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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING TRANSFER OF A SPARKLING MUSICAL!
After their resounding success in "You'll Never Get Rich" it remained kismet that Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth would reunite for another glossy film musical. The project; "You Were Never Lovelier" is a valiant successor to the aforementioned and, in truth, excels beyond the expectations of their previous venture. Astaire plays a penniless hoofer from New York who,...
Published on May 25, 2004 by Nix Pix

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A fun movie but not the best of Astaire and Rita
Published 4 months ago by Patricia N. Perkins


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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING TRANSFER OF A SPARKLING MUSICAL!, May 25, 2004
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
After their resounding success in "You'll Never Get Rich" it remained kismet that Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth would reunite for another glossy film musical. The project; "You Were Never Lovelier" is a valiant successor to the aforementioned and, in truth, excels beyond the expectations of their previous venture. Astaire plays a penniless hoofer from New York who, through a series of mishaps, comes to the attention of 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 get married 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 refuses to marry under any circumstance. 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 songs are danced by Astaire and Hayworth with such polish and finesse that it's impossible not to marvel at their grace and style.
THE TRANSFER: Outstanding. While "You'll Never Get Rich" suffered from an overall dated appearance, "You Were Never Lovelier" appears to have been the benefactor of a digital restoration at some point. It's black and white 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. Digital anomalies are not an issue. The audio is mono but exceptionally well balanced - at times sounding very close to having a stereo spread.
EXTRAS: Sorry, none!
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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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer...And "I'm Old Fashioned", April 3, 2006
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
In some of Fred Astaire's movies there's only one excellent reason to watch, and that's to watch Fred Astaire. In You Were Never Lovelier there are three other excellent reasons. Rita Hayworth. Jerome Kern. Johnny Mercer. The four of them have concocted a romantic and funny South American fable that features some great dancing by both Astaire and Hayworth and some memorable songs by Kern and Mercer.

Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou), a wealthy Buenos Aires businessman, has four beautiful daughters, and in the Acuna family they must marry in age order. The eldest fulfills her responsibilities and the two youngest have beaus they're now anxious to share vows with. But the second eldest, Maria (Rita Hayworth) is in no hurry. She wants romance and charm and the men she meets are just panting boys. Then she sees Robert Davis (Fred Astaire), a very charming, down-on-his-luck dancer, singing Dearly Beloved at her elder sister's wedding. He tries to chat her up; she stares him down. Then the plot intervenes. Before long she knows what she wants. Robert knows what he wants. Eduardo Acuna knows what he doesn't want...a down-on-his-luck dancer in the family. From then on it's songs, dances, romance and misunderstandings, which moves into songs, dances and romance. The plot feels sluggish at times and there's way too much Xavier Cugat and his orchestra, but Astaire and Hayworth are at their peak, Kern has written some memorable melodies and few could top Mercer at lyric writing, none in Hollywood.

Hayworth not only was a gorgeous creature, she was a gifted dancer; many think she was the best Astaire worked with. Technically, she not only handled the steps Astaire created, she did so without a hint of effort. After you've watched the dances a couple of times, go back and watch again, but this time concentrate on her face and her hand and arm action. She gives every indication of being utterly relaxed and enjoying herself, even in the fast tap routines. She seems naturally to find the most graceful attitude for an extended arm, a turn of her head, a raised hand. She may not be quite as good as Astaire, but she's good enough.

Among the stand-out routines are:

--The Audition Dance. Robert shows up at Acuna's office and demands a chance to show his stuff as a dancer. From there Astaire takes off on a fast tap routine that takes him all over the floor, onto Acuna's desk, the sofa and chairs. He works into the dance a cane, a rug, the drapes and Acuna's head.

--I'm Old Fashioned. This is probably the best romantic wooing dance Astaire did. It's all fluid motion and spontaneous recognition, danced on the elegant, polished outdoor landing of Acuna's mansion. Rita Hayworth is a vision, and matches him step for step. We move from Maria declaring with humor and assurance that Robert's the man for her, to Robert's protestation that he's just a guy from Omaha, Nebraska, to the dance that brings them closer and closer together until we know through the dance that a love match has just happened. The funny exit through the doors and back into the living-room, bumping into each other, each giving way, bumping again and then going in together arm in arm hits just the right note. The dance works so well in part because Kern and Mercer came up with a classic:

I'm old fashioned,

I love the moonlight,

I love the old fashioned things.

