DOWN TO EARTH (director: Alexander Hall; screenwriters: Edwin Blum/Don Hartman/from the play by Harry Segall; cinematographer: Rudolph Mate; editor: Viola Lawrence; music: George Duning/Heinz Roemheld; cast: Rita Hayworth (Terpsichore/Kitty Pendleton), Larry Parks (Danny Miller), Marc Platt (Eddie), Roland Culver (Mr. Jordan), James Gleason (Max Corkle), Edward Everett Horton (Messenger 7013); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Don Hartman; Columbia Pictures; 1947)
“It stars Rita Hayworth, looking as good as she’s ever looked.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Alexander Hall (“I Am The Law”/”She Wouldn’t Say Yes”/”Forever, Darling”) directs this big-budget splashy Technical whimsical musical that keeps the same plot and passes as a sequel to his 1941 “Here Comes Mr. Jordan.” It stars Rita Hayworth, looking as good as she’s ever looked and married at the time to Orson Welles; she was the most popular actress of the time after her hit “Gilda.” Here she costars with Larry Parks, who was recently in the well-received “The Jolson Story.” The fantasy musical is based on the play by Harry Segall and written by Edwin Blum and Don Hartman.
The plot has the goddess Terpsichore (Rita Hayworth), one of the nine Greek muses, a muse of song and dance, who is upset that young Broadway producer Danny Miller (Larry Parks) has created a vulgar Broadway jazz musical ‘Swinging the Muses’ and decides to leave heaven, with the permission of the heavenly overseer of travel, Mr. Jordan (Roland Culver), and accompanied by the Messenger 7013 (Edward Everett Horton), to visit earth in a human disguise and stay long enough to straighten out the musical and then return to Mount Parnassus.
Terpsichore appears as the mortal Kitty Pendleton and nabs the leading part in the show, and immediately starts convincing Danny to clean up the show. There’s a love connection and lots of song and dance numbers. When the show opens the way Kitty revised it, it bombs. Danny then changes it back to the original vulgar way and saves it.
The gags fall flat, the songs are not so hot and though it’s pleasant to look at there’s not much of a story. It’s much less than “Here Comes Mr. Jordan,” and much less fun. Rita’s singing was dubbed by Anita Ellis. The celestial manifestations never had much spark or conviction, and the film strains to eschew art in favor of being crowd-pleasing entertainment–a male fantasy film about a goddess.
REVIEWED ON 4/11/2007 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