You Were Never Lovelier (1942) (NTSC)

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Released 6-May-2020

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Comedy Trailer-x 3
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1942
Running Time 97:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By William A. Seiter
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Fred Astaire
Rita Hayworth
Adolphe Menjou
Xavier Cugat
Leslie Brooks
Adele Mara
Case ?
RPI ? Music Leigh Harline


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Japanese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Wealthy Buenos Aires hotel owner Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou) has four beautiful daughters and has decided that they will marry in order of their age. The wedding of his eldest daughter, Julia, is tomorrow, and daughters three and four, Cecy and Lita (Leslie Brooks / Adele Mara) both have suitors and want to marry. The problem is daughter number two, now the eldest unmarried daughter, Maria (Rita Hayworth), who has rejected all her beaus, leaving her sisters in limbo. Meanwhile, American dancer from New York Robert Davis (Fred Astaire) has, again, lost all his money at the racetrack and visits an old friend Xavier Cugat, who with his orchestra are playing at Eduardo’s hotel, looking for a job. Eduardo wants nothing to do with him so Xavier invites Robert to sing at Julia’s wedding the next day so that he can get noticed by Eduardo and offered work. However, at the wedding Robert manages to insult both Eduardo and Maria, so his chances don’t look great.

     Eduardo is determined to awake Maria’s romantic streak so her decides to send her orchids with cards starting “Dearly Beloved” many suitors. His plan both works and comes unstuck; after a couple of weeks of notes and flowers Robert accidentally delivers one of them and Maria thinks that he is the mystery suitor and starts to fall in love with him. Robert is certainly not the suitor Eduardo had in mind so he makes a deal with Robert; Robert must disappoint Maria without actually breaking her heart then leave the county with Maria ready for a more suitable husband. It is not a stretch of any viewer’s imagination to see how that plan will end up.

     You Were Never Lovelier was the second of two musicals Rita Hayworth made with dancing superstar Fred Astaire (the other was You’ll Never Get Rich the year before). In the years between 1933 and 1939 Astaire made nine films with the partner he is best remembered for, Ginger Rogers, commencing with Flying Down to Rio in 1933 and finishing with The Barkleys of Broadway in 1939, although they did team up once more ten years later for The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle in 1949. In You Were Never Lovelier Astaire still gets first billing but unlike You’ll Never Get Rich, which was very much an Astaire film, Hayworth gets her fair share of the comedy, she sings (or rather her character does as Hayworth’s singing voice was dubbed by Nan Wynn) and she and Astaire perform some excellent dance routines together, Rita, born Margarita Carmen Cansino into a family of dancers, very much holding her own.

     You Were Never Lovelier was directed by William A. Seiter who ended up with 149 credits on the IMDb from 1915 until 1960. In this long career he was more known for light comedy. He directed, for example, Laurel and Hardy in Sons of the Desert (1933), a number of Shirley Temple films including Stowaway and Dimples (both 1936) and Susannah of the Mounties (1939), and Abbott and Costello in Little Giant (1946) although he also directed Astaire, with Ginger Rogers, in Roberta (1935). Perhaps as a result You Were Never Lovelier is less a musical comedy and much more a romantic comedy with music and dance numbers; for example Astaire does not dance until about 40 minutes into the film. However, it was in music and sound categories that You Were Never Lovelier received its three Oscar nomination, winning none; best sound, best song for the Jerome Kern / Johnny Mercer penned Dearly Beloved and best music for Leigh Harline (although credited only as Musical Director). Harline a few years previously had shared two Oscars; best score and best song When You Wish Upon a Star in the Disney animated Pinocchio (1940).

     While Fred and Rita handle the light comedy well, mention should be made of the delightful performance of Adolphe Menjou as the crotchety, self-opinionated but loving father. Born in Pittsburgh from French / Irish parents Menjou in his long career was often cast as foreigners in films such as Lewis Milestone’s A Farewell to Arms (1932) or Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) but he received his only Oscar nomination in the original The Front Page (1931). He is great fun to watch when on screen in You Were Never Lovelier!

     You Were Never Lovelier is light, frothy, funny and harmless, with some fun dance routines, nice songs, Fred and Rita in good form and a happy ending. What more could one want?

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Transfer Quality

Video

     You Were Never Lovelier is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and not16x9 enhanced.

     There are minor blemishes but on the whole this is a nice print of an almost 80 year old film. Establishing shots of Buenos Aires city and the racetrack are softish, here are regular tiny marks, occasional motion blur and a vertical scratch at 22:07 but interiors and the production numbers are clear with solid detail, grain is light, blacks solid black, shadow detail good and grey scales and detail excellent.

     English and Japanese subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.

     The dialogue is easy to hear. Effects are minimal but the sound of the tap dancing, music, the production numbers and songs come over loud and clear.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
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Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
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Extras

Previews

     Previews for Hayworth films Gilda (2:09) andThe Lady from Shanghai (1:49) plus the Oscar winning A Man for All Seasons (3:20).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     You Were Never Lovelier is available in other regions in both stand-alone versions and as part of various collections of the films of both Fred Astaire andRita Hayworth. This release of the film is as part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection Two, which collection itself forms part of The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     You Were Never Lovelier is light, frothy and harmless entertainment with Fred, Rita and Adolphe Menjou in good form, pleasant songs and energetic dance numbers. It is instantly forgettable, but good fun while it lasts.

     The video is good for an almost 80 year old film, the audio is the original mono. A few trailers are the only extras.

     You Were Never Lovelier is included in the 12 disc / 12 film set The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection. The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection itself comprises the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection and the The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection Two. Both of these individual Collection packs have been released previously. If you have an interest in the stars or musicals and have not picked up the earlier releases, this collection is great value.

     The Films of Rita Hayworth Platinum Collection was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Extras and monochrome - cztery REPLY POSTED