The sound of rain

Upon a window pane,

The starry song that April sings.

This year's fancies

Are passing fancies

But sighing sighs, holding hands,

These my heart understands.

I'm old fashioned

But I don't mind it.

That's how I want to be,

As long as you agree,

To stay old fashioned with me.

--The Shorty George. This fast tap routine starts out with Maria visiting Robert at a rehearsal. He sings The Shorty George and she takes a couple of lines. He looks surprised that she knows the song. He starts to dance and invites her to join him. Hayworth stays right with Astaire and looks like she's having the time of her life.

--You Were Never Lovelier. Robert declares his feelings for Maria, but more misunderstandings occur. Finally, everything is resolved. Robert shakes off some knight's armor he was wearing (there is sort of a reason) and appears below Maria's bedroom window in black tie. She rushes down...and off they go dancing while all the members of the Acuna family look on approvingly. And the Johnny Mercer lyrics and Jerome Kern music brings us to the happy end:

You were never lovelier, you were never so fair;

Dreams were never lovelier,

Pardon me if I stare.

Down the sky the moonbeams fly to light your face;

I can only say they chose the proper place.

You were never lovelier, and to coin a new phrase,

I was never luckier

In my palmiest days.

Make a note, and you can quote me, honor bright,

You were never lovelier than you are tonight.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth shine in this great musical, February 7, 1999
By A Customer
If you love Fred Astaire musicals you'll love this movie! Like many of his films there are many great songs you can sing along to and dance scenes that continue to amaze. Fred Astaire plays a man who gets put in a sticky situation, with Rita Hayworth, which in turn leads to love and trouble. Singing and dancing his way through he ends up on top. If you are a true fan you will love this movie, and if this is a first you'll be hooked for life.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made Me Forget Ginger Whats-Her-Name, September 16, 2000
If it were ever possible for audiences to forget that Fred Astaire ever graced the dance floor with Ginger Rogers, it would have to be the film "You Were Never Lovelier." Featuring the stunning Rita Hayworth, I believe it is the better of the Astaire/Hayworth collaborations, the other being "You'll Never Get Rich."
A little note about the plot, it's another one of those stories driven by mistaken identities that incessantly frustrate the audience and makes them wonder "Why won't anybody speak up?", but somehow the magnificent cast manages to pull it off quite well. The story does not lag, but moves along at a good pace. Anyway, it does make way for some delightful musical numbers such as Astaire's unforgettable solo for Acuna in Acuna's office (preluded by Astaire declaring "I hate dancing, but you're gonna watch me dance and you're gonna like it. Hit it, boys!"), Astaire and Hayworth dancing to "I'm Old-Fashioned" in the garden and to "Shorty George" later on during a rehearsal. These two prove that they are in excellent form and have left us a truly satisfying film. If you're a die-hard, Astaire/Rogers fanatic, you'll still like this film. "You Were Never Lovelier" definitely has more substance than the old RKO films. The only regret I have about these two is that Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth should have made more films together.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and fun to watch, March 2, 2001
By 
Musicals were very popular back in the 40's and this one is no exception. Flawless dancing and singing from beginning to end. The plot goes like this: Rita Hayworth's father wants his daughter to cheer up and starts sending her love letters, pretending he's a young man who is interested in her. Confussion follows and Fred Astaire, who works for Rita's father, is mistaken for the one writing the love letters. The trouble is, he soon finds himself falling in love with the young woman. Get this film on a cold, rainy day and it will brighten up your life!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Up To Its Title: Never More Lovelier Than On DVD, March 5, 2005
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
After their resounding success in "You'll Never Get Rich" it was kismet that Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth would reunite for another glossy film musical. The project; "You Were Never Lovelier" is a valiant successor to the aforementioned and, in truth, excels beyond the expectations of that previous venture. Astaire plays a penniless hoofer from New York who, through a series of mishaps, comes to the attention of South American tycoon, 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 get married 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 refuses to marry under any circumstance. 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 songs are danced by Astaire and Hayworth with such polish and finesse that it's impossible not to marvel at their grace and style.
Columbia Tristar's transfer of "You Were Never Lovelier" is outstanding. While "You'll Never Get Rich" suffered from an overall dated appearance, "You Were Never Lovelier" appears to have been the benefactor of a digital restoration at some point. It's black and white 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. Digital anomalies are not an issue. The audio is mono but exceptionally well balanced - at times sounding very close to having a stereo spread.
EXTRAS: Sorry, none!
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Rita, December 7, 2005
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
This film is a delightful treat, sure to be enjoyed by any fans of Astaire or Hayworth. Hayworth is especially lovely and sexy. The highlight of this movie for me is the "Shorty George" song and dance routine. I have watched it ten times already and will probably watch it over and over again for the remainder of my lifetime. Thank goodness for celluloid so that talent and beauty such as this has been captured for us to savor and cherish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dearly Beloved, June 24, 2007
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
This sparkling 1942 film, the second and last teaming of Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, is a jewel in the crown of Columbia musicals. Although Astaire regretted that his films with Hayworth were never shot in color due to the studio's wartime budget, it's glorious in its black and white presentation. Rita's wardrobe will arouse envy and admiration in female viewers, as I'm sure it did upon its original release.

