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Blu-ray & DVD Review

DVD cover

Cover Girl (1944)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £17.99 (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: U
Release Date: 13 February 2017

Although Rusty Parker has a job as a chorus dancer at Danny McGuire's Night Club she dreams of stardom on Broadway. When a competition comes up which offers the winner to be the cover girl she applies hoping that this is her way out. She makes a poor first impression due to her over enthusiasm, but unbeknownst Rusty has been spotter by the magazine’s editor who offers her a job as she bears a striking resemblance to his lost love. In fact Rusty is that woman’s granddaughter. With success within her grasp she must choose between her dreams and her boyfriend, Danny….

Cover Girl (1944. 107 min) is a musical comedy directed by Charles Vidor. The music was provided by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin. The film was Columbia Studios's first Technicolor musical.

Rita Hayworth (Rusty) was a great beauty and a highly successful screen goddess of the 1940’s especially loved by GI's who would adorn equipment with her image. As Rusty she plays a much more down to earth show girl and is able to hold her own against the main male leads.

On the plus side the film is a fine example of a wartime musical, with references to the war which would have resonated with a contemporary audience. Playing opposite Hayworth are Gene Kelly (Danny McGuire) and Phil Silvers (Genius). Kelly’s dancing once again elevates the film with his choreography and technical brilliance. Phil Silvers does what he pretty much does in every film. The restored Technicolor print is pristine, given the age of the movie, and has undergone a new 4K restoration.

On the downside, I didn’t really feel the film worked that well. Rusty reminds the wealthy John Coudair (Otto Kruger) of his lost love, so it is reasonable to assume that he may be well disposed towards her and certainly his connections allow her to finally meet Noel Wheaton (Lee Bowman) who is not only able to fulfil her dreams of stardom, but also offers to marry her.

Having Hayworth perform numbers dressed in clothes which would have been more contemporary to her grandmother was labouring the plot point of connection and repetition too much; it does not take a genius to figure out the ending of the film by the third act. Will she marry the wealthy Wheaton or return once more to Danny?

This also means that the film felt lighter than it should. Ok, it’s a musical comedy and even allowing for some good numbers, at the time it was up against Meet Me in St Louis (1944), which had a more interesting premise than relationships repeating themselves and from which sprang three standards: 'The Trolley Song', 'The Boy Next Door', and 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

The film is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1/1080 Progressive/MPEG-4 AVC with a restored and clear LPCM Mono English audio track. There are optional English subtitles. There is only one extra, Baz Luhrmann on Cover Girl (4 min, 23 sec), once again a nice scholarly piece about the film. You also get the trailer (2 min, 6 sec).

So, great dancing, a couple of really good songs and a strong cast, but for me something was missing which would elevate the movie into a classic.


Charles Packer

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Blu-ray & DVD