Cover Girl

Lee Bowman, Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly

A Columbia Picture (1944)

Producer: Arthur Schwartz
Director: Charles Vidor

Screenplay: Virginia Van Upp, Marion Parsonnet, and
Paul Gangelin, from story by Erwin Gelsey

The Stars:
Rita Hayworth as Rusty Parker/Maribelle Hicks
Gene Kelly as Danny McGuire
Lee Bowman as Noel Wheaton
Phil Silvers as Genius

"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

Cover Girl was just the kind of escapist film America wanted in the midst of World War II. It made people forget their troubles for the afternoon. It's full of lighthearted songs, plenty of dancing, and in Technicolor! It's one of the musicals that made Rita one of the most popular pin-up girls of World War II. But although she was a dream girl to millions of GI's, during production of Cover Girl, Rita married the "genius of the Mercury Theater", Orson Welles.

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.

The score for Cover Girl created by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin, which featured the Oscar nominated "Long Ago and Far Away", was a major factor in the film's success. The picture also received four other nominations, including as "Best Color Cinematography" and "Best Interior Color Decoration". Cover Girl is perhaps Rita's most famous musical. The magic she created in the numbers with Gene Kelly is still dazzling musical fans today.

Vanity's Golden Wedding Girl

Click here for a midi version of "Long Ago and Faraway"
Lyrics to the Oscar nominated "Long Ago and Far Away", as sung by Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in Cover Girl:

Rita: "Long Ago and Faraway,
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,
The dream I dreamed was not denied me,
Just one look and then I knew....
That all I dreamed of long ago was you."

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."

More photos of Rita in "Cover Girl">>>

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