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cinemaspeak59

THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)

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As proof you can't go wrong with a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers picture, your favorite always seems to be the one last watched.  This is the case for me, with the Gay Divorcee (1934), their second screen pairing.  It has everything we love about these films: ethereal sets, double entendres, unerring comedic timing,  great supporting characters, and the songs and dancing, including a buoyant rendition of Cole Porter's Night and Day.

 

The plot devices would miss their mark if they weren't so outrageous. The Gay Divorcee also provides us with a wise philosophical saying:  Chance is a fool's name for fate.  Or, as Tonetti, played by Erik Rhodes, the bumbling gigolo hired to set in motion events for Mimi (Rogers) to get a divorce and marry Guy (Astaire), would say:  "A chance without a name for a man is a foolish chance", or something to that effect.  The Gay Divorcee is quite generous in giving Edward Everett Horton, and Eric Blore, two supporting comedic superstars, enough scenes to work their magic.  Also wonderful is Alice Brady as Ginger's flighty and flirty aunt.

 

The formula in the Fred and Ginger films is so reliable it would constitute cinematic malpractice to not follow it.  A way of life is advertised in these films, one that is cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and egalitarian.  They leave us with a joie de vivre to carry around for when we will inevitably need it.  Woody Allen said if you want to feel good, watch Fred and Ginger.  I enthusiastically agree.

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