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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
In the art department of a large department store, the statue of the famed Anatolian Venus comes to life and falls in love with Eddie Hatch, a window trimmer. Just before the unveiling of the prized statue, Eddie takes "Venus" to the model-display house in the store, where the store's boss finds her. He, too, falls in love with her and makes her Glamour Girl Number One. Eddie and Venus dance in Central Park, but Eddie is arrested for stealing the statue. Venus goes back to her pedestal and Eddie is released. While Eddie is sadly preparing for another unveiling, a new employee asks him a question. She tells him her name is Venus Jones. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
[to the statue]
To Venus, the Goddess of Love! May she stay on the job and take care of all of us!
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Evidently a few characters' names were changed during production, causing serious contradictions in various sources' cast lists. Haymes's character is just plain "Joe" (no surname), but some sources grafted onto him the surname "Grant" from Arden's character! As if that weren't bad enough, poor Arden (addressed by various characters as "Molly Grant" consistently through the film) finds herself wrongly identified in some sources as "Molly Stewart" (which is never the surname she bears in the actual film). See more »
During and after World War II, fantasy was big in Hollywood. It wasn't just escapism; it was all the thinking about death as many loved ones were lost. It's no wonder we had so many people coming back ("Here Comes Mr. Jordan"), facing the pearly gates or the hotter ones ("Heaven Can Wait"), or meeting angels in human form ("The Bishop's Wife"). We also had a visits from the big goddesses. How fitting that two women closest to being goddesses in human form actually played them - Rita Hayworth as Terpsichore in 1947's "Down to Earth," and of course, Ava Gardner as Venus in "One Touch of Venus." "One Touch of Venus" is based on the Broadway musical of the same name that was revived in London a few years ago with Melissa Errico, but never came to New York. Alas, there aren't many songs in this version but the most famous song, "Speak Low When You Speak Love" remains. The film stars Gardner, Robert Walker, Dick Haymes, Olga San Juan, Tom Conway, and Eve Arden. Walker works in a department store where a magnificent statue of Venus is about to be unveiled. On an impulse, he kisses it, and she comes to life. He falls madly in love with her, while his girlfriend (San Juan) flips out for his friend (Haymes). When the statue is discovered missing, the police assume that Walker knows something about it, since he was fixing the presentation curtain and claims that she then came to life.
Walker is an energetic delight as he chases Venus. After this film, he was institutionalized, and by 1951, his boyishness was gone as he entered what should have been the greatest part of his career with a magnificent performance in "Strangers on a Train." Instead, he only made one more film after that, dying in 1951. Looking at him in "One Touch of Venus," it's hard to imagine he had any demons. Eve Arden is hilarious as the secretary in unrequited love with her boss, Tom Conway. He's seen Venus sleeping in the home department and fallen for her as well. Haymes sings beautifully, and San Juan is pert and pretty as a young woman suddenly torn between two men. But all eyes are on Ava Gardner's dazzling beauty. She's a perfect embodiment of Venus with her flawless face, figure, and soft voice. Even though as a younger woman she had tried singing with a band, she wasn't a singer, so her voice is dubbed in this by Eileen Wilson. Like Hayworth, early in her career, she sometimes played roles that required vocals, and like Hayworth, she was always dubbed.
The best scene in the film takes place in the park toward the end. It's exuberant and thrilling - you won't want it to end. That scene sums up this lovely fantasy with a divine Ava, and you can't get any better than that.
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