Musical Monday: “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

richposterThis week’s musical:
You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941) –Musical #48

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Sidney Lanfield

Starring:
Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley, Osa Massen, John Hubbard, Frieda Inescourt, Guin ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Plot:
Broadway choreographer Robert Curtis (Fred Astaire) gets mixed up in the philandering of producer Martin Cortland (Benchley). Cortland buys a bracelet for a pretty chorus girl Shelia Winthrop (Hayworth) but Cortland’s wife (Frieda Inescourt) find the bracelet after Shelia refuses it. Robert gets mixed up in Courtland’s explanations to his wife, and is able to escape the confusion when he is drafted into the Army.

Trivia:
-Rita Hayworth’s first starring role in a large budget film for Columbia Pictures. It was successful at the box office and turned Hayworth into a star.
-During the filming of this movie, the famous LIFE photo of Rita Hayworth in a negligee on a bed was published, making her even more famous along with this movie.
-Nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Music, Original Score by Cole Porter for the song “Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye.” The second was for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture by Morris Stoloff.

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in "You'll Never Get Rich"

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in “You’ll Never Get Rich”

-Fred Astaire appeared in two pictures with Hayworth. This film and “You Were Never Lovelier.” Though he liked dancing with Hayworth, he didn’t want to do any more pictures with her. He wanted to get away from being associated as a team with any particular actress, such as Ginger Rogers, according to “Encyclopedia of American Cinema.”
-Astaire said Hayworth danced with “trained perfection and individuality,” according to his autobiography “Steps in Time: An Autobiography.”
-The film had a working title of “He’s My Uncle,” according to “The Complete Lyrics Of Cole Porter.”

The Stars on the Film:
Rita Hayworth on the film:
-“The brass at Columbia had forgotten the fact that I was a dancer, until Fred Astaire, who knew my background, reminded them,” Rita Hayworth is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “When Fred came to Columbia to make ‘You’ll Never Get Rich,’ they asked who they wanted as a dancing partner. Fred asked for me! That surprised me, but Fred knew what he was about. He knew my work. The film was a huge success and as a result, I was loaned out to Fox for ‘My Gal Sal.'”

Fred Astaire on the film:
Rita danced with trained perfection and individuality. Of course, she knew through experience what the dancing business was all about,” Fred Astaire is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “That was apparent when I started working with her. I enjoyed making both ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’ and ‘You Were Never Lovelier‘ because of Rita.”

“She’s a natural. She’s constantly surprising me. Nothing is too difficult for her. She watches, goes up, practices up and the next day she has it perfect,” in the Oct. 1941, “Born to Dance-Together” in Movie Stars Parade.

Highlights:
-The film begins with Robert Benchley riding in a vehicle. He tells the chauffeur to slow down and we see the credits in the form of billboards along the road.
-The first musical number is an interesting dance number that mixes modern dance and tap dancing together.

-Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth’s duet tap dance at the beginning of the film when Astaire is showing her how to do a dance in the show. The number show’s off just how good a dancer Hayworth is.

-Popular 1940s singer Martha Tilton shows up at the end as a specialty performance for the “Wedding Cake Walk” number.

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing "The Wedding Cake Walk."  (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing “The Wedding Cake Walk.” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Notable Songs:
-Shootin’ the Works for Uncle Sam sung by Fred Astaire
-The Wedding Cake Walk sung by Martha Tilton

My Review:
The biggest point of interest with “You’ll Never Get Rich” is this is the film that made Rita Hayworth a star and showed Fred Astaire could have other dancing partners besides Ginger Rogers.
While Fred Astaire sings a few songs and we hear two songs from the Four Tones group, this musical seems to focus more on dancing. It’s a vehicle for Rita Hayworth, showing off how good of a dancer she is, so she isn’t dubbed like she is in musicals in the future.
The plot is a bit zany and runs on miscommunication jokes, however it’s a fairly cute and entertaining film. The thing that stands out the most are the excellent dancing numbers with Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the "So Near and Yet So Far" number.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the “So Near and Yet So Far” number.

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Classic Christmas Addiction

Part of why I love Christmas is getting to watch my favorite classic holiday films such as “Christmas in Connecticut”, “White Christmas” and “Remember the Night.”

But I also love looking at Christmas related photos with classic actors and actresses.

