You Were Never Lovelier

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You Were Never Lovelier
Poster - You Were Never Lovelier 01.jpg
theatrical poster
Directed byWilliam A. Seiter
Produced byLouis F. Edelman
Written byCarlos Olivari (story)
Sixto Póndal Ríos (story)
Michael Fessier
Ernest Pagano
Delmer Daves
StarringFred Astaire
Rita Hayworth
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyTed Tetzlaff
Editing byWilliam A. Lyon
StudioColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • November 19, 1942 (1942-11-19)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
 
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You Were Never Lovelier
Poster - You Were Never Lovelier 01.jpg
theatrical poster
Directed byWilliam A. Seiter
Produced byLouis F. Edelman
Written byCarlos Olivari (story)
Sixto Póndal Ríos (story)
Michael Fessier
Ernest Pagano
Delmer Daves
StarringFred Astaire
Rita Hayworth
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyTed Tetzlaff
Editing byWilliam A. Lyon
StudioColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • November 19, 1942 (1942-11-19)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Astaire and Hayworth in a publicity shot for the film

You Were Never Lovelier is a 1942 Hollywood musical romantic comedy film set in Buenos Aires. It stars Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth and features Adolphe Menjou and Xavier Cugat, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film was directed by William A. Seiter and was released by Columbia Pictures.

This, the second and last of Astaire's outings with Hayworth, avoids wartime themes, and benefits from lavish production values – a consequence of the box-office success of the earlier You'll Never Get Rich. Kern created a standard with "I'm Old Fashioned". Initially, Kern was unhappy about the selection of Cugat and his orchestra; however, when production was complete, he was so pleased with the band's performance that he presented Cugat with a silver baton. Although Hayworth had a fine voice, Harry Cohn insisted on her singing being dubbed throughout by Nan Wynn.

The film follows the usual conventions established by Astaire in his earlier musicals, such as an anti-romantic first meeting between the two leads, a virtuoso dance solo for Astaire, a playful dance duet and a romantic dance duet.

Plot[edit]

Robert "Bob" Davis (Fred Astaire) is a well-known American dancer with a weakness for betting on the horses. After he loses his money gambling in Buenos Aires, he goes looking for a job with Eduardo Acuña (Adolphe Menjou), the wealthy owner of a nightclub. Acuña, however, does not wish to see him. Bob's friend, bandleader Xavier Cugat, invites him to perform at the wedding of Acuña's eldest daughter. Acuña insists his daughters must wed in order of age, from oldest to youngest. Maria (Rita Hayworth), who is next in line, is not interested in getting married, much to the dismay of Cecy and Lita, her two younger siblings, who have boyfriends they want very much to wed.

During the reception, Bob is attracted to Maria, but his advances are rebuffed. While talking with Acuña, Bob remarks that Maria's personality is like "the inside of a refrigerator".

Aware of his younger daughters' plight, Acuña begins sending orchids and anonymous love notes to Maria to help get her in the mood. One day, when Bob once again tries to see Acuña at his office, Acuña orders the unseen Bob, mistakenly assuming him to be a bellboy, to deliver the latest note and flower. Maria, wby now is eagerly awaiting the next love letter from her secret admirer, sees Bob dropping off the note and flower and concludes that he is her suitor. When Maria sees Bob at Acuña's office, she asks her father to introduce them. He makes a deal with Bob: in exchange for a contract to perform at the club (at some later, unspecified date), Bob will court Maria and repel her with his "obnoxious" personality.

Despite Bob's efforts to disillusion Maria, the two quickly fall in love. With his plan gone awry, Acuña orders Bob to leave Buenos Aires, and composes a farewell love note on his behalf. Acuña's wife sees him writing the note at their 25th wedding anniversary party and accuses him of cheating on her with another Maria, her dear friend Maria Castro. Bob is forced to reveal the truth in front of Maria and the rest of the family. Impressed by Bob's behavior, Acuña grants him permission to court Maria. After repeated deliveries of flowers fail to accomplish anything, Bob dresses up in armor and rides in on a horse, imitating Lochinver, a fictional knight Maria had adored when she was young. This does the trick. Maria finally forgives him.

Cast[edit]

Key songs/dance routines[edit]

Dance director was Val Raset, the only time he collaborated with Astaire, and his choreographic input into the film is unclear. According to Astaire’s biography, he worked out all the numbers with Hayworth while rehearsing above a funeral parlour. Although the setting is a Latin one, Kern felt unable to compose in this style, but Astaire was determined to continue his exploration of Latin dance, which he did with the help of special arrangements by Cugat and Murphy, and the inspiration provided by the enthusiastic and talented Hayworth. This became an important counterbalance to Kern’s tendency to compose sweet, occasionally saccharine, melodies. Hayworth's performance here establishes her claim as one of Astaire’s foremost dance partners.

Awards and honors[edit]

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards:[2]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "Astaire Dances with Hayworth". Life. November 9, 1942. p. 64. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The 15th Academy Awards (1943) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]