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25 June 2011

You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

I got some stick for watching this film. But you know what... I don't care! My wife had been watching the finals of the World Arm-Wrestling Championships live from the Scunthorpe Majestic. But when she popped out some for more beer... I took my chance and dug out a Fred Astaire DVD...

Fred Astaire chills out watching the Xaviar Cugat Band in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942
Fred Astaire chills out watching the Xaviar Cugat Band
in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942

This afternoon I watched the black and white classic that is "You Were Never Lovelier". This was the second time Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth had been paired together on the silver screen, and what a pairing!

Fred Astaire sings with Rita Heyworth in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942
Fred Astaire sings with Rita Heyworth
in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942

To put it into context: It was 1942; America was at war with Japan. Fred had recently joined Columbia after a stint at Paramount and although there had been talk at the studio of making the film colour, it never eventuated. Rita was hot property in her own right, but here she was again taking up the daunting challenge of replacing Ginger Rogers. It wouldn't be long before she was the undisputed Forces' Sweetheart.

Fred Astaire dances with Rita Heyworth in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942
Fred Astaire dances with Rita Heyworth
in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942

Well, you wouldn't realise any of this watching the film. The location is Argentina and the plot is as far removed from current events as you can get. Fred stars as Robert Davis a New York dancer with a liking for the horses who is desperately trying to tap Eduardo Acuna (played by Adolphe Menjou) for a dancing job at Acuna's club.

Only Acuna is more interested in finding a husband for his daughter, the frosty Mari Acuna, played by Rita Heyworth. Cue Fred Astaire getting caught up in Acuna's intricate plan and coming out on top. It's corny; It's old fashioned; And it's fantastic!

Fred Astaire dances for Eduardo Acuna in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942
Fred Astaire dances for Eduardo Acuna
in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942

I'm not afraid to say that I really enjoyed myself. The story's a bit cheesy, but I liked it. Rita is a hottie and Fred is as smooth as ever. All the outfits are great. Fred's suits are dapper and his footwork is fast and furious. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the dance routines are the best I've seen him do, but they hit the mark. The same is true of the music; Jerome Kern writes, but on screen we get to see Xavier Cugat and his Band. Check out the guy on the maracas. If he doesn't make you want to be Spanish then nobody will!

The Xaviar Cugat Band in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942
The Xaviar Cugat Band
in You Were Never Lovelier, Columbia 1942

On the Triple-B, I'm going to send 8 orchids to the lovely Rita and hope she picks me. This is the perfect Sunday diversion. Buy it!

2 comments:

  1. Rita's lovely. Fred moves just fine. There are some good laughs. Good, light entertainment.

    ReplyDelete