated the camera following the dance, with the dancer from head to foot as the main focus, and it's wonderful to get that shift, because it's so beautiful to see the way these dancers move.  And it's a big reason why I love watching these old movie musicals.

Top Hat was a joy to watch - I thought every aspect worked well together - the story, the dancing, the music, the comedy - were all full of effervescence and delight.  This was a wonderful representation of the magic of a Fred and Ginger film.

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