I waited a few days, but I couldn't get the song by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer--or the dance by Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire--out of my head.
Rita Hayworth is best known for her femme fatale character in Gilda, but I knew her first as a fantastic dancer in Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire musicals. When I finally saw Gilda, I preferred her sunny side.
In You Were Never Lovelier (1942), Rita plays the second-eldest daughter of a wealthy Argentine family. Her father (Adolfe Menjou) wants his four daughters to marry in order, but Rita--having not met anyone interesting yet--is holding up the line. To speed things along, he sends her flowers and gifts from a secret admirer and plans to find her a suitable husband later.
Meanwhile, Fred Astaire shows up looking for work, and Rita--of course--falls for him. Her father does not approve! Oh, the drama!
Most musicals are the same. You know how things will end and that you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But the joy is in getting there: the cheesy lines, the music, the dancing. It'll all make you smile!
Here is Rita and Fred's wonderful performance of "I'm Old-Fashioned" from You Were Never Lovelier. Fred Astaire once said that Rita was his favorite of all his dancing partners. What do you think?
© Columbia Pictures
Here, The Mother Kitty and B.J. pay tribute to Fred and Rita's beautiful dance:
[Illustration Friday: September 24, 2010]
B.J.'s a little disappointed that I cut out his lines, which he'd been practicing all day: "Sister, I was raised amongst the grasshoppers. I am strictly from corn!" But I didn't have enough room.
Don't worry, he's over it. Who complains when you get to be Fred Astaire?
Are you smiling? Warm and fuzzy? Now, this song and dance be stuck in your head all week!