In a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film, you are not likely to find any of the following:

Things that you will find, though, include:

  • floaty dresses with feathers
  • a guy who just happens to be a professional dancer
  • a girl who isn't a professional dancer but just happens to dance like one anyway
  • people staying in the same hotel who just happen to have been married to each other
  • people climbing in and out of windows
  • people dancing up and down stairs
  • people dancing on furniture
  • people dancing with furniture
  • Betty Grable flirting with a middle-aged lawyer
  • bizarre English divorce laws
  • an Italian guy who plays one of those teeny accordions
  • wildly implausible misunderstandings that make Astaire look like a cad
  • fancy cinematography that allows Astaire to defy the laws of physics in various ways
  • a big old dance number with 300 guys in tuxedos with matching girls in floaty dresses with feathers (q.v.)

The Gay Divorcee, a 1934 film directed by Mark Sandrich, is a shining example of the Astaire-Rogers oeuvre, including nearly all of these elements combined as ridiculously as possible.

The plot, such as it is, concerns Guy Holden, a professional dancer. He comes to London for a vacation? business? a new show? --it doesn't really matter-- and meets the euphoniously named Mimi Glossop when he rescues her after she has gotten her skirt stuck in the hinge of her steamer trunk as they are going through customs. He accidentally tears her dress and then lends her his coat, hoping to see her again, but she simply sends it back to him with no note.

This gives him the chance to wander mournfully around London to the tune of Cole Porter's Night and Day, hoping to run into her. His friend, Egbert Fitzgerald, played by the fabulous Edward Everett Horton, thinks he is crazy but is too busy trying to ineptly run his father's law firm to be of any help.

Egbert: Guy, you're not pining for that girl?
Guy: Pining? Men don't pine. Girls pine. Men just...suffer.

In order to take his mind off his suffering, Guy agrees to go to the seaside with Egbert, where they run into none other than...Mimi! and her Aunt Hortense! who used to be Egbert's sweetheart! and Mimi is there to try to get a divorce! and Betty Grable is there, too! and they all sing a song!

If you like this kind of thing, it's a great movie, with Cole Porter songs and Fred and Ginger's otherworldly dancing to balance out the confectionary nature of the plot.

Share and Enjoy!

Fred Astaire ............. Guy Holden
Ginger Rogers ............ Mimi
Alice Brady .............. Hortense
Edward Everett Horton .... Egbert
Erik Rhodes .............. Tonetti
Eric Blore ............... The Waiter
William Austin ........... Cyril Glossop
Charles Coleman .......... Valet

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