Q&A with critic Brian Seibert

The Astaire-Rogers formula was perfected in their fourth—and arguably finest—pairing. Top Hat whisks them from London—where Astaire annoys downstairs neighbor Rogers with a late-night tap session (“No Strings”), woos her in a rainy park pas de deux (“Isn’t This a Lovely Day”), then loses her (when she mistakes him for a married man)—to Venice, where they rekindle the spark whilst gliding “Cheek to Cheek” in five swooning minutes of Dream Factory perfection. Along the way, there’s masterful mugging from double-take king Edward Everett Horton, eye-popping high moderne sets, and Astaire playing marksman in the “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” showstopper.