Cover Girl

Thanks to TCM’s Summer Under the Stars, we found this 1944 musical comedy on Rita Hayworth Day (and it could as easily have been shown on Gene Kelly or Eve Arden Day).    The story is perhaps predictable but nevertheless charming/delightful.   Show girl Rusty (Hayworth) is dancing in a club run by Danny (Kelly) when she decides to interview for “the” magazine cover of the year, although she has absolutely no modeling experience.   Eve Arden as Cornelia dismisses Rusty as the wrong sort for Vanity magazine’s bridal cover, after Rusty has been given terrible “advice” from a friend about how to land the job. Meawhile Mr. Coudair (the publisher) is still seeking a bright and lovely unknown.  When he sees a picture of Rusty, he’s insistent on meeting her.  Thereupon, a most delightful coincidence occurs – it seems that Coudair (Otto Kruger) once loved and lost Rusty’s grandmother.  This element of the movie means that we are treated to contemporary Rusty and lovely Maribelle of the Victorian age (who could have been a Gibson model).  Rusty gets the job and becomes an overnight sensation of course, but still dances nightly at Danny’s club.  However, while Rusty still loves Danny, he doesn’t want to stand in the way of her newfound celebrity success and contrives an argument that leads to a breakup.  Eventually things sort themselves out of course as this is the quintessential musical of the 40s.   However, there are so many treats in the less than 2-hour runtime!  The music is Jerome Kern, Gene Kelly did much of his own choreography, and Rita Hayworth is a great dancer.   The supporting cast (Otto Kruger, Eve Arden, Phil Silvers) are terrific. The costumes – well, suffice it to say that this film needed three costume designers.  One might hypothesize that there had to be in order to create the lovely business attire (Eve Arden’s suits are to die for), the superb Gibson-esque period costumes for Maribelle, and of course the gowns for Rusty.   This was an unexpected gem, and we give it Top Rating/Worth the Price.

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