The Gay Divorcee (1934)

The Gay Divorcee (1934) movie poster

director Mark Sandrach
viewed: 09/08/2012

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  This was the third Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie I’ve watched, the second with the kids.  Clara had really enjoyed Swing Time (1936) and since I had Clara and no Felix this night, I thought we’d try a go again.  We invited a friend over for her to spend the night and set ourselves down to watch and enjoy.

The story, about a guy (Astaire) who falls for a girl (Rogers) who is trying to wrangle herself free from a loveless marriage to a roving archaeologist, is not overly complicated per se, but required a lot more explaining than made for an easy go of it.  See, she’s hired his best pal, the very funny Edward Everett Horton, to find her a fake romantic interloper and pretend to catch her “in flagrante delicto”, giving her grounds for divorce.  But because her aunt fancies Horton and the Italian “Latin lover” pretender is a goof, Rogers thinks that Astaire is the gigolo du jour and, well, it’s a comedy of misunderstandings.

While it features the terrific Cole Porter song “Night and Day” and the big dance number toward the end is the charming “The Continental”, not everything is quite as hummable as it could be.  The dialogue is actually snappy and fun, but snappy and fun for me, a bit over the heads of the 8 and 9 year olds.  Which is fine, just that their interest kind of lagged, and half-way through the film, the girls started playing and paying less attention.  I did try to direct them back to it and Clara’s friend was enjoying it.  Clara was pretty blase about it.

Swing Time was more fun, had better music, too.  But The Gay Divorcee is good fun, at least for me it was.

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