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Top Hat

Peter William Evans

ISBN: 978-1-444-32534-8 July 2010 Wiley-Blackwell 144 Pages


Top Hat is the first volume to spotlight this classic Hollywood film, probing the musical genre, notions of romance and subjectivity, as well as the contested relations between the sexes.
  • Offers a detailed analysis of one of Hollywood's greatest musicals, including a comprehensive survey of the film's production, promotion and reception, all measured against the background of 1930s socio-political contexts in the USA
  • Explores the musical genre and questions of (gendered) national identity, romance, subjectivity and the notion of the couple
  • Written in a clear, accessible style, Top Hat probes text and context carefully to appeal to the student and teacher of the musical and of Hollywood film history, as well as the film-loving general reader

List of Figures vi

Synopsis vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. The Making of Top Hat 6

2. Fred Astaire: "Outlaw" Stylist of the Dance 19

3. Ginger Rogers: Confirming and Defying Convention 26

4. Introduction to Narrative and Number: The Bumpy Road to Love 35

5. The Numbers 43

6. Querying National and Sexual Identity 85

Conclusion: A Perfectly Swell Romance 101

Notes 104

Bibliography 106

Index 114

"Its considerable claims to Art and its resonant magic are the dual focus of this insightful and highly readable study by Peter William Evans . . . Evans approaches this most celebratory of musical comedies in celebratory mode but also with a deserved seriousness devoid of solemnity. " (Times Literary Supplement , 24 June 2011)