Friday, November 28, 2014

You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

Love sure is complicated in You Were Never Lovelier.

Robert Davis (Fred Astaire) heads to Buenes Aires. A gambling man, he puts his cash on a horse that barely shows up to race.

Wanting work, he tries to meet hotel owner Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou). Davis already has an in. He knows hotel band leader Xavier Cugat (playing himself). The hoofer finds a friendly face with Acuna's secretary, Fernando (Gus Schilling), but can't stir Eduardo's interest.

The businessman has his own troubles. One daughter is married, but the next, Maria (Rita Hayworth), isn't interested in any suitors. That distresses sisters Cecy (Leslie Brooks) and Lita (Adele Mara) who are eager to tie the knot. Pops decides to pique Maria's interest by writing a series of notes from a secret admirer. Davis, still looking for work, gets himself involved in the masquerade. The aura of mystery from her would-be suitor intrigues Maria. She gave Davis the brush off before because of some poor choices on his part ("I opened my mouth too wide and kept it open too long."), but is now interested when it looks like he's the one who's pitching woo. "I'm beginning to wonder what he's like," she suggests.

Davis warms to his assignment, but finds himself at the mercy of Eduardo who's less than keen to see his daughter pair off with him.

Hayworth looks divine. Fred works his magic on the dance floor. Menjou gets plenty of great lines dissing others, mainly Davis and the often fired Fernando. "You're as beautiful as ever," he tells his wife Delfina (Barbara Brown). "It just takes longer now."

You Were Never Lovelier is light, pleasant fare.

RATING: 7.5/10

FUN FACTS: William Seiter also directed Astaire in 1935's Roberta.

Leslie Brooks was a chorus girl in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Gus Schilling was also in Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil.

You Were Never Lovelier was nominated for three Oscars - best song, recording and score.

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