Cover GirlCover Girl
(Charles Vidor, 1944)
is mostly a vehicle for Rita Hayworth's talents (dancing, not singing; she was always dubbed over). But, Kelly is her equal in the film to me. Not that he does much more than he usually does, it's just I find him more interesting to watch than I do Hayworth. She doesn't really do much for me. Sure, Hayworth is fun to watch or whatever but I don't think I like her very much. She reminds me of Judy Garland. I think it's her hair. I don't like her hair. whoa, roujin, your criticisms are incredible! Anyway, the story's basically about how Hayworth wins some contest and gets to be the cover girl of this one magazine. This brings lots of business to the club that she works at (and which Kelly owns). However, all this fame leads to offers for her to move up to Broadway and she must decide if she wants to stay at Kelly's place (who happens to be her boyfriend) or move on to greener pastures. *shrug*
The film begins with a dance number that I've already forgotten. Hayworth dances along with the girls while Kelly watches from the side of the stage; a little bemused, a little embarrassed. He's dressed sharp and he's fit, like always. A damn handsome man.
Kelly is not really present in the early moments of the film. This is, after all, Hayworth's film. The early parts are the film concern Hayworth auditioning to be the cover girl, meeting some other dumb characters, whatever. Mostly Kelly just stands around being the boss (hello, Andy Samberg!) and haranguing the girls. Like a boss.
I don't know. It just seems so boring. I particuarly did not like the flashback stuff to Hayworth's grandma (also played by Hayworth). Just seemed like a way to pad out the movie with more numbers. They're enjoyable, but pretty unremarkable, I think.
There are some highlights, however. One of them is the "Make Way For Tomorrow" number. Silvers, Hayworth and Kelly go out into the night joyously, turn from the police, goof around with some young lovers, dance with the milk man, help a drunkard. It's their best moment together. And it almost makes me like Silvers. Almost.
Oh, yeah, there's the guy that plays the Donald O'Connor role in the film, Phil Silvers. He's pretty annoying. I mean, just look at him:
Anyway, the number "Put Me to the Test" is a little too similar to "Nina," (from The Pirate
) both musically and how Kelly goes from girl to girl dancing and seducing each one. Kelly would go on to top himself in The Pirate
but this is a nice test run for that. I think the similarity is in the way that Kelly sings "Put meee" and "Ninaaaaa." You decide.
"Long Ago (and Far Away)" is interesting only because it's as elegiac and flowing as the film gets and it isn't that much. They dance among the tables of their joint enraptured in their love while Silvers plays on the piano.
"Poor John" is another one of the flashback songs. The song is a mockery of one of the film's characters from another. Hayworth sings the song about her suitor and his mother. It's mean as CINECAST! and pretty funny.
While a lot of the numbers have things that are interesting or funny or whatever, only one of them is amazing. That number is "Alter-Ego Dance." Kelly literalizes his own inner conflict by having his reflection jump out from the glass window and into the street to try and control the real Kelly. According to Dave Kehr, Stanley Donen shot this entire sequence and it's as good as anything in Singin' in the Rain
to me. So damn creative and funny. Sometimes it's a little kind of iffy in that the trick isn't perfect. The bit is so damn mobile, too, going from the lower level, up the stairs and down the fire pole, culminating like in a show of dominance that's preceded by both of the Kellys mastery of those goddamn twirls that he does. In For Me And My Gal
, the twirls were sloppy because he was playing a bum character, but now they're all athletic and vigorous and awesome. It's too bad the rest of the film isn't at this level.
The 2nd best part of the film is the showcase of the Cover Girls. It basically turns into a display of all these pretty girls with one half of the screen showing which cover they're in and the other one having them look all pretty and hot for roujin. I can't ask for anything more. Plus, the transitions it uses when showing the girls is pretty cool. Pretty inventive and fun to look at.
Anyway, whatever, Kelly is fine in the film. Again, he doesn't really convince in the non-dancing parts of the film. Not because he can't act, but just because it's not a particularly interesting role. The film is marked down by these really dumb plot stuff that I couldn't care less about. I mean, you got your old millionaire trying to relive his youth, a more successful man trying to win the affectation of Hayworth and take her away from the guy who isn't that successful, you got bullshit, you got this movie. And, Rita Hayworth gets drunk. That matters, right?
Whatever, you don't own me, Kelly. I don't have to like everything you're in. Let's just take a picture together and make up.
Oh, apparently Kelly plays the same character that he does here in Xanadu