‘The Gay Divorcee’ (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Fred and Ginger Dazzle with ‘Continental’ Appeal

It’s time for the second film of the ‘Astaire and Rogers’ collection – ‘The Gay Divorcee’! And that’s ‘gay’ meaning to be happy, not ‘gay’ as in homosexual. This ‘Astaire/Rogers’ film is my favourite one.

I enjoyed the romantic comedy plot featured throughout this movie. The movie was so quaint and easy to get into. Also the chemistry between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was great fun to watch.

This has Fred Astaire as Guy Holden, an American dancer, meeting Ginger Rogers as Mimi Glossop who wants to get a divorce from her geologist husband. The two go through the usual tensions together.

Rogers’ character isn’t interested in Astaire’s whilst Astaire is doing his best to find her and win her heart. It is funny how it gets played out in this movie, especially since he is unaware of her situation.

Mimi with her Aunt Hortense seeks help from an English lawyer called Egbert Fitzgerald, who happens to be a friend of Guy’s. The comedy antics play out seamlessly. It makes the film enjoyable.

It’s intriguing that this film mostly takes place in London and Brighton in the UK rather than in the US. It’s also quite ironic that American characters such as Guy, Mimi and Hortense interact in the UK.

It was fun to have the second half of the story take place at a hotel in Brighton (which I’ve been to incidentally for a ‘Doctor Who’ convention in November 2014). Seeing Brighton got me nostalgic. 😀

Fred Astaire as Guy Holden exudes charm as well as dance in this movie. I like how he tries to win Ginger as Mimi’s heart. The interaction between them was fun, especially once they fall in love here.

Ginger Rogers is equally sensational as Mimi. It’s funny how she doesn’t like Fred as Guy first – those “Porter!” call moments were funny – before she eventually comes around to liking him in this film. 🙂

One of my favourite moments in the film is when Fred as Guy says the line “Chance is a fool’s name for fate!” Ginger as Mimi mistakes Fred’s Guy for being her co-respondent in a set-up for her hubby.

This is because Egbert Fitzgerald arranged to have Ginger as Mini seen in an adulterous relationship with another man to get a divorce from her husband. What Fred as Guy had said was the password!

Once you’ve seen the film throughout and comprehend the misunderstandings going on between characters, it makes it very funny. The supporting characters in the film help to make that occur too.

As well as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, there’s also Alice Brady as Hortense Ditherwell, Mimi’s aunt. She’s quite a scatterbrain and domineering. She’s also fun to watch being Mimi’s aunt in this. 🙂

There’s also Edward Everett Horton as Egbert Fitzgerald, Guy’s lawyer friend in the film. He’s quite a bumbling character and it’s revealed he has a relationship once with Hortense, who wins him over. 🙂

The film also has Erik Rhodes as Rodolfo Tonetti, a professional co-respondent meant to be caught in an adulterous relationship with Ginger’s Mimi. He’s quite incompetent and quite funny as an Italian.

And there’s Eric Blore as the eccentric waiter who works at the Brighton seaside hotel. Eric Blore appears in quite a number of these Astaire/Rogers films. He’s very funny as the waiter in this movie.

The film also features William Austen as Cyril Glossop, Mimi’s husband, who appears briefly in one scene at the end of the movie. Thankfully Eric Blore’s waiter assists getting Mimi’s divorce from him.

The musical numbers that feature in this film are as follows. They’re ‘Don’t Let It Bother You’ with Fred dancing; ‘Let’s K-nock K-nees’ with Edward Everett Horton singing and ‘Needle in a Haystack’. 🙂

The very well-remembered song/dance of the movie is ‘The Continental’. It won the first Academy Award for Best Original Song and lasts for 20 minutes in terms of a dance sequence by the film’s end.

There’s also the song ‘Night and Day’ which is sung by Fred Astaire and features a dance between him and Ginger Rogers. It’s a lovely song/dance number, especially as Guy finds Mimi at the hotel. 🙂

‘The Gay Divorcee’ is a very good Astaire/Rogers film. I love the comedy featured throughout the film as well as the chemistry between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It’s certainly worth watching.

The DVD special features are as follows. On ‘The Gay Divorcee’ disc in ‘Astaire and Rogers: The Complete Film Collection’ DVD box set, there are two vintage musical shorts including ‘Show Kids’ and ‘Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove’. There’s also the classic cartoon ‘Shake Your Powder Puff’; the audio-only bonus ‘Hollywood on the Air’ radio promo and a theatrical trailer for the film.

‘The Gay Divorcee’ rating – 9/10

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