Every day since December 1, I’ve been posting a Christmas related photo on Comet Over Hollywood’s Facebook Page, and searching for the day’s photo can be an addicting task.

Even long after I find the photo of the day, I keep browsing-marveling at the ridiculousness of vintage Christmas photos.

I’ve found these classic photos can be divided into categories. Here are some examples:

Glamour: These photos show actors looking beautiful and wealthy at their homes during Christmas.

gina

Gina Lollabrigida looking glamorous in her Christmas tree

Copy of Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

glam paulette goddard

Paulette Goddard

glam jean harlow1

Jean Harlow

glam Anite Page

Anita Page in 1932

glam christmas jennifer jones

Jennifer Jones

Adorable and cute: These involve child actors or actresses looking sweet and angelic. 

cute jackie cooper

Jackie Cooper

Bacall And Bogart

The Bogart: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen.

cute leslie

Joan Leslie

cute keatons

Buster Keaton and Natalie Talmadge with Junior and Bob

cute our gang

The children of Our Gang

cuteNatalie Wood

Little Natalie Wood

cute Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple in 1935

cute Priscilla Lane

Priscilla Lane

rita hayworth

Rita Hayworth

Ridiculous or funny: Photos that try way to hard to make a photo Christmasy or make it a sexy Christmas photo.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don't even understand what's happening.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don’t even understand what’s happening.

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford flirting with Santa in 1932

Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh with a Christmas tree hat

Esther Williams

Esther Williams in unreasonable winter clothing

funny Maureen Osullivan

Maureen O’Sullivan…..dressed as a choir boy.

funny Margaret Obrien

Margaret O’Brien…wrapped as a package?

funny Clifton Webb

Clifton Webb as the most unlikely Santa Claus

Visit Comet for more holiday fun this month!

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Actress Beauty Tip #24: Rita Hayworth olive oil hair rinse

This is the twenty-fourth  installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.  

This post is  part Day 8 TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon for Rita Hayworth Day on TCM. 

Rita Hayworth in the 1940s

Rita Hayworth is best known for her beautiful, flowing red hair.  The love goddess was one of the most beautiful actresses of the 1940s and 1950s and caused an outrage when she cut her long hair short and dyed it blond for “Lady from Shanghai.” Her hair cut was part of the reason the movie failed in the box offices.

I’ve always wanted to look more like Rita Hayworth, who is one of my favorite actresses, but I didn’t go as far as dying my hair from blond to auburn. Instead, tried something that kept Hayworth’s locks looking lush.

Hayworth used to condition her hair with oil after shampooing for shine and softness, according to Glamour magazine.

As someone with oily hair, I balked at this beauty tip. But tried it anyways.

This is what I did, as instructed by Glamour:

WARNING: This will leave your shower slippery due to the olive oil, so make sure to use soap to clean your shower afterwords. I’ll admit, I almost fell a few times.

1. I shampooed my hair (shampoo of choice-Drama Clean by Herbal Essences) and rinsed.
2. Poured a large amount of olive oil in my hand and worked it through my hair.
3. Wrapped my wet hair in a towel with the olive oil in it, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
4. Rinsed my hair with hot water. Then used a small amount of shampoo to wash out the oil.
5. Poured lemon juice over my hair to cleanse my hair of the remainder oil out. Rinse.
6. Dried hair with hair dryer.

At the end of it all, my hair felt a little bit oily, but not as much as expected. It ended up feeling very soft and flowy. I tested the beauty tip in the evening and washed my hair again this morning. I still felt like I could see a difference in softness after being washed again.

To review:  While reviewing actress beauty tips I’ve rinsed my hair with champagne, taken a milk bath and exfoliated with sugar, but none of that bothered me as much as putting olive oil in my hair. Though it left my hair soft and silky, it was too much of a mess to actually use in my daily life. I also had planned on this to be a two-part beauty tip, ending with a Rita Hayworth hair style tutorial. However, I was concerned the lemon juice left my hair too dry and didn’t want to risk using a curling iron.

Make sure to read out other posts on Rita Hayworth during the TCM Summer Under the Stars blogathon at http://scribehardonfilm.wordpress.com/ and http://sittinonabackyardfence.com/ for the month long classic film celebration!

Stop by back in September for another classic actress beauty tip.

