Thursday, 9 February 2017

Cover Girl (5 Stars)

It's about time I watched this again. What a wonderful film! The world was at war, English and German cities were in ruins, but there was still light in the world, thanks to Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth. Phil Silvers also deserves a mention. He's hardly someone who would be considered a musical star, but "Cover Girl" shows that he had astounding proficiency as a tap dancer.

"Cover Girl" was made in 1944. It was obviously a film intended to promote Rita Hayworth, who was the number one pin up girl of the American armed forces during the Second World War. Nevertheless, it was Gene Kelly who was the film's real star. He was still at the beginning of his film career, but he overshadowed everyone else whenever he appeared on the screen.

Gene Kelly plays Danny McGuire, the owner  of a small musical theatre in Brooklyn. His best friend and business partner is a piano player called Genius (Phil Silvers). His lover is the star of his show, the dancer Rusty Parker (Rita Hayworth). Like all aspiring young actresses and dancers she wants to be on the cover of a big magazine. She's chosen from hundreds of applicants to be photographed for the cover of Variety magazine. This is her stepping stone to success. She's offered a job in a Broadway theatre, which she gladly accepts, despite her relationship with Danny. After an argument they break up. Rusty becomes an instant success, and people stream into the Broadway theatre to see her. Without Rusty people stay away from Danny's theatre, and he's forced to close down.

Of course, the film isn't carried only by the story. The song and dance numbers are just as important, maybe more important. The musical scenes are overwhelming, whichever one of the three main stars is dancing. This is one of Gene Kelly's lesser known films, but it's essential viewing.

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