you were never lovelier, 1942 (dir. william a. seiter, starring: fred astaire and rita hayworth)
rita hayworth plays maria, a middle sister of 4, who is not susceptible to romantic sentiments. the older sister is married off in the beginning of the film and the two younger sisters can’t get married until maria is betrothed in some sort of argentinian tradition. maria has no desire to find love and is in no rush to appease her younger sisters or her tycoon father who can’t wait to “dispose” of his girls. in an effort to thaw her “ice cube of a heart,” her father creates a pretend secret suitor and sends flowers and love letters to his daughter. she starts to warm to the idea after a couple of the mushy notes, a bit too quickly for my taste. i was just starting to admire maria for her no nonsense and aloof attitude towards romance.
the father’s plan gets complicated when robert (fred astaire) enters the picture. having met at the oldest sister’s wedding, maria assumes the letters are from robert. robert has been hounding the tycoon father for a job singing and dancing in his clubs. the father changes course and strikes a deal with robert. misunderstandings and shenanigans abound.
rita hayworth is her usual lovely self. she captivates when she’s on screen. fred astaire is effective as the ambitious new yorker and leading man. the singing and dancing is entertaining although some of the songs are a bit subdued. i enjoy watching astaire in more active numbers. adolph menjou is funny as the cantankerous meddling father. i did find it odd and distracting that the actors that make up the argentine family are not latin looking in any way. one of the sisters is of spanish ancestry and hayworth is the daughter of a spanish dancer, but that’s the extent of it. the father, who does have an ethnic look, is french irish. i felt a little foolish when the script addresses that and mentions that the families roots are french scottish. it was nice to see that they weren’t trying to pull one over on the audience. the latinesque 40’s music is nice, the clothes are stylish and the love story is pleasant. hayworth is always a pleasure to watch, although she has been lovelier when given roles with a bit more depth, like her famous turn as gilda. all in all it’s a fun, light, classic, song and dance rom com even if it is a bit of fluff.
eye roll rating: 2 (on account of the fluff)