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You'll Never Get Rich (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  25 September 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,477 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 6 critic

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in ... See full summary »



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Robert Benchley ...
Martin Cortland
John Hubbard ...
Tom Barton
Frieda Inescort ...
Mrs. Cortland
Kewpie Blain (as Guinn Williams)
Donald MacBride ...
Top Sergeant
Cliff Nazarro ...
Swivel Tongue
Marjorie Gateson ...
Aunt Louise
Ann Shoemaker ...
Mrs. Barton
Boyd Davis ...
Colonel Shiller


After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in the middle of the boss's scheme. Army conscription offers Robert the perfect escape from his troubles- or does it? Written by Diana Hamilton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Exciting loveliness and rhythm in a star-spangled army musical!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 September 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

He's My Uncle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The language that Swivel Tongue (Cliff Nazarro) uses was called "double talk" and was a popular fad during WW2. See more »


As Fred Astaire and Robert Benchley are discussing the upcoming show they pass several soldiers who are working with shovels. Though the soldiers are supposed to be breaking up clods and smoothing the dirt the shovels never come within six inches of the ground. See more »


Martin Cortland: Do anything so long as you make my wife believe I was telling the truth when I was lying to her!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented as a series of roadside advertising signs observed by one of the characters. See more »


Featured in Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance (1980) See more »


Boogie Barcarolle
Written by Cole Porter
Danced by Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth and chorus at rehearsal
See more »

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User Reviews

Astaire and a Dazzling Hayworth Amid Boogie-Woogie Beats and Wartime Shenanigans
6 September 2007 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Barely five minutes into the film and only thirty seconds long, a small jewel is not to be missed in this vintage 1941 musical, as it ranks among the best dance numbers to be seen from the golden age of Hollywood. It's where Fred Astaire casually asks Rita Hayworth to follow him on a complex tap routine set to Cole Porter's "Boogie Barcarole". That Astaire performs flawlessly is to be expected, but the stunning 23-year old Hayworth is startling in her precision and élan. Not only is she absurdly beautiful in her crisp rehearsal togs, but she matches Astaire step for step with unbridled confidence and with her long, gorgeous gams perfectly synchronized with his. The rest of the number, performed with an army of similarly dressed dancers, is not nearly as interesting especially since the fusion between boogie-woogie and classical feels forced.

The movie itself, directed by Sidney Lanfield and written by Michael Fessier and Ernest Pagano, is a silly mistaken identity affair that feels lifted from one of Astaire's earlier pairings with Ginger Rogers and then retrofitted into a military theme. Hardly a stretch, he plays Bob Curtis, a Broadway dancer and choreographer who works for philandering producer Martin Cortland, played by Algonquin wit Robert Benchley. Cortland has his eyes on chorus dancer Sheila Winthrop and attempts to give her a diamond bracelet until his wife Julia mistakes the gift for her. He pretends the bracelet is from Curtis, which of course, leads to larger complications, especially when Curtis gets drafted and his superior officer turns out to be Sheila's intended fiancé. Off the dance floor and in her first leading role, Hayworth, already in her 38th film, is charming as Sheila, although Frieda Inescort easily steals all her scenes as the deadpan Julia, a perfect match to the acerbic Benchley.

Lowbrow comic shenanigans are interspersed with the Robert Alton-choreographed musical numbers. The highlights are an impressive Astaire tap solo set to "Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye" and two more duets with Hayworth - the alluring rumba, "So Near and Yet So Far", and the infectious "Wedding Cake Walk" where the pair get married amid a dress-alike chorus, do a mean Harlem shuffle and tap-dance atop a white cake shaped like a tank. In fact, opening two months before Pearl Harbor, the film portends the upcoming war with patriotic ensemble numbers like "Shootin' the Works for Uncle Sam". The 2003 DVD includes trailers for this film as well as two classic Hayworth vehicles, the career-defining Gilda, and future husband Orson Welles' pulp classic, The Lady from Shanghai. The movie is very lightweight, but Astaire's artistry is always worthwhile in any setting, and it's easy to see why Hayworth became the fantasy figure of many an American soldier.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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