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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Having seen this when I was a naive teenager, I was curious to see how it stood up after the years in between. As a teen, I enjoyed it for the funny situation and comical lines, as well as the singing and dancing of Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, and Xavier Cugat and his orchestra. Seeing it 14 years later, I can say that it pleasantly stands the test of time. The story surrounds an American dancer (Astaire) who runs out of cash while on vacation in Buenos Aires, and tries to get a job with grouchy hotel owner Adolph Menjou. In the process, he meets Menjou's beautiful but frosty daughter Hayworth, and compares her to the inside of a refrigerator. Determined to chill her out, Menjou starts sending his daughter orchids, and in a strange turn of events, it is Astaire whom Hayworth believes has sent her the orchids. Romance errupts in spite of Menjou's interference, and love ends up conquering all.
Romantic films like this just aren't made anymore, at least not with the class and style of this film. While Fred Astaire may not be much in the looker department, he makes up for that with his grace and charm, so it is not hard to believe that Hayworth would fall for him. Hayworth, one of the screen's great beauties, was also a very talented actress, dancer, and comedian, although her singing was dubbed. As a team, I find Hayworth and Astaire to be even better than Astaire and Rogers. They only did two films together (the other was the more traditional World War II musical "You'll Never Get Rich") as Astaire did not want to limit himself to one partner. As the irrascable Acuna, Adolph Menjou is likable in spite of his grouchiness and manipulative nature; His scenes with secretary Gus Schilling (who must have taken the parts that Franklin Pangborn was unavailable for) were hysterical. Jerome Kern's score is simple and lovely; It includes the title song and "I'm Old Fashioned" (one of the most romantic dance numbers ever performed) as well as the snappy "Shorty George". Well worth a look.
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