Dwight Taylor was the principal screenwriter in this, the first screenplay written specially for Astaire and Rogers. Astaire reacted negatively to the first drafts, complaining that "it is patterned too closely after The Gay Divorcee", and "I am cast as . . . a sort of objectionable young man without charm or sympathy or humour". Allan Scott, for whom this movie served as his first major project, and who would go on to serve on six of the Astaire-Rogers pictures, was hired by Sandrich to do the rewrites and never actually worked with Taylor, with Sandrich acting as script editor and advisor throughout. The Hays Office insisted on only minor changes, including probably the most quoted line of dialogue from the film: Beddini's motto: "For the women the kiss, for the men the sword" which originally ran: "For the men the sword, for the women the whip. " Of his role in the creation of Top Hat, Taylor recalled that with Sandrich and Berlin he shared "a kind of childlike excitement. The whole style of the picture can be summed up in the word inconsequentiality. When I left RKO a year later, Mark said to me, 'You will never again see so much of yourself on the screen. '" On the film's release, the script was panned by many critics, who alleged it was merely a rewrite of The Gay Divorcee.
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