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The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, sister #2, because they have their husbands picked out already. But Maria hasn't yet met a man she likes. Eduardo Acuna, believing that men aren't romantic enough these days, sends his daughter flowers and anonymous love letters, creating a "mystery man" for her to fall in love with. He intends to pick out an appropriate beau for her later, to fill the role. But Robert Davis, an American dancer looking for work, stumbles into the picture. Maria falls for him, but the father does not approve. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Just when you think Rita Hayworth couldn't be more gorgeous...
she is - this time in "You Were Never Lovelier," a 1942 film starring Fred Astaire, Adolphe Menjou, and Xavier Cugat along with Hayworth. Menjou plays Eduardo Acuna, the father of four daughters in Argentina, and according to tradition, the girls must marry in order. Second to be married is Maria (Hayworth). Unfortunately, in this case, the two younger daughters have suitors and Maria has no interest in marriage or in any of the dozens of men who have tried to win her heart. Her father hatches a plan to send her orchids and letters from a secret admirer. Then he plans for the secret admirer to disappear, hoping that she'll then turn to an ordinary man. When he has a dancer, Bob Davis (Astaire) who is trying to get a job in the club deliver the orchids, Maria thinks that Davis is her secret admirer. The two wind up falling in love, which doesn't fit in with Dad's plans.
Hayworth's first entrance in this is as she gives her sister something for her wedding. She's so gorgeous it's ridiculous. It's said that during the making of Blood & Sand, Tyrone Power was so enamored of Hayworth that he couldn't stop staring at her (and in fact, she's one of the few women who could match him looks-wise). Not surprising. What's wonderful about this film is that Hayworth wears fabulous gowns and dances with Fred Astaire. They make a terrific pair, and Astaire loved working with her. When they dance to "I'm Old Fashioned," it's as if they're floating on a cloud. She seems to bring out a sweet side to Astaire's acting, and the character he plays is less sure of himself than the Astaire roles usually are. And of course, he dances like a dream, with a wonderful audition solo for Menjou.
For this writer, there were many beautiful women in Hollywood. But two were the complete movie star package with superior beauty, personality, and raw sex appeal - Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner. Rita, with her wonderful dance talent, probably has a slight edge. It's tragic that her personal life was so sad and that she herself was such a troubled woman. It just doesn't seem fair to be that sensational and that miserable at the same time.
This is a lovely, romantic film produced specifically for the World War II audience - while we're not going through World War II today, most of us are depressed enough that we could be, so it's still a great watch.
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