Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Cover Girl

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Cover Girl
Charles Vidor, 1944
USA | 107 minutes

For mid-20th century wartime audiences, this sparkling romantic comedy offered glimpses of the glamorous world of show business. Today, the film is still fresh and delightful, focusing on tensions between love and fame that remain relevant. Rita Hayworth stars as Rusty Parker, a chorus girl at a nightclub owned by her boyfriend, Danny McGuire (a young Kelly). Offered the opportunity to be a cover girl for a magazine, Rusty must deal with her increasing fame and its effects on her relationship. Coming only two years after Kelly’s Hollywood debut, Cover Girl marks the star’s emerging experimentation with dance onscreen. In “Make Way For Tomorrow,” Kelly, Hayworth, and Phil Silvers (a comedic genius) dance through the street, using the objects and space around them as props—a choreographic technique that appears in many of Kelly’s later dances, such as “Singin’ in the Rain.” Later in the film, in Kelly’s famous cinematic “Alter Ego” number, the star dances with a double image of himself. With music and lyrics by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin, this Charles Vidor-directed film also stars Eve Arden and Otto Kruger as the head honchos at the magazine.

“So, how are the numbers? The music is by Jerome Kern, the lyrics are by Ira Gershwin, the choreography is by Gene Kelly, and the numbers are swell. There's the title song, the climax of the show, a delirious memory lane of mostly long-gone print dinosaurs arrayed on a stage with a ramp big enough to make Busby Berkeley bite his wrist in envy.”—Farran Smith Nehme, Self-Styled Siren

Series: Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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