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The year before, in 1933, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had grabbed America's attention in Flying Down to Rio, even though they were the second bananas in that film. The duo had a certain chemistry--Fred with his lighter-than-air elegance, Ginger with her moxie--and studio heads gambled that they could carry a starring vehicle of their own. Nobody guessed there would be another eight movies together after The Gay Divorcee, which turned into a huge success for RKO Pictures. The plot is the usual silliness, with Ginger a divorce-minded gal in England, Fred a dancer whose sincere interest in her is mistaken for something else. But plots never mattered much in these affairs, and this one achieves a kind of free-floating bliss. Astaire had starred in the stage version of the story, titled The Gay Divorce. The censors forced the extra e to be added to the title because surely no divorce could be portrayed as a happy one (this frothy movie's evidence notwithstanding). Only one song was carried over from the stage show, Cole Porter's smash hit "Night and Day," which forms the basis for a sublime pas de deux between Fred and Ginger. A tune, "The Continental," written for this film won the first Oscar ever awarded in the best-song category.

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Special Features * 2 vintage musical shorts: "Show Kids" and "Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove" * Classic cartoon "Shake Your Powder Puff" * Audio-only bonus: Hollywood on the Air radio promo * Theatrical trailer

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TUN7569 Gay Divorcee DVD (1934/Fred Astaire) $19.98 $17.99