The Gay Divorcee
Director: Mark Sandrich
Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Alice Brady, Eric Rhodes and Eric Blore, among others.
This will be one of my short reviews, since I've already written about jolly happy musicals several times in a row. I've been in a "make-me-happy-now-otherwise-I'll-kill-something" kind of a mood lately, which accounts for my Fred Astaire hysteria. This will be the last one for a while now, promise.
My fellow classic film bloggers (or, the girls among them at least) have been without mercy at the fact that I up until now hadn't seen two essential Fred & Ginger films: Swing Time [post] and The Gay Divorcee. Just when they all gathered the other day to collect rocks to stone me to death for my sins, I took my chance to watch the films. They were of course a little disappointed when they no longer were allowed to execute me, but slightly happy that I had reached my goal.
One rock was however thrown at me, but nobody confessed. I shouted "Who threw that rock?", Kate, Casey and Elizabeth (all dressed in fake beards) pointed at Millie and shouted in baritone voices "She did! She did! Ehm... He did! He did!"
That's how life is in the blogosphere, dear readers.
Oh, I was writing about The Gay Divorcee? Sorry. Really nice film, with some of the best returning Fred & Ginger supporting actors: Edward Everett Horton (my favorite), Eric Blore and Alice Brady. Even Eric Rhodes was a slimy Italian again. (Didn't I state in my previous Fred & Ginger post that their movies seem helpless without a greasy Italian stereotype thrown into the mix?)
The plot is the usual mix of misunderstandings leading to very comical situations, close to mentally retarded supporting roles, Fred chasing a reluctant Ginger that can't wait to fall into his arms, gorgeous dresses and settings and fine songs and dance numbers. There weren't as many super-super-great songs in this film as in Swing Time and Top Hat, but there were enough to keep me gay as a lark.
The "Night and Day" number was elegant in the usual Fred & Ginger way, and I love how it ends with Fred asking her "You want a cigarette?" "No." I find anti-climaxes like that very amusing. It was funny to see Edward Everett Horton sing a little in "Lets K-nock K-neez", while being courted by a very young Betty Grable. The most entertaining thing in that scene though, was to watch all the different bathing suits all the girls were wearing. Yikes! Cool stuff.
"Continental" was also a really fine number, but it dragged on way too long. I was practically jumping up and down on my sofa when it began. When Eric Rhodes continued the song a while later I thought "Oh, silly man! He thinks he can sing...". Then a strange woman starts singing it too, and by then I wondered if I were to take a cigarette break without pausing the film. I read that the "Continental" was the longest song sequence in any film with it's 17 ½ minutes, before Gene Kelly got his God complex and made a minute longer sequence in An American in Paris (1951).
Still, I would kill for one of those black and white dresses in that scene.
Not one of my colorizing masterpieces, but it suited the theme of the blog post.
The last thing I want to highlight in The Gay Divorcee is the mistaken-identity-plot. It was fun in Top Hat, but this time it was hilarious. All the confusion leads to Fred fearing that Ginger is a schizo, and Ginger believing Fred is a gigolo. The dialog in the hotel room during that scene is very clever and wildly entertaining.
In short (because the post didn't end up very short after all...): I just enjoyed another lovely Fred & Ginger film, and have thereby found another cure for my more or less regular murderous moods. Enjoy the last scene that I cut out for you - No dialog, only a fantastically choreographed dance number!