Dancer Robert Davis (Astaire) wishes to work for crusty Buenos Aires business man Eduardo Acuna (Adolpe Menjou), but Davis puts his foot in his mouth far too often at the wedding of Eduardo's eldest daughter Julia. The next daughter Maria (Hayworth), is to marry next, but she has no prospects at the moment and is in no hurry. That is not the case with her two younger sisters (Leslie Brooks and Adele Mara), who want to marry their "tennis playing Romeos" (one of whom, is Larry Parks, uncredited, who went on to costar with Hayworth in "Down To Earth" in 1947). But Papa decrees that Maria must wed first, but her disinterest in the young men around her does nothing to hasten matrimony. So he comes up with an inspired idea - creating a secret admirer, who writes Maria romantic notes and sends her orchids. He then decides to hire a fellow to impersonate his creation, hoping that his daughter will fall for him. When Robert inadvertently ends up delivering the next order of orchids to the Acuna house, Maria spies him from above and thinks that he is her secret admirer. Eduardo grudgingly allows Maria to believe Davis is her suitor, and the hoofer finds himself falling for her and discovering that there is an old-fashioned gal underneath her ice princess exterior. The truth ultimately is exposed but true love conquers all in a wonderful, exhilarating romantic finale.

The dance numbers are sensational - "The Shorty George" is my favorite. "Dearly Beloved" and "I'm Old Fashioned" are wistfully enchanting, and there is tremendous comic relief throughout - Gus Schilling as Eduardo's nervous secretary Fernando nearly steals the scene from Astaire and Menjou. Jerome Kern's score and Xavier Cugat and his orchestra is a perfect accompaniment to "You Were Never Lovelier".

Astaire and Hayworth were every bit as accomplished a team as Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Both of their performances seem so effortless and it's clear that they worked well and had tremendous respect for each other. Hayworth is as always, breathtakingly beautiful.

If you are a fan of musicals, this is an essential.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Comeback!!, March 19, 2006
This review is from: You Were Never Lovelier (DVD)
After "You'll never be rich" you may think it's difficult to come with something even better. Nevertheless this movie has a great plot, great lines, great comedy. The only thing that is missing is a little more dancing by Fred Astaire. But is usually what happens when you watch one of his films, you always want some more. Is incredible how talented Rita is, and how Fred make anyone look great.

In a word, great movie to watch with lots of fun moments for all the family.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HAPPY FUN FILM, August 2, 2000
You Were Never Lovelier is a light, romantic musical with a great cast and wonderful songs. Hayworth plays Maria, a beautiful young girl whose family wants her to marry. Her father, in an effort to get her in the right state of mind for love, starts sending her flowers and notes purporting to be from a secret admirer, hoping to melt her "refrigerated" heart. Astaire, who plays a dancer (naturally *g*), gets mixed up in her father's deceit--lies and misunderstandings follow. Never fear, all ends well (but of course!). The supporting characters are perfect and add to the atmosphere of the film and make it even more enjoyable. I especially liked the very gay secretary who plays his part to perfection.
Hayworth is in top form dancing in the numbers "I'm Old Fashioned" and "Shorty George". I was more than impressed by her beauty and grace. Astaire's best part in the film is when he does a difficult dance number in Maria's father's office and makes it look easy, as per usual.
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You Were Never Lovelier
You Were Never Lovelier by William A. Seiter (DVD - 2004)
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