Upper right:  Fred takes advantage of the fact that Ginger's skirt has been caught in a trunk lid and attempts to charm his captive audience. Unsuccessfully, of course. ("Porter... oh, porter...")

Lower left: 
"Cigarette?"  After the exquisite Night and Day, Fred tries to bring a dazed Ginger back down to earth.

Based on the play "The Gay Divorce", in which Fred had starred on the stage, "The Gay Divorcee" was the first film to focus on Fred and Ginger as the lead players. (The newly formed Hays Office, in charge of cinematic morals, was responsible for the title change; with decidedly hazy logic it was decreed that while a divorce could never be considered carefree, it was OK for the divorcee to be happy.  Whatever.)

The story, such as it is, revolves around Ginger trying to obtain a divorce from her geologist hubby, and Fred being mistaken for the hired corespondent used to create grounds for the divorce.  In fine support are Alice Brady as Ginger's scatter-brained aunt, Edward Everett Horton as the equally befuddled lawyer, and Erik Rhodes in one of his patented fake-Italian roles, the real corespondent, Tonetti (his slogan: "Your wife is safe with Tonetti - he prefers spaghetti!").

The 17-minute marathon production number "The Continental" was the first song to win an Academy Award in that category, but it is Cole Porter's throbbing "Night and Day" that is the real standout. With both his singing and dancing, Fred stuns Ginger, and us, with his own unique blend of gentle yet persistent urgency.

hear Fred sing "Night and Day"                                                                               continue with "Roberta"

Astaire Menu | Multimedia Center | Bio Bits | Fred & Ginger | Celebrate Astaire | Films and TV | This Month on TV | Guestbook | Links