Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… Down To Earth (1947)

Well, the 17 has rolled around again, which means it’s time for another Rita Hayworth film! This time, it’s her 1947 movie Down To Earth, also starring Larry Parks! Of course, we’ve got a fun theatrical short to get the whole show started!

Playwright and actor Danny Miller (Larry Parks) has put together a show about the Greek muses. However, unbeknownst to him, the actual Greek muses hear about it, and object to how they are portrayed! In particular, Terpsichore (Rita Hayworth) is angered by this development, and decides to do something about it. Unable to go to Earth on her own, she goes to Mr. Jordan (Roland Culver), and convinces him to let her come to Earth to “help” Danny. He agrees to the idea, and sends her to Earth, with Messenger 7013 (Edward Everett Horton) along to keep an eye on her. She successfully auditions for Danny under the name Kitty Pendleton, and is given the lead role of Terpsichore. She enlists Max Corkle (James Gleason) to be her agent, and starts preparing for the show. Danny is enchanted by her, but the two keep coming to odds about how the muses are portrayed (particularly Terpsichore). After some time, Terpsichore convinces Danny to make some changes, much to the annoyance of Danny’s friend and co-star, Eddie (Marc Platt). When the show premieres out of town (with all the changes that Terpsichore made), it is poorly received, forcing Danny to go back to his original concept. At first, Terpsichore is infuriated and threatens to walk out, until Mr. Jordan shows her how Danny had indebted himself to gangster Joe Mannion (George MacReady), which would require the show to be a hit, or Danny would be killed. With this new information, she comes back to the show, ready to do things Danny’s way. But, will the show be a hit, or will Danny be murdered?

Down To Earth was intended as a vehicle for Rita Hayworth and rising star Larry Parks (then coming off his success in The Jolson Story). For a story, it was decided to make a semi-sequel to the earlier Columbia Pictures hit Here Comes Mr. Jordan (but I’ll comment on that angle in a few days). This was, for me, a very enjoyable movie! Rita Hayworth brings some of the fun as the muse Terpsichore. To be fair, though, her first scene with the other muses is, in my mind, one of the film’s weak spots, as her performance in that scene just feels off to me (but it’s quickly over, and she is otherwise good for the remainder of the movie). Her dances, while maybe not some of her best-known, are still fun to watch (even if the music is not that memorable). She has a wide variety here, from tap-dancing to Greek ballet, and some other modern dancing, and does well with all of them.

But Rita is hardly the only reason to see this movie, as I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish! James Gleason (Max Corkle) starts us off, and while the character’s occupation has changed from Here Comes Mr. Jordan (which is never fully explained why), he’s still just as fun with all the insanity that comes about because Mr. Jordan has come around again! And Edward Everett Horton is good fun as Messenger 7013, with a few memorable lines that stick with you! Dancer Marc Platt is given a bit more dancing to do than in Tonight And Every Night, which also adds to the fun. Seriously, this is a wonderful movie, and one I would indeed recommend!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Down To Earth (1947)

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment. This is my first time seeing it, but the movie looks quite good. The transfer here is much better than the previous Technicolor film in the set (Tonight And Every Night), with the colors looking much better. Admittedly, there are a few scattered shots where there is a lot of dirt and debris, but they generally last a second and they are done. One of the final scenes with Rita Hayworth and Roland Culver walking together has some issues for a few seconds, but nothing too egregious. Overall, I really liked the transfer for this movie, and I certainly would recommend it as the best way to see the movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 41 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Tonight And Every Night (1945) – Rita Hayworth – The Lady From Shanghai (1948)

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) – Edward Everett Horton – Pocketful Of Miracles (1961)

Tonight And Every Night (1945)Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionThe Lady From Shanghai (1948)

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