Let's face it - we all want Ginger Rogers' cinematic wardrobe, ja?
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Top Hat (1935).
Ginger’s coat at the end of Top Hat is a perfect example of something that works on an emotional level rather than a narrative level. A coat signifies that the hero can finally take his noble exit, that the lovers are together; it is all very “we gotta get out while we’re young/’cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!” Even before Dale and Jerry start dancing, the coats signify they are finally together, and I for one get a little thrill as soon as I see them (I also really like coats).
But….make the terrible mistake of actually THINKING about this movie and the coat makes no sense. It is 1) resort season in Venice; 2) Dale was wearing shorts and sheer things a few scenes before; 3) our heroes were dancing in the EXACT SAME PLACE a few minutes ago without their coats; 4) why are they leaving a gorgeous art deco resort? 5) maybe the place is too unpleasant after the emotional trauma of Dale’s fake marriage? 6) that seems unlikely, considering the girl was fake-married to a probably gay man for a couple of hours and the whole thing was imaginary and unconsummated; 7) Jerry does have to get back to his show in London, but the weekend isn’t over; 8) isn’t it the middle of the night? Bad time to catch a water plane; 9) our heroes must be getting pretty hot, considering they are dancing vigorously.
See! The coat makes no sense. But who cares! If there is one movie for us to submit to feelings of joy and delight, it is Top Hat. Enjoy the dance, be happy that our toe-tapping sweethearts have found someone to dance to the strains of the catchy Piccolino, and spend a fruitless hour online trying to find a coat just like this.