Top Hat – 1935 – dir. Mark Sandrich
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made only ten movies together but oh, what a ten they are! Top Hat is the best of them. After Astaire’s Easter Parade, it was the most successful movie of his long career. Certainly, it is the loveliest, best-looking the pair ever made, and the most expensive to produce; the cost of the lavish Art Deco sets — what the industry used to call “The Big White Set” — reached up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, an astronomical sum for those times. Remember that this was The Depression — 1935 — and savvy movie producers knew that people suffering in a bleak economy survived by going to the movies; they flocked to the theaters in droves to live and dream vicariously, watching their favorite movie stars carouse and cavort in fabulous costumes on luxuriant sets, dressed in tuxedos and bundled up in minks, sipping champagne and tripping the Light Fantastic.