a scene from You'll Never Get Rich You'll Never Get Rich

A Columbia Picture (1941)

Producer: Samuel Bischoff
Director: Sidney Langfield

Screenplay: Michael Fessier and Ernest Pagano

The Stars:
Fred Astaire as Bob Curtis
Rita Hayworth as Sheila Winthrop
John Hubbard as Tom Barton
Robert Benchley as Martin Courtland

Songs: by Cole Porter
"The Boogie Barcarolle," "Shooting the
Works for Uncle Sam," "Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye," "So Near and Yet So Far," "The Wedding Cakewalk"

Dances staged by Robert Alton
Gowns by Kalloch

Black and White, 88 mins. running time

After having been loaned out for Rita's last three films, she came back to her home studio, Columbia Pictures, as it's queen. For the start of her reign, she was partnered by the incomparable Fred Astaire who named Rita, not Ginger Rogers, his "favorite" dancing partner. Astaire said, "Rita danced with trained perfection and individuality". Fred had known Rita's father, Eduardo Cansino, even before Rita was born, when they were dancers on the New York City vaudeville circuit. He and Rita got along splendidly, which I'm sure is one of the reasons this was one of Rita's favorite films.

The story line of You'll Never Get Rich centers around Bob Curtis (Fred Astaire), a Broadway choreographer and one of the dancers in his show, Sheila Winthrop (Rita Hayworth). The shows producer, Martin Courtland (Robert Benchley) becomes infatuated with Sheila. To keep him out of trouble when Mrs. Courtland (Frieda Inescort) finds out, Bob takes the blame and says it's he who has a thing for Sheila. She's had a crush on Bob the whole time, and since she doesn't know he's only pretending to be in love with her, Sheila is on cloud nine. But when she finds out that it was all a ruse, she comes to loathe Bob.

Bob gets drafted into the army and finds he's really fallen for Sheila. He meets up with her again when she goes to Camp Weston to be near her boyfriend, Tom Barton (John Hubbard), who happens to be Bob's superior officer! He finally gets a chance to make amends with Sheila and they agree to start anew. Nevertheless, she continues to be a little cold towards him. But finally, when Barton proposes, she realizes she can't marry anyone but Bob. Unfortunately, another misunderstanding occurs after Courtland falls for another young dancer named Sonja (Osa Massen). To keep himself out of trouble, Courtland again gets Bob into trouble. Because of him, Sheila gets the mistaken idea that Sonja is Bob's girlfriend. She's furious and refuses to listen when he tries to explain the situation.

Meanwhile, Bob has put together a show for the servicemen. During the big production number, when there is to be a phony wedding ceremony between he and Sheila, Bob gets a real priest on stage without her knowledge and they are united in wedlock. Sheila's initial fury vanishes after she finds out the truth about Courtland and Sonja. After that, it doesn't take long for all to be forgiven between Mr. and Mrs. Bob Curtis.

You'll Never Get Rich is a fun wartime musical with songs by Cole Porter so great they were the Academy Award nominee for "Best Musical Score", and "Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye" was nominated for "Best Song". The picture was a big moneymaker for Columbia and established Rita as their number one attraction.

P.S. -In the past some fans have written in asking about the title of the picture. It refers to an old Army that goes "You're in the Army now. You're in the Army now. You'll never get rich, by diggin' a ditch. You're in the Army now."

Rita and Fred do the 'Boogie Barcarole'
Rita and Fred in the "Boogie Barcarole" number

More "You'll Never Get Rich" photos>>>

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