Directed by Mark Sandrich
RKO Radio Pictures
#93 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Jerry Travers: She loves me.
Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) is a famous song and dance man who is scheduled to star in a show produced by Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) in London. Fashion designer Alberto Beddini (Erik Rhodes) has hired lovely Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) as a sort of social mannequin to show off his gowns. Jerry and Dale meet and Jerry is immediately smitten. Horace’s wife Madge (Helen Broderick) is in Venice and wants to try her hand at a little matchmaking. The sparks fly when Dale mistakes Jerry for Madge’s husband and the two arrive in Venice.
The silly comedy of errors is a structure on which to hang some glorious dancing, art deco sets, gorgeous gowns, and snappy dialogue. Most of the cast of The Gay Divorcee comes back and is funnier than ever. I particularly like Erik Rhodes’s conceited Beddini, who always refers to himself in the third person.
Fred Astaire was Irving Berlin’s favorite interpreter of his songs and he sings plenty of them here. “Cheek to Cheek” is the standard coming from this film but I have a huge soft spot for “Isn’t This a Lovely Day”. The dance to that one, in which Rogers starts out by mimicking Astaire’s movements, is the essence of joy. In my view, a practically perfect picture.
“Isn’t This a Lovely Day”