Producer: Arthur Schwartz
Director: Charles Vidor
Screenplay: Virginia Van Upp, Marion Parsonnet, and
Paul Gangelin, from story by Erwin Gelsey
"The Show Must Go On," "Who's Complaining?," "Sure Thing," "Make Way for Tomorrow," "Put Me to the Test," "Long Ago and Far Away," "Cover Girl": by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin;
"Poor John": by Fred Leigh and Henry E. Pether
Singing voice for Miss Hayworth: Martha Mears
Costumes by Travis Banton, Gwen Wakeling and Muriel King
Dances Staged by Val Raset and Seymour Felix
Women's Hats by Kenneth Hopkins
Color, 107 mins. running time
|The dancers of Danny McGuire's nightclub in Brooklyn are backstage chatting when Maurine (Leslie Brooks) spreads the word about John Coudair (Otto Kruger) of Vanity magazine's search for a "new face". She makes it sound so exciting that Rusty Parker (Rita Hayworth) decides to go in for an interview as well. The following day, when Coudair's assistant, Ms. Jackson (Eve Arden) expresses an interest in hiring Rusty, Maurine gets upset and purposely gives Rusty some very bad advice. Knowing they're looking for a "quiet and demure", inexperienced type, she tells her to act just the opposite. Rusty conceals her usual reserve, goes into the interview "full of animation and personality", and gets thrown out!
With Rusty out of the running, Maurine is the top choice for the job. Coudair and Ms. Jackson make a trip Danny McGuire's to see her, but instead Coudair sees Rusty, a dancer who bears an uncanny resemblance to his one time fiancée, Maribelle Hicks (also played by Rita Hayworth). He later learns that she was Rusty's grandmother. Since she reminds him so much of his former love, he decides on the spot that she is the "new face" they've been searching for.
Rusty becomes "Vanity's Golden Wedding Girl" for their 50th anniversary issue, much to the chagrin of her boss and boyfriend Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), whose motto is that you make it to the top "on your feet, not your face". Whatever his feelings, Rusty is now a cover girl and an overnight sensation, which turns Danny McGuire's into Brooklyn's most popular night spot. Rusty begins getting offers for better jobs at bigger theaters, one in particular from "the great Noel Wheaton" (Lee Bowman). Rusty's in love with Danny and remains loyal to him by declining his offer, but the persistent Wheaton continues his pursuit, undaunted.
After several failed attempts at getting her in Wheaton's show, Coudair comes up with a new plan. He tells Rusty they're having a party for Vanity's 50th anniversary that he wishes her to attend. In reality, as Rusty soon discovers, there is no party. Wheaton whisks her away to show his theater off and again tries to entice her to work for him. Again she declines. That night, Danny finds out from Coudair that there is no party, that she is out with Noel Wheaton. The next day, Rusty returns to Danny's for rehearsal. Danny, who has decided that even though he loves her, she'll do better in her career at Noel's theater, fires her. Hurt by his dismissal, Rusty goes to work at the Wheaton Theater. There she's a star, but terribly unhappy. Soon after, Danny closes down his nightclub to entertain at Army camps.
Though she doesn't love him, Rusty accepts Wheaton's marriage proposal. Seeing how miserable she is on her wedding day, while walking down the aisle, Coudair explains to Rusty that it's a case of history repeating itself. Forty years ago, he was in the same situation with her grandmother, Maribelle. He had torn Maribelle away from her true love because he was wealthy and figured he had better things to offer her. On the wedding day however, Maribelle ran out on the ceremony to be with the man she loved. After hearing this story, Rusty thinks back on how happy her grandmother always was, and realizes she must go back to Danny. Love wins out as Rusty and Danny return to singing, dancing and of course romancing, together.
Gene: ".....I dreamed a dream one day,
and now that dream is here beside me,
Long the skies were overcast,
But now the clouds have passed,
You're here at last,
Chills run up and down my spine,
Aladdin's lamp is mine..."
Rita: "The dream I dreamed was not denied me,
Just one look and then I knew...."
Together: "That all I dreamed of long ago was you."
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