Welcome to my newly rebranded column for “Film Legends Of Yesteryear!” Allow me a moment to explain. Two years ago, in 2019, once a month I reviewed a movie released in the year 1939, as a celebration of that year’s 80th anniversary. While I did nothing of the sort in 2020 (since this isn’t exactly a regular column), for 2021 I will be focusing on the films of actress Rita Hayworth! Granted, it’s not a special birthday or anniversary or whatever. It’s more like I was given a set of twelve of her films for Christmas, and I didn’t feel like making her a “Star Of The Month” (and then trying to cram all twelve films into one month). So, since her birthday is on October 17, I will be posting a review of one of her films on the 17th of every month, and I am currently thinking about hosting a three-day blogathon around her birthday in October. Anyways, that’s the plan, so let’s get things started with her 1940 musical Music In My Heart, which also stars Tony Martin! Of course, we’ve got a theatrical short first, and then we’ll move on to the main feature!
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Pink Tail Fly (1965)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
An exhausted Pink Panther tries to get some sleep, but is interrupted by a persistent fly. Yeah, this type of story is certainly nothing new, and has been done many times in various fashions. Still, there is some fun to be found in the Panther’s fight against the fly, as he tries to kick the fly out of the house (and fails miserably). Worth a few good laughs to see this one periodically!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Robert Gregory (Tony Martin) is anxious about his immigration status. He fears being deported, especially since he has been the understudy for the leading man in a Broadway musical (who never seems to get sick or injured). When it’s heard that Robert will, indeed, be deported, the leading man decides to fake an illness so that he can play the part once. The show goes well, but Robert has to leave right after the performance in order to catch a boat that is sailing (and thus doesn’t have time to change out of his costume). His cab makes a mad dash for the docks, but crashes into another cab also trying to make the same boat. The passenger in the other cab, Patricia O’Malley (Rita Hayworth), is trying to make it in time to marry wealthy publisher Charles Gardner (Alan Mowbray). With one cab out of commission, they both take the one cab to the docks, but they just miss the boat. Since she learned about Robert’s immigration status, she offers him a place to stay overnight at her uncle Luigi’s (George Humbert). Meanwhile, Charles and his butler, Griggs (Eric Blore), had gotten off the boat when Patricia didn’t arrive in time, and the immigration authorities swore out a warrant for Robert’s arrest. Charles tries to get over being jilted, but finds himself still wanting to marry Patricia. The following morning, he sends Griggs to help smooth things over. Meanwhile, Robert has won over Patricia’s younger sister Mary (Edith Fellows), her uncle Luigi and restaurant owner/cook Sascha (George Tobias). While Griggs is there, Robert tries to prevent him from being successful at bringing Patricia and Charles back together (at the urging of Mary, who things Patricia should not marry Charles). Griggs thinks that Robert looks familiar, but can’t quite place him. Afterwards, Robert sings at a rally for a local politician, and proposes to Patricia (who says yes). Finally, Griggs figures out that Robert is wanted by the authorities and tells Charles. However, Charles is too much of a gentleman and doesn’t want to turn Robert over to the police. So, Griggs goes behind his back and has a special newspaper printed up (only one copy) that claims Robert had left behind a wife and children. He tries to get it in front of Patricia, who, upon seeing the story, decides to go back to Charles without explaining her reasons to Robert. Will things work out between the two, or will Robert be deported, leaving Patricia in a loveless marriage?
Music In My Heart was Rita Hayworth’s first starring role in a musical, but it hardly left much of a mark on her career. Quite frankly, the movie was intended as a vehicle for Tony Martin, who had recently left his contract with 20th Century Fox. While Rita was the film’s leading lady, it was still an unremarkable role, as Tony Martin is the only one who does much of any singing here (granted, Rita would usually lip-synch, as her singing would normally be dubbed over, but she doesn’t even do that here), and what little dancing she does here doesn’t really amount to much. Instead, more is given to some of the character actors, including Eric Blore (who had been in a few of the Astaire-Rogers films and was doing his same thing here), and George Tobias. For me, both of them managed to make their roles memorable and hilarious! I personally didn’t find the music (written by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright) to be that memorable, but it wasn’t terrible, either (with the song “It’s A Blue World” apparently becoming a hit and being nominated for an Oscar). I did enjoy this movie for what it was. It’s not great, but it’s one I don’t think I would have any problems coming back to as “comfort cinema,” I enjoyed it that much! So, it’s a movie I personally would recommend taking the time to see!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Music In My Heart (1940)
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment. The movie appears to have been given a scan in HD, but has not undergone a full-blown restoration, as there are specks and dirt here and there, and other minor issues. Still, it looks great in HD otherwise, and, for the price, is well worth it.
Film Length: 1 hour, 10 minutes
My Rating: 8/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Tony Martin – Deep In My Heart (1954)
Merrily We Live (1938) – Alan Mowbray
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