Saturday, January 27, 2007

YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (Columbia 1942) Sony Home Entertainment

After their resounding success in You’ll Never Get Rich (1941) it was kismet that Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth would reunite for another glossy film musical. The project; You Were Never Lovelier (1942) is a valiant successor and, in truth, excels beyond the expectations of their previous venture.

Astaire plays a penniless hoofer from New York, Bob Davis, who through a series of mishaps comes to the attention of wealthy South American, Senior Acuna (Adolph Menjou) while on a vacation in Buenos Aires. Acuna has just married off his oldest daughter and, as his family tradition dictates, the rest of his daughters must marry in sequential order.

The two youngest daughters are already fixed with a pair of tennis beaux, but the eldest unmarried daughter, Maria (Hayworth) is not only an ice princess of the highest order, but absolutely refuses to marry under any circumstance – but particularly on cue. That is, until she begins receiving orchids from an unknown admirer.

The score by Jerome Kern is magnificent; the poignant ‘Dearly Beloved’, the jazzy ‘Shorty George’ and the classy ‘I’m Old Fashion’; the latter two danced by Astaire and Hayworth with such finesse that it’s impossible not to marvel at their grace and style.

Sony Pictures DVD transfer is outstanding. While You’ll Never Get Rich suffered from a generally flawed image, You Were Never Lovelier appears to have been the benefactor of digital restoration. It’s B&W picture is stunning and smooth. There are brief and minor occasions where fine details slightly shimmer, but these do not distract from your visual pleasure. Fine detail is fully realized. There is a resounding absence of age related artifacts. The audio is mono but exceptionally well balanced – at times sounding very close to having a stereo spread. There are NO extras.

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



BOTTOM LINE: You Were Never Lovelier has certainly never looked more lovely than in its DVD incarnation. An absolute must have for your library!

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