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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

Speaking about the kind of filmmaking now known as classic Hollywood, the most popular and influential cinema ever invented, Vincente Minnelli gave away its secret: “I feel that a picture that stays with you is made up of a hundred or more hidden things. They’re things that the audience is not conscious of, but that accumulate” (qtd. in Schickel 257). The ABC method provides a way for finding those “hidden things” Minelli spoke about. Starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Top Hat (1935) is a musical masterpiece from the classic Hollywood period that portrays the struggles of love in a lively, creative fashion. Focusing on a plot of mistaken identities and erotic landscapes, this fairytale musical sweeps viewers off their feet with energetic dances, catchy show tunes, and romantic comedy. Arguably one of the very best of the nine movies Astaire and Rogers made together, Top Hat utilizes the dancing, singing, and acting of this talented pair to emerge as a classic musical. Top Hat is a richly layered film that can be appreciated on many different levels. This paper seeks to uncover the many elements to be discovered in Top Hat, revealing it to be a complex, artistic masterpiece. Each of the twenty-six entries explores specific details of the movie with the aim of giving this richly appointed film the credit it truly deserves.

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