The Gay Divorcee (1934, Mark Sandrich)

A light and funny musical about trying to ruin a woman’s reputation, sort of the opposite of the end scene of Buster Keaton’s College.

Supposed to be “the first film that featured Astaire and Rogers in equal billing”. I kinda recognized Rogers from Monkey Business, and Astaire from those cartoon caricatures where he has a giant head and big hands. Hmm, now I’ve seen his first (Flying Down to Rio) and second movies, and none of the other 40+ he made through the years. Who else?

Alice Bracy as the almost-annoying Aunt Hortense was also in My Man Godfrey and Young Mr. Lincoln before dying of cancer in ’39.
Edward Evertt Horton, Fred’s posh-looking straight-man sidekick (the lawyer who arranges the divorce at a resort), appeared in other Astaire movies incl. Top Hat and Holiday
Erik Rhodes is Mr. Tonetti, the amorous fake-beau who pretends to cheat while his wife cheats on him for real, was in the Broadway version of this, and later appeared in Top Hat.
Eric Blore, the waiter, was also in Top Hat, jeez.
Betty Grable, the most famous pin-up girl of WWII and star of The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend, had a featured dance, but I didn’t recognize her.

Won best song at the Oscars for “The Continental” but lost out best picture to It Happened One Night and best art direction to The Merry Widow (also with edward e. horton). I’m not sure it should have been in strong contention for best art direction in the first place… not exactly a huge production with lights and mirrors, sort of small-scale simple dancing and singing. We liked it.

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