Cover Girl (1944) (NTSC)
Featurette-Baz Luhrmann on Cover Girl (4:18)
Trailer-The Pillars of the Earth (1:55).
|Year Of Production||1944|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Charles Vidor|
Jerome Kern / Ira Gershwin
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Rusty Parker (Rita Hayworth) is a dancer and singer at Danny McGuire’s (Gene Kelly) place in Brooklyn; another vaudeville act there is her friend, comedian Genius (Phil Silvers). Danny and Rusty are in love but Rusty feels dissatisfied so when her fellow dancer Maurine (Leslie Brooks) notices that Vanity Magazine are looking for a new face to be their cover girl for their special anniversary wedding edition and goes to try out, Rusty also decides to go. The magazine is owned by John Coudair (Otto Kruger) but the interviews are conducted by his rather cynical assistant Cornelia Jackson (Eve Arden), nickname “Stonewall”, and neither of the girls impress her. However, time is running out so as Maurine is a possibility John and Cornelia that night go to Danny McGuire’s to see the show. Where John is dumfounded when he sees Rusty for she is the exact image of a woman he loved and lost 40 years ago. They leave a message asking Rusty to come next day to the magazine.
It turns out that the woman John fell in love with was Rusty’s grandmother Maribelle (also Rita Hayworth), who had also been a singer and dancer. He decides that Rusty will be the magazine’s cover girl and the photoshoot takes place, making Rusty an overnight sensation and bringing customers in droves to Danny’s place to see her perform. One such person is Noel Wheaton (Lee Bowman), wealthy owner of a large theatre on Broadway, who wants Rusty to headline his latest extravaganza. He also falls in love with Rusty, fostering jealousy, resentment and misunderstandings between Rusty and Danny that threatens their love. Of course, Cover Girl being a romantic musical with comedy, it is no spoiler to reveal that it all works out in the end.
After appearing with Fred Astaire in a couple of films including You Were Never Lovelier in 1942, Rita Hayworth’s next film was Cover Girl with the other superstar male dancer of the period Gene Kelly. At this stage Kelly was not fully in his ascendency (he was Oscar nominated the next year for Anchors Aweigh (1945) but his star would really soar a few years later with classic films such An American in Paris (1951) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952)) but even so he still had complete control of the Cover Girl dance sequences. By now, however, Rita was the top female star at Columbia so she receives top billing, gets to sing (or rather her character does as Hayworth’s singing voice was dubbed by Martha Mears), play both light comedy and dramatic scenes, although she is not fully convincing as either a drunk or as a dramatic actress, and dance, both by herself without a male lead on screen and with others including Gene and Phil Silvers, where her presence on screen is stunning. In Technicolor she looks gorgeous, her trademark long red hair flying as she dances.
Hayworth is supported by a very strong cast. Kelly is athletic, handsome and charismatic, Phil Silvers, later of Sergeant Bilko fame as well as appearing in hit films like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), is funny and dances very well indeed, while Eve Arden, shortly afterwards Oscar nominated for her performance in Mildred Pierce (1945) but later better known for her Emmy winning role in the long running TV series Our Miss Brooks (1952-56), is wryly funny in Cover Girl, getting most of the best lines. Cover Girl was directed by Charles Vidor who has an impressive resume among his 36 listed credits on the IMDb. He directed Hayworth twice more, in Gilda (1946), perhaps Rita’s most iconic role, and The Loves of Carmen (1948); among his other films is A Farewell to Arms (1957).
Cover Girl is a Technicolor extravaganza, the first Columbia musical to be shot in colour. The result is, simply put, amazing The colours in the costumes are vibrant reds, blues, greens and gold, the chiffons simmer, the production numbers are a kaleidoscope of colour and movement. The cinematographers Allen M. Davey and Rudolph Mate were nominated for an Oscar but lost out to Leon Shamroy for a now forgotten film produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, Wilson. It might be noted that Shamroy did win another three (perhaps more deserving Oscars) for The Black Swan (1942), Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and, two decades later, for Cleopatra (1963). Cover Girl was nominated for 5 Oscars, including sound, art direction (again losing out to Wilson), best song for the Jerome Kern / Ira Gershwin song Long Ago and Far Away but it did win best score for the (uncredited) Carmen Dragon and Morris Stoloff.
Cover Girl is on the cusp of those more familiar “realistic” musicals such as those of Rodgers and Hammerstein that became popular in the 1950s. Thus in Cover Girl there are elaborate and extravagant stage production numbers as well as more “realistic” routines in the street set such as the sequences danced by Hayworth, Kelly and Silvers as well as a sequence danced by Kelly that is a precursor of his famous dance in Singin’ in the Rain, but without the rain. In any case, the combination of Hayworth and Kelly worked a charm and Cover Girl was the highest grossing Columbia film for 1944. It remains a spectacular, colourful and fun musical.
Cover Girl is presented in Technicolor in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is not16x9 enhanced.
There is something special about those old Technicolor films that can never be duplicated. Cover Girl looks simply gorgeous. The colours on the gowns and costumes are rich and vibrant, chiffon colours shimmer and there is a wonderful depth of field with both foregrounds and backgrounds strongly detailed. Skin tones can be somewhat lush and rosy and a couple of scenes feel overbright if one is being picky. Blacks are solid, shadow detail very good. There may have been some minute marks that were hardly noticeable and the picture was solid in motion.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are provided.
The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.
The dialogue is easy to hear. When a single person is singing the audio sound is rather thin but the sound of the tap dancing and the orchestra in the production numbers comes over loud and clear. Other effects are minimal.
There was no hiss or crackle.
Lip synchronisation is generally fine with an occasional lapse during singing.
|Surround Channel Use|
Australian director Baz Luhrmann, who is certainly no stranger to spectacular dance and music routines in his films, discusses Rita Hayworth’s presence on screen as a dancer and as a performer.
Includes a montage of Columbia’s films The Treasures of Columbia Classics (3:34) and a trailer for the 8 part Starz miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (1:55).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Cover Girl is available in other regions in both stand-alone DVDs , a UK Blu-ray and as part of various DVD collections of the films of Rita Hayworth. None of the DVDs have more than the short Baz Luhrmann piece as extras. This release of the film is as part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection which collection itself forms part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. See the summary section below.
By the time Cover Girl was made Rita Hayworth was a bona-fide star, the most popular Columbia female star and apparently a favourite pin-up girl for the American forces overseas. Cover Girl is colourful and extravagant, a rousing Technicolor musical entertainment with dancing, singing, chorus lines, a touch of glamour and a romance, the pairing of Hayworth and Kelly working a treat and making a killing at the box office. It remains a charming, entertaining old fashioned romantic musical.
The Technicolor video is stunning, and this film is almost 75 years old film! The audio is the original mono. A trailer is the only extra.
Cover Girl is included in the 12 disc / 12 film set The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection itself comprises the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection and the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection Two. Both of these individual Collection packs have been released previously. If you have an interest in the stars or musicals and have not picked up the earlier releases, this collection is great value.
The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|