Thursday, July 12, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-Who Is That Rita Hayworth 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.

The first paragraph below is taken from other reviews about Rita Hayworth although the male stars are different here, except they all have a similar feature; they all are smitten, very smitten, by Ms. Hayworth’s charms. Join the line, boys:

“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. 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. 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 Were Never Lovelier. 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 Buenos Aires (although the twelve dollars spent on fake stage scene-settings made me think of little white houses with picket fences in Indiana, or someplace like that). When all is said and done, despite the machinations of Maria’s (Rita Hayworth) father (Adophe Menjou), Broadway show dance man Fred Astaire is smitten, very smitten (join the aforementioned line, the now long line, Fred) by her “Spanish” charms and her sweet coquettishness. And from there the hi-jinx really begin as all parties, wives, aunts, sisters, Christ, even grandma, and a much put upon father’s business assistant try to get this pair matched up. And as these Hollywood boy meet girl things often turn out, we will hear wedding bells before the end.

But forget the story line. This thing, like almost all Fred Astaire vehicles, 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, although less so than in the previously reviewed You’ll Never Get Rich. She is more in synch here with Fred’s moves but it is still Fred's dancing which draws the eye. As I noted before, Rita, however, has other charms, okay.

Note: The music of Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer need no further comment, nor does the work of band leader Xavier Cugat. These are all pros from the old Tin Pan Alley music days of the American songbook. Enough said

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