Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Rita Hayworth

Home Paddock reminds us that on this day in 1918 Rita Hayworth was born. Her real name was Margarita Carmen Cansino, her five unhappy marriages included one to Orson Welles, and she had a very sad end, dying in 1987. But in her prime she just glowed.

She said of herself, “I always considered myself as a comedienne who could dance.” And boy she could dance. Here she is with Fred Astaire in “So Near and Yet So Far” from the 1941 movie You’ll Never Get Rich. The dancing starts 45 seconds in to this 4:25 clip of bliss.

In the early 60s when I was a kid, old movies like this were on every Sunday afternoon at, maybe, 2pm. At my friend Rod Barnett’s (my family didn’t have TV till much later) I saw ancient Westerns, Buster Keaton, Busby Berkeley, dramas like Brief Encounter, all the Ealing comedies. . . so much great stuff.

Paul Simon’s song “Kodachrome” says that “everything looks worse in black and white” but I have never thought so. Watching Hayworth and Astaire in movies like this, black and white is just fine by me.


homepaddock said...

Oh to be able to dance like that - and to look like that in a dress like that.

Robert Smith (the other one) said...

Someone said that Astaire's other great partner Ginger Rogers could do everything he could do, backwards and in high heels.

She looked fabulous, too.