AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Top Hat
Director: Mark Sandrich (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Sep 1935
Duration (in mins):  99.5-101
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Cast: Fred Astaire  (Jerry Travers)
  Ginger Rogers  (Dale Tremont)
  Edward Everett Horton  (Horace Hardwick)
 

Summary: While staying in a London hotel with his English theatrical backer, Horace Hardwick, American musical revue star Jerry Travers wakes up Dale Tremont, Horace's downstairs neighbor, with his compulsive tap dancing. Upon seeing the furious Dale, Jerry falls instantly in love and, in spite of her snubbing, daily sends flowers to her room. Then, while posing as a hansom cab driver, Jerry delivers Dale to her riding lesson in the park and romances her in a pavilion during a rain storm. Dale's loving bliss is shattered, however, when she incorrectly deduces that Jerry, whose name she has never heard, is actually the husband of her matchmaking friend, Madge Hardwick. In spite of her desire to return to America, Dale is convinced by Alberto Beddini, her adoring, ambitious Italian dressmaker, to accept Madge's invitation to join her in Italy. Before leaving, Dale encounters Jerry in the hotel and slaps him without explanation. Worried that the slap will cause a scandal, the hotel management admonishes a confused Horace, who in turn blames the incident on Bates, his quarrelsome valet. After Horace orders Bates to follow Dale, he receives a telegram from Madge saying that Dale is on her way to the Lido in Venice. Overjoyed, Jerry rushes through his London revue and flies to Venice with Horace, unaware that Dale has confessed to Madge in their hotel room that her husband has made illicit advances toward her. In Italy, Jerry continues to be baffled by Dale's emotional vacilations, while Horace is equally baffled by Alberto's threats of bodily violence. At the hotel nightclub, Dale dances with Jerry at the urging of Madge, who is unaware that Dale has mistaken Jerry, the man that she is trying to get Dale to marry, for Horace. When Jerry then proposes to Dale, she slaps him again, while Madge, who had taken Dale's initial revelations about Horace with good humor, punches her husband in the eye. Depressed and heartsick, Dale succumbs to the affections of Alberto and accepts his marriage proposal. The next day, Jerry learns that Dale has married and, by tap dancing as he did in London, connives to see her alone. Although Dale finally learns Jerry's true identity while cruising with him in a gondola, the revenge-hungry Alberto pursues the couple across the canals. Eventually Bates reveals that, while following Dale and Alberto, he had impersonated a clergyman and performed their marriage ceremony. Legally single, Dale now accepts Jerry's proposal and, back in the nightclub, dances happily with him across the floor. 

Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Director: Mark Sandrich (Dir)
  C. C. Thompson (Asst dir)
  Harry D'Arcy (Asst dir)
  Richard Green (Asst dir)
  Kenneth Holmes (Asst dir)
Writer: Dwight Taylor (Scr)
  Allan Scott (Scr)
  Dwight Taylor (Story)
  Karl Noti (Adpt)
  Ben Holmes (Contr to trmt)
  Ralph Spence (Contr to scr const)

Subject Major: Americans in foreign countries
  Dancers
  Infidelity
  Mistaken identity
  Romance
 
Subject Minor: Carriages and carts
  Dancing
  Dressmakers
  English
  Gondolas and gondoliers
  Hotels
  Impersonation and imposture
  Italians
  Italy
  London (England)
  Matchmakers
  Musical revues
  Nightclubs
  Parks
  Proposals (Marital)
  Rainstorms
  Revenge
  Riding
  Scandal
  Theatrical backers
  Valets

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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