Sunday, February 21, 2010

review: The Gay Divorcee

Yet another lovely example of magic.
It is not as funny as the others I have watched, and a little racy in the subject matter for the 1930s,
It was based on a stage musical at the time called The Gay Divorce (the censor board insisted on the change, since divorce was not to be considered happy. The story is about a married woman (Rogers) who is trying to get a divorce from her husband. With a plan put together by an inept lawyer (Edward Everett Horton), she is going to be "caught" with a correspondant. Mistaken identities again play a role, and she mistakes the lawyer's friend, a dancer (Astaire), for the correspondant (actually played by Eric Rhodes). All works out in the end, of course, and everyone is happy.
As usual, a wonderful supporting cast is enlisted. Horton, Eric Rhodes, Eric Blore, Alive Brady, and making an early appearance is Betty Grable.
This was the first movie starring Fred and Ginger as the lead attraction. This movie established the glamor that was to be associated with all of their movies: exotic locale, decadent sets, gorgeous costumes, and wonderful music. Featuring one of the best by Cole Porter: "Night and Day" I love Astiare's rendition of the song - so simple, so true, and so sweet. And the dance - oh, the dance. They are magic together in this sequence. Astaire so dashing, and Rogers is so wonderful at expressing so subtle changes is her face. It's mesmerizing. The ending flourish is prefect - as he sets her down on a couch as the dance is finished - she just stares at him, captived, and at once in love.
Kind of the way I feel about every Astaire/Rogers film.
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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