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Actress beauty tip #9: Red, red lips

This is the ninth installment of my monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have tested.  This month I’m actually on time!

Rita Hayworth wore Max Factor Rose Red. Lana Turner wore Elizabeth Arden’s Victory Red.

Rita Hayworth in Max Factor lipstick ad

The 1940s and 1950s was a time of minimal eye make-up and concentration on the lips.  Popular lip colors during the 1940s were pink red, bright red, cherry red or deep red, according to a 20s-to-40s make-up guide.

Rita Hayworth in particular was known for her red lipstick, along with her long red finger nails. The lipstick was a style constant from the 1930s to the 1960s for Hayworth. She was also involved in a 1949 Max Factor lipstick advertising campaign. Hayworth’s lips were even voted the best in the world by the Artist’s League of America.

Bright red lipstick looks beautiful on many other actresses including Betty Grable, Linda Darnell and Gene Tierney.

However, I think the bright reds are a hard look to pull off today. I’m not sure why people of the 1940s and 1950s look naturally better with bright red lipstick than people today. Maybe it’s their complexion. Maybe its because we emphasize eyes more with liner, mascara and shadow now.

But red lipstick is so enticing. It makes you feel powerful, feminine and glamorous. I bought two Maybelline lipstick shades on a whim: Are You Red-dy and Peachy Scene.

Though I’ve worn red lipstick out, I look horrible. I don’t really know anyone who looks good with red lipstick. It either doesn’t go with their skin tone or they put on gobs of lipstick without bothering to blot it.

To review: Red lipstick may look great on Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth in the 1940s, but its hard to recreate this pin-up look while looking fabulous at the same time. I personally look better in peach and pink shades. Approach bright shades of red lipstick with caution.

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Once more, Miss Grable?

Top pin-ups of WW2: Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth

Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth.

The two pin-up girls that almost all soldiers pinned on their barracks and hearts during World War II.  The two glamour girls duked it out to be Number 1 pin-up thanks to two famous LIFE photos.  Betty with her coy over the shoulder bathing suit glance, and Rita perched on a bed in lacy negligee.

Both women were no doubt enviously beautiful but in very different ways. Hayworth had major glamorous sex appeal. Long wavy red hair, a slender figure and smoldering beauty.  Grable’s sparkling eyes, blonde hair and sunny smile gave way to an all-American girl look.  In the 1940s Time magazine said, “She can lay no claims to sultry beauty or mysterious glamour.  Her peach-cheeked, pearl blonde good looks add up to mere candy- box-top prettiness.” 

This was no doubt the reason Grable was the top pin-up girl.  She had attainable beauty that soldiers could find in their wives and childhood sweethearts.

But though Grable wins in the pin-up photo battle, she may lose in other areas.

I adore Betty Grable so in the past week I’ve been watched both “Springtime in the Rockies” (1942), “Song of the Islands” (1942) and assorted YouTube clips of Betty. While watching these, I’ve noticed something that very much disturbs me. Betty Grable isn’t the best dancer.

In “Rockies” her dance numbers were good but not exciting. In “Song of the Islands” I felt like her hula dancing was a bit haphazard.  She almost frantically waved her arms and hips around. I will say the sand that she was dancing on looked like a hindrance. I was pleased to note that several of her hula moves were authentic based off my “Island Girll” work out DVDs.

In comparison, a recent clip I watched of Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942) or Hayworth dancing solo in “Down to Earth” (1947) were impressive to say the least.  Her moves were graceful and well thought out, and footwork was complicated but done with ease.  Hayworth was an excellent tap dancer, but-to be fair- she also had the upper hand since she was part of her father’s dance troop.

Grable can really sell a song and do a fun dance number, but when compared to her contemporaries like Rita Hayworth- Grable really falls short.

Here are too numbers I found to compare their dancing styles.

I chose these two clips for specific reasons:
1. Both Grable and Hayworth are wearing pants, so you can see their feet better
2. They are both meant to look like practice routines
3. Hermes Pan and Fred Astaire have very similar dancing styles

Betty Grable and Hermes Pan in “Footlight Serenade” (1942):

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941):


Both dance well, but I think Rita does a better job.  Astaire and Hayworth seem to be on the same skill level in their number while Pan is much more graceful than Grable.

What do you think?

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