Review: Cover Girl
Blu-ray + DVD: Cover Girl (1944)
New York Nightclub dancer Rusty (Rita Hayworth) has a happy life performing at her boyfriend Danny’s (Gene Kelly) club in Brooklyn, but her whole world changes once she wins the prestigious Cover Girl contest arranged by a wealthy magazine editor (Otto Kruger). Rusty’s fame brings more customers to Danny’s club but becoming a Broadway sensation ruins her relationship with him.
Also starring Sergeant Bilko actor Phil Silvers, Cover Girl was Columbia studio’s first Technicolor musical, and is proclaimed as one of the war time ‘classic’ musicals.
I love a good musical (much to Dave’s chagrin) so being able to wallow in the company of my fave dancing man (apart from Hugh Jackman of course) Gene Kelly, topped off with gorgeous Rita, I was so looking forward to seeing this film. I know ALL films follow the same story, ‘together, apart, a problem, problem resolved, happy ending’ and this is no different, and despite some great dance scenes (great, rather than spectacular) this didn’t fizzle for me. Rita and Gene just didn’t work for me as a love battered couple, and director Charles Vidor is one of the most influential directors ever (google him) yet this just falls flat.
I love seeing Gene Kelly dance, no one can match him, and Rita’s strong athletic body makes watching her dance such a different experience from all the other musical leading ladies of that era as they appear so thin and waif-like. She’s ‘solid’ and sexy, not airy-fairy, she looked like a real woman.
The underlying story is one of a woman ‘making it’ then sacrificing it all for the love of an unbending man. It’s a story of her compromise, and his unwillingness to accept change. Top this with the blatant WW2 ‘God bless America’ we’re winning the war stance, and for all its technicolour lushness, the central story itself ruined it for me. Of course this was 1944 when women would have to compromise and run back to the arms of their true love (leaving behind a glittering career and a millionaire fiancé). This isn’t a ‘classic’ musical for me, its no ‘On the Town’ or ‘Easter Parade’.
I think, despite Eve Arden’s best attempts, it lacks that comedy backbone that 40’s musicals tend to have. I find Phil Silvers, who was a massive star, annoying.
However having more or less said I didn’t like it much, it does look pretty damn 1940’s good. I’d love to see a few other 40’s musicals get a re-jig of picture and sound. All in all a great package from Masters of Cinema.
- Gorgeous High-definition presentation from a new 4K restoration
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Baz Luhrmann on Cover Girl
- Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer
- 28-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by Farran Smith Nehme