From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- Who Is That Fred Astaire Is Dancing With?
Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of a scene with Fred Astaire dancing in You’ll Never Get Rich.
Okay, let me bring you up to speed on the obscure meaning of the headline. See, a while back I was smitten by a film star, an old time black and white film star from the 1940s, Rita Hayworth. (Yes, the one who Tim Robbins puts son his lonely prison wall to hide his doings in The Shawshank Redemption. The film that sent me into a tailspin: the black and white noir classic Gilda where she played a “good” femme fatale who got in a jam with a no good monomaniacal crook. But that part is not important femme fatales, good or bad, get mixed up with wrong gees all the time. It’s an occupational hazard. We can discuss that matter more fully some other time. What is important though is that I got all swoony over lovely, alluring Rita. And as happens when I get my periodic “bugs” I had to go out and see what else she performed in. Of course Lady From Shang-hai came next. There she plays a “bad” blondish femme fatale (against a smitten Orson Welles). And now this film under review, You’ll Never Get Rich. We are caught up.
Now the plot line here, the never-ending boy meets girl plot line that Hollywood mass-produced (and mass-produces) is pretty simple, except that it takes place in getting ready for World War II America and so military preparedness is part of the backdrop (although obvious this is before Pearl Harbor, after that event such shenanigans would seem unpatriotic). Broadway show dance man Fred Astaire is smitten, very smitten (join the line, the long line,Fred) by chorine dancer Rita who also has a string of other men eating out of her hand, the important one being Fred’s devilish Broadway boss, a married, a very married, skirt-chaser. And from there the hi-jinx begin leading to Fred’s departure for the army as a refuse, and eventually, as those old time Hollywood boy meet girl things often did to the altar (in an unusual way here though, I‘d say).
But forget the story line here. This thing, and righteously so, is strictly about Fred’s dancing, dancing alone, dancing with a partner, dancing up a wall (oops that was another film) but dancing with so much style it is impossible to keep your eyes off him (saying how did he do that all the while). For style, grace, and physical moves every one of those guys you see on shows like Dancing With The Stars, well, just tell them to move on over, and watch a real pro. Hey, wait a minute, what about Rita? Ya, what about her. Here she is just along for the ride. She almost looks “clumsy” compared to Fred. She, however, has other charms, okay.