FILM 1348: TOP HAT
The finale of "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" production number with Fred Astaire miming his cane as a weapon "attacking" his supporting dancers, 13 canes were prepared for it. During shooting, Astaire, ever the unforgiving perfectionist, was continually breaking his canes in frustration at his mistakes, which concerned the crew that he was running out of them. As it turns out, the shooting of the scene was finished with the very last cane.
Character Alberto Beddini's motto was originally, "For the men the sword, for the women the whip." The script was changed to "For the women the kiss, for the men the sword" after the censors objected.
Mark Sandrich, who directed five of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, was a physicist before he got into filmmaking, and would devise blueprints for every scene, so he would know exactly where to put the cameras and the actors.
In an interview with Lee Server for the book Screenwriter: Words Become Pictures (Main Street Press, 1987), screenwriter Allan Scott said that Fred Astaire was "a helluva snob" who could be "perturbed very easily by the wrong reference." Scott said he would deliberately put in "wrong" lines for Astaire to spot and carp about in order to distract him from lines the writers did not want to lose.
Ginger Rogers' shoes had to be frequently changed, because they were often filled with blood, due to multiple takes of dance scenes.