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Top Shelf, Top hat

 There is something real about the golden age of movies. I'm not really talking about the time period, I’m more or less talking about the storylines. So many movies today are renditions of movies that were once dubbed originals. The well-written, planned, shot, and practiced moments of a forgotten era when time stood still long enough for the audience to breathe. Rather than sit idly on their phones watching the world pass by in a few measly well choreographed staged fruit baskets. We are so concerned with the truth of movies today and how well they portray real or fake life, we often forget the substance behind the story even if it is original. Like many movies of today, I find people more consumed with the actors themselves than the part they portray or the scandal behind the story, rather than the story itself. More often good movies are dubbed sub-par while even B-rated films even if they have an inkling of something special are dubbed flops. Sometimes it's not the actual story, the lighting, the music, or the script that creates the film. Sometimes it's just a spark hidden away in a scene that the audience passes by. 

Many films often mimic stories of old by famous authors. Shakespeare, Austen and so on. Youv'e Got Mail is a reminder of the playfulness of unknown/known lover can play in the havoc of one's own romantic notions. The sprite is juxtaposed with the mask of technology. I can say though in many films refer to the golden age. Technology has no part in films, besides that of the cutting room floor. We often hear, to put down our phones, bask in the world around you. The truth is things are easier when you are not glued to technology. 

I recently watched Top Hat with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair. Probably one of the best tap dancing duos of all time. The film was released in 1935 and is dubbed a musical by all accounts. However, I think it has more dancing than singing if we are being honest. The honesty of Top Hat goes without saying, it's as original as Shakespeare but as honest as a child. The flow and rhythm of the story makes, you as the audience feel as if you are watching a story unfold. Without the onslaught of technology, the characters can live in their dream world. Hey before there was Twitter there was something called "word of mouth." Its uncanny how well the film is shot and the offhanded jokes are doled out accordingly. In many Rom-Coms, often the laughter feels forced or the romance feels more of a nuisance than expected. There's never enough of one or the other and sometimes set emotions feel like drama in the end. Films like, The Wedding planner or How to loose a guy in 10 days are in the middle, they portray a rom-com but the jokes are pretty flat. Whereas films such as The 40 year old Virgin or The Proposal are overtly mostly funny and the romance is an afterthought. 

There are only a few films in the category of a true rom-com where there is total balance. The story flows and the jokes and banter between the two characters lost in almost love are tied to the notion of a what-if match. What if my moves land the girl, what if she likes me back. Top Hat hits the nail on the head, the roles are perfectly played and the presiding extra characters actually weave a better story than most. They create the balance we seek in rom-coms. Where all the characters work effortlessly together and your not looking for an escape route from the film. 

I wouldnt say films are bad now a days, not in the least. I would say in order to appreciate good or even mediocre rom-coms you really need to experience ones that might not be on your radar. We often don't harken back to older films ones that were made 50 to 80 years ago. This is a mistake. In order to really appreciate a good film you can'
t assume its not a third rendition of an original. My hats off too Top Hat, if only we could be so carefree in this day and age. 

Top Hat (1935) rating: Overall technique 9.2, Location 5, Believability 72% Shakespearian attitude 53.7

Hat meter: 🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩 (9)


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