Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Rita goes Zip

I hadn't realised how fabulous Rita Hayworth is in PAL JOEY, which I saw as a kid in 1957 and only saw bits of since, it was not on my radar as a top musical -- of course the stage show was so much better, including that London 1980s production with Sian Phillips mesmerising in Rita's role of the wealthy ex showgirl Mrs Simpson, whom Sinatra's Joey sets his sights on to fund his new nightclub ... until Kim Novak gets in the way ...
It is perhaps Rita's last good role - she is excellent but somehow out of place in SEPARATE TABLES in 1958, and she and the equally ageing Gary Cooper are touching (two of the 1930s beautiful people ravaged by time) in THEY CAME TO CORDURA in 1959. She was Claudia Cardinale's sad mother in the John Wayne circus extravaganza CIRCUS WORLD in 1964, and had a few scenes with her old co-star Glenn Ford in a forgotten thriller (it was a supporting movie here) and her later films are curious cult movies now ... but she symbolised the 1940s for many - as per this BFI 1940s season back in 1970 (as per label 1940s-A)
Rita of course will always be GILDA ... but she is perfect here too and plays Mrs Simpson with a nice teasing quality - love her shower scene!. The film at least captures One-Take-Frank at his 1950s zenith, while Kim in lavender as the vulnerable showgirl looks edible  1957 was a great year for musicals: FUNNY FACE, LES GIRLS, THE PAJAMA GAME, SILK STOCKINGS etc, PAL JOEY while fun is not quite as good. 
John Kobal wrote a terrific book on Rita: "The Time, The Place and The Woman". 

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