Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

Well, it’s February 17, and it’s time for another post of “Film Legends Of Yesteryear” featuring actress Rita Hayworth! This time, it’s her 1941 film You’ll Never Get Rich (which will be celebrating its 80th anniversary later this year), which also co-stars Fred Astaire! But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, as we’ve got a theatrical short to start everything off!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Little Rural Riding Hood (1949)

(Available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)

The city wolf invites his country cousin to the city, but cannot stop him from chasing after girls. It’s yet another take on the “Little Red Riding Hood” story by Tex Avery, although this time he throws in a parody of “The Country Mouse And The City Mouse” as well! The gags may be similar to the previous Red Riding Hood Tex Avery cartoons, what with all the wolf whistling and howling, etc. but it’s still a lot of fun! I’ll admit, it feels weird hearing Pinto Colvig voicing the country wolf, since I very much associate his voice with the Disney character Goofy, and what with all the girl chasing that his character does, it’s just so completely different from what I’m used to. But, no matter how weird it is to hear a different character with his voice, this cartoon is certainly worth a few good laughs!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Theatre owner Martin Cortland (Robert Benchley) has a thing for chasing after some of the ladies in his shows. His current target is dancer Sheila Winthrop (Rita Hayworth), and he buys her a diamond bracelet. However, she refuses it when he isn’t looking, and his wife, Julia (Frieda Inescort), finds it. He tries to alibi by saying that he bought it for his choreographer, Robert Curtis (Fred Astaire), who wanted to give it to Sheila. Julia doesn’t believe him, and threatens him with divorce. So, Martin tries to get Robert to help cover for him by going out with Sheila and giving her the bracelet (in front of Martin and Julia, of course). At first, Sheila is thrilled to go out with Robert since she has a crush on him, but when he gives her the bracelet, she leaves in a huff. However, a newspaperman had taken a photo of the two, and the next day, the headlines were that the two were practically engaged. Robert goes to her apartment to straighten everything out, but her boyfriend, Tom Barton (John Hubbard), decides to play a trick on Robert, chasing him away. He returns to the theatre, where Martin tells him that he has been drafted, much to Robert’s delight. Of course, even in the army, Robert finds himself in trouble when he dreams of Sheila and slugs the top sergeant (Donald MacBride), resulting in him being sent to the guardhouse. While he is in there, he sees Sheila outside, and tries to pass himself off as a captain inspecting the guardhouse (but, of course, she doesn’t believe him). When he gets out, he “borrows” a captain’s uniform to go visit her, but he finds himself in trouble when he discovers that Tom is a captain (and that he had “borrowed” the uniform of one of his friends). He is sent back to the guardhouse, but he is starting to get back in Sheila’s good graces again. While he is in there, Martin comes to see Colonel Shiller (Boyd Davis) and offers to put on a show for the men, with Robert’s help. Robert is enthusiastic about the idea, but he quickly learns that Martin plans to have his new mistress, Sonya (Osa Massen), be the leading lady for the show. Robert quickly puts the kibosh on that and casts Sheila instead. However, with Sonya pushing, Martin tries a different angle, by framing it so that it looks like Robert and Sonya are having an affair. At first, Sheila doesn’t believe it, but when she sees Robert’s surprise gift of the bracelet (you know, the one that started the whole mess) with Sonya’s name on it (Martin’s doing), she decides to leave both Robert and the show. To get revenge on Martin, Robert calls his wife Julia and has her come down to visit. With Sonya out of the picture, Robert convinces his friends Kewpie Blain (Guinn Williams) and Swivel Tongue (Cliff Nazarro) to create a word-of-mouth demand for Sheila to come back in the show. But, with Martin reticent to say anything about what really transpired, can Robert convince Sheila of the truth?

In 1941, Rita Hayworth was an up-and-coming star. She had scored some hits with the movies The Strawberry Blonde (for Warner Brothers) and Blood And Sand (for 20th Century Fox). But, she was under contract to Columbia Pictures (which hadn’t figured out what to do with her yet), and those two films were loan outs to rival studios. Not only that, she had been dancing professionally for years, having learned under her father Eduardo Cansino, but movie audiences didn’t exactly know it. So, when she was cast opposite famed dancer Fred Astaire (a friend of her father’s from vaudeville), she was finally given a chance to show what she could do. Not too far into the movie, they danced together, and she shows everyone that she is able to keep up with him quite easily. You’ll Never Get Rich was a success, propelling her to superstardom, and she was teamed up with Fred one more time a year later for You Were Never Lovelier.

You’ll Never Get Rich was one of three Fred Astaire musicals with a score provided by composer Cole Porter (four, if you count the song “Night And Day” being the only tune retained from the Broadway show for the film The Gay Divorcee). Of the three, I consider this the weaker score, but it’s still a lot of fun, and one or two songs usually get stuck in my head every time I watch it! And I’m certain to get a few good laughs out of Cliff Nazarro’s character of Swivel Tongue, who is prone to speaking in “double talk,” confusing some of the people he talks to. He even gets a shot at speaking it when drilling some of the other recruits (in a bit that reminds me strongly of Abbott and Costello’s “Drill Bit” routine from Buck Privates)! Sure, some things haven’t aged well, such as Robert Benchley’s theatre owner/producer and his reliance on the “casting couch” (not literal here, just referring to his chasing after some of the female cast members and offering them better roles), not to mention the wedding near the end of the movie (a little too much of a spoiler to say much else). However, it’s still a fun musical, and one I enjoy sticking on every now and then! So, I would certainly recommend seeing it!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment or individually from Twilight Time. I think both Blu-rays use the same transfer (with minor differences, if any), which is quite good. Personally, I prefer the Twilight Time release, but, for the price and overall content, the twelve film collection from Mill Creek will do in a pinch.

Film Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Broadway Melody Of 1940 (1940)Fred AstaireHoliday Inn (1942)

Music In My Heart (1940) – Rita Hayworth – You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

Nice Girl? (1941) – Robert Benchley – The Major And The Minor (1942)

Music In My Heart (1940)Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionTonight And Every Night (1945)

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Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… Music In My Heart (1940)

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)

Only Angels Have Wings (1939) – Rita Hayworth – You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

Merrily We Live (1938) – Alan Mowbray

Swing Time (1936) – Eric Blore – The Lady Eve (1941)

Balalaika (1939) – George Tobias – Sergeant York (1941)

Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionYou’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!