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You Were Never Lovelier
Alternate Title: Carnival in Rio
Director: William A. Seiter (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Nov 1942
Production Date:   2 Jun--7 Aug 1942
Duration (in mins):   98
Duration (in feet):   8,755
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Cast:   Fred Astaire (Robert Davis)  
    Rita Hayworth (Maria Acuna)  
    Adolphe Menjou (Edwardo Acuna)  
    Isobel Elsom (Maria Castro)  
    Leslie Brooks (Cecy Acuna)  
    Adele Mara (Lita Acuna)  
    Gus Schilling (Fernando)  
    Barbara Brown (Mrs. Delfina Acuna)  
    Douglas Leavitt (Juan Castro)  
    Xavier Cugat   and His Orchestra
    Catherine Craig (Julia Acuna)  
    Kathleen Howard (Grandmother Acuna)  
    Mary Field (Louise)  
    Larry Parks (Tony)  
    Stanley Brown (Roddy)  
    Kirk Alyn (Groom)  
    George Bunny (Flower man)  
    Ralph Peters (Chauffeur)  
    Lina Romay (Singer)  

Summary: After losing his bankroll at a Buenos Aires racetrack, dancer Robert Davis attempts to ask hotel owner Edwardo Acuna for a job performing in his hotel's nightclub. Acuna is busily picking out his eldest daughter Julia's trousseau, however, and refuses to see Robert. In Acuna's waiting room, Robert encounters his old friend, Xavier Cugat, who is entertaining at the hotel with his band. Upon hearing of his friend's dilemma, Cugat suggests that Robert showcase his talent at Julia's wedding reception. Acuna has decreed that his daughters must wed in the order of their ages, and consequently, his two youngest daughters, Cecy and Lita, anxiously await the betrothal of thier romantically disinclined older sister Maria. Concerned about Maria's frigid demeanor, Acuna asks the advice of her godmother, Mrs. Maria Castro. When Mrs. Castro responds that Maria needs to be intrigued by a man, Acuna decides to invent a mystery admirer for his daughter. Each day, he sends a box of orchids to his daughter, accompanied by a passionate note signed "her unknown suitor." Acuna's scheme works, and soon Maria is looking forward to her daily deliveries. One day, Acuna is shaving in his office bathroom when Robert sneaks into the office. Unable to see Robert, Acuna mistakes him for the delivery boy and instructs him to take the orchids to Maria. After Maria sees Robert delivering the flowers, she thinks that he is her secret admirer and asks her father to invite him to the house. When Acuna explains the situation to Robert and asks his help in disenchanting Maria, Robert agrees to cooperate in exchange for a dancing contract. Upon meeting Maria that night, Robert is overwhelmed by her beauty and resists an impulse to kiss her by excusing himself to meet Cugat. The next day, Acuna insists that Robert honor their deal by convincing Maria that he was only courting her to win a contract with her father. Upon discovering that Robert's name was omitted from the guest list of the Acunas' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary costume ball, however, Maria and her godmother go to the rehearsal hall to invite him, and he accepts. When Acuna sees Robert at his party, he angrily announces that the dancer will be leaving for New York the next morning. Still desperate to marry off their older sister, Cecy and Lita decide to make Robert jealous so that he will refuse to leave for New York. To accomplish their goal, they send Fernando, Acuna's secretary, to cut in on Maria and Robert's dance. After Robert protests and pushes Fernando into a fountain, the sisters admit their scheme, and Maria, embarassed, declares that she is not in love with Robert. Later, Robert escorts Maria into the garden, where they confess their love for each other. When Robert tells Acuna that he is in love with Maria, Acuna warns him that Maria has fallen in love with an ardent admirer. After threatening to expose Robert, Acuna offers to compose a farewell note to Maria. As Acuna recites his romantic composition, his wife Delfina enters the room and, hearing her husband extolling the virtues of Maria, assumes that he has fallen in love with Maria Castro. When Delfina accuses her husband of infidelity, Mrs. Castro's husband Juan challenges him to a duel. To prevent bloodshed, Robert reveals Acuna's fabrication. Humiliated, Maria rejects Robert and storms out of the room. Maria's outburst convinces Acuna that his daughter really loves Robert, and he grants the dancer his permission to court her. When a room-sized load of orchids fails to convince Maria to change her mind, Robert takes Acuna's suggestion, and dresses up as a knight in shining armour. After he falls off his horse, Maria forgives him, and they begin to dance. Delighted, Lita and Cecy don their boyfriends' engagement rings. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: William A. Seiter (Dir)
  Norman Deming (Asst dir)
Producer: Louis F. Edelman (Prod)
Writer: Michael Fessier (Scr)
  Ernest Pagano (Scr)
  Delmer Daves (Scr)
  Carlos Olivari (Story)
  Sixto Póndal Ríos (Story)
Photography: Ted Tetzlaff (Dir of photog)
  Milton Bridenbecker (Cam)
Art Direction: Lionel Banks (Art dir)
  Rudolph Sternad (Assoc)
Film Editor: William Lyon (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Frank [A.] Tuttle (Int dec)
Costumes: Irene (Gowns)
Music: Leigh Harline (Mus dir)
  Paul Mertz (Asst)
  Conrad Salinger (Mus arr)
  Charles Pallos (Mus arr)
  Victor Hedgren (Vocal arr)
Sound: P. J. Faulkner (Mus rec)
  Malcolm Beelby (Rec supv)
Dance: Val Raset (Dance dir)
Country: United States

Music: "Chui Chui," by Nicanor Molinare and "The Shorty George," arranged by Lyle Murphy.
Songs: "Dearly Beloved," "You Were Never Lovelier," "I'm Old Fashioned," "Ding Dong Bell," "Wedding in the Spring" and "On the Beam," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
Composer: Jerome Kern
  Johnny Mercer
  Nicanor Molinare
  Lyle Murphy

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 19/10/1942 dd/mm/yyyy LP11650

PCA NO: 8635
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  Courtship
  Fathers and daughters
  Love letters
  Mistaken identity
 
Subjects (Minor): Americans in foreign countries
  Band leaders
  Contracts
  Dancers
  Engagements
  False accusations
  Frigidity (Psychology)
  Godparents
  Masked balls
  Nightclubs
  Orchids
  Secretaries
  Sisters
  Wedding anniversaries
  Weddings

Note: The working titles of this film were Carnival in Rio and The Gay Senorita . A HR news item adds that because all the sets on the Columbia lot were occupied, Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth were forced to rehearse in a hall on the grounds of Hollywood Cemetery. Prior to the film's release, Columbia launched a radio campaign featuring the songs heard in the picture, according to a HR news item. The song "Dearly Beloved" was nominated for an Academy Award and the picture was also nominated for Best Sound Recording and Best Score. Astaire and Hayworth previously starred together in the 1941 Columbia film You'll Never Get Rich (see below). Modern sources add that Nan Wynn dubbed Hayworth's singing voice. According to a news item in LAHE , in 1989, Astaire's widow sued Columbia, claiming that the studio owed her at least $25,000 in receipts from this picture and You'll Never Get Rich . The outcome of that suit is not known. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   10 Oct 1942.   
Daily Variety   5 Oct 42   p. 3.
Film Daily   5 Oct 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   25 May 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Jul 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Aug 42   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Oct 42   p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Express   22 Oct 1989.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   10 Oct 42   p. 945.
New York Times   4 Dec 42   p. 31.
Variety   7 Oct 42   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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