Top Hat (1935)

Directed by Mark Sandrich

Showman Jerry Travers is working for producer Horace Hardwick in London. Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horace's hotel room, much to the annoyance of sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace.

I guess they didn't call it the Great Depression for nothing. A delightfully charming film where the butt of the joke is on nobody at all. Except for the Italians. And the Hays Code.

This movie's focus on the wealthy essentially stems from the freedom that the rich had during the 1930s to remain whimsically narcissistic while the average Joe desperately scrapes to survive. Yet it makes me feel that all of those films made in the 2020s which purport to critique the rich, should simply contain slick dance numbers and Lubitsch-like plots of mistaken identity instead of half-baked class criticism.


The famous line is that Ginger did everything Fred did backwards and in heels, and to that I'd like to add: she also wore huge, billowy dresses. How did she not trip on those things?

Will Sloan