YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER
(director: William A. Seiter; screenwriters: Michael Fessier/Ernest Pagano/Delmer Davies/based on the story and screenplay The Gay Senorita by Carlos A. Olivari and Sixto Pondal Rios; cinematographer: Ted Tetzlaff; editor: William Lyon; music: Jerome Kern; cast: Fred Astaire (Robert Davis), Rita Hayworth (Maria Acuna), Adolphe Menjou (Eduardo Acuna), Leslie Brooks (Cecy Acuna), Adele Mara (Lita Acuna), Catherine Craig (Julia Acuna), Isobel Elsom (Mrs. Maria Castro), Douglas Leavitt (Juan Castro), Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra (Themselves), Lina Romay (Herself), Kathleen Howard (Grandmother Acuña), Gus Schilling (Fernando ‘Fernie’, Acuña’s Secretary), Larry Parks (Tony, Lita’s Boyfriend), Stanley Brown (Roddy, Cecy’s Boyfriend); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louis F. Edelman; Columbia; 1942)
“A good Astaire romantic musical after life with Ginger, with a beautiful 24-year-old Rita Hayworth as Ginger’s replacement.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A good Astaire romantic musical after life with Ginger, with a beautiful 24-year-old Rita Hayworth as Ginger’s replacement. Rita actually lives up to the title and never looked more ravishing in a film. Astaire and Hayworth were teamed before in You’ll Never Get Rich (1941). The film was a major hit and made Rita a superstar. Director William A. Seiter (“If I Had A Million”/”Roberta”/ “Dimples”) doesn’t do much but he keeps the fluffy story gayly moving along, while the Jerome Kern-Johnny Mercer score is top-rate. Kern’s theme song and his “I’m Old Fashioned” are the film’s crown jewels and “Dearly Beloved” was recorded by Glenn Miller’s orchestra and Dinah Shore and made the hit parade. Other songs include: “Chui Chui,” “The Shorty George,” “Ding Dong Bell,” “Wedding in the Spring” and “On the Beam.” It’s based on the story The Gay Senorita by Carlos A. Olivari and Sixto Pondal Rios.
The story concerns Brittany transplant to Buenos Aires, the opinionated, old-fashioned millionaire hotel owner of the plush Hotel Acuna, Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou), and his attempt to get his attractive but cold fish second daughter Maria (Rita Hayworth) interested in romance after marrying off his oldest daughter (Catherine Craig). Pop insists on following tradition by not allowing the two younger lovesick daughters Lita (Adele Mara) and Cecy (Leslie Brooks) to wed until Maria does, which in turn makes them concerned that Maria is not interested in marrying.
NYC dancing star Robert Davis (Fred Astaire) loses a bundle while at a Buenos Aires racetrack, and is rudely rebuffed when he ask hotel owner Edwardo Acuna for a dancing job performing in his hotel’s nightclub to get fare money for back home. But through a series of mixups, Robert becomes involved with Acuna’s daughter Maria. Even though dad doesn’t care for Robert, she falls for him and the two must jump through a number of hoops before their love can be realized.
Bandleader Xavier Cugat provides the Latin beat, and Rita easily made me forget Ginger. As escapist fare it’s just dreamy.
REVIEWED ON 4/4/2009 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/