AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Cover Girl
Director: Charles Vidor (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Apr 1944
Production Date:   3 Jul--13 Nov 1943
Duration (in mins):   105
Duration (in feet):   9,623
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Cast:   Rita Hayworth (Rusty Parker)  
    Gene Kelly (Danny McGuire)  
    Lee Bowman (Noel Wheaton)  
    Phil Silvers (Genius)  
    Jinx Falkenburg (Jinx)  
    Leslie Brooks (Maurine Martin)  
    Eve Arden (Cornelia Jackson)  
    Otto Kruger (John Coudair)  
    Jess Baker (John Coudair as a young man)  
    Anita Colby (Anita)  
    Curt Bois (Chem)  
  And The Cover Girls: American Magazine: Jean Colleran    
  American Home: Francine Counihan    
  Collier's Magazine: Helen Mueller    
  Coronet: Cecilia Meagher    
  Cosmpolitan Magazine: Betty Jane Hess    
  Farm Journal: Dusty Anderson    
  The Glamour Magazine: Eileen McClory    
  Harper's Bazaar Magazine: Cornelia E. Von Hessert    
  The Liberty Magazine: Karen X. Gaylord    
  Look: Cheryl Archibald    
  Mademoiselle Magazine: Peggy Lloyd    
  McCall: Betty Jane Graham    
  Red Book: Martha Outlaw    
  The Vogue Magazine: Susann Shaw    
  The Woman's Home Companion: Rose May Robson    
    Ed Brophy (Joe)  
    Thurston Hall (Tony Pastor)  
    William Kline (Chauffeur)  
    Bud Ross (Chauffeur)  
    Victor Travers (Bartender)  
    Robert F. Hill (Headwaiter)  
    John Tyrrell (Electrician)  
    Frank O'Connor (Cook)  
    Eugene Anderson Jr. (Busboy)  
    Sam Ash (Assistant cook)  
    Vin Moore (Waiter)  
    Caryl Lincoln (Checker)  
    Ralph Sanford (Truckman)  
    Ralph Peters (Truckman)  
    Bob Homans (Doorman)  
    Grace Gillern (Dancer)  
    Eddie Cutler (Dancer)  
    Randolph Hughes (Dancer)  
    Jack Barnett (Dancer)  
    George Dobbs (Dancer)  
    Al Norman (Dancer)  
    Larry Rio (Dancer)  
    Jack Boyle (Dancer)  
    Barbara Pepper (Chorus girl)  
    Grace Lenard (Chorus girl)  
    Stanley Clements (Elevator boy)  
    Constance Worth (Receptionist)  
    Gwen Seager (Cover girl contestant)  
    Sally Cairns (Cover girl contestant)  
    Eloise Hart (Cover girl contestant)  
    Diane Griffith (Cover girl contestant)  
    Wesley Brent (Cover girl contestant)  
    Lucille Allen (Cover girl contestant)  
    Virginia Gardner (Cover girl contestant)  
    Helene Garron (Cover girl contestant)  
    Muriel Morris (Cover girl contestant)  
    Patti Sacks (Cover girl contestant)  
    Marion Graham (Cover girl contestant)  
    Francis Morris (Coudair's secretary)  
    William Sloan (Naval officer)  
    Billy Benedict (Florist boy)  
    Fern Emmett (Woman columnist)  
    Grace Hayle (Woman columnist)  
    Milt Kibbee (Photographer)  
    Glenn Charles (Boy)  
    Rudy Wissler (Boy)  
    Jackie Brown (Boy)  
    Ilene Brewer (Girl)  
    Patti Sheldon (Girl)  
    John Dilson (Rusty's photographer)  
    Warren Ashe (Rusty's interviewer)  
    Jack Rice (Reporter)  
    Sam Flint (Butler)  
    Ed Allen (Best man)  
    George Lessey (Minister)  
    Jack Norton (Drunk)  
    Eddie Dunn (Policeman)  
    Miriam Lavelle (Specialty dancer)  
    Miriam Franklin (Specialty dancer)  
    Ronald Wyckoff (Specialty dancer)  
    Fred Nay (Milkman)  

Summary: Eager to attain fame and glory, chorine Maxine Martin enters a contest to be a Vanity magazine cover girl. Inspired by Maxine's initiative, Rusty Parker, a fellow dancer at Danny Maguire's Brooklyn nightclub, also enters the contest. The women are interviewed by Cornelia Jackson, the assistant to magazine publisher John Coudair. When Jackson expresses an interest in Rusty, Maxine sabotages her rival's chances by telling her that Jackson is looking for a model with a brash personality. Consequently, when Rusty sashays into her office, Jackson dismisses her as a "gland case." Jackson then proposes Maxine as a candidate for the cover, and Coudair insists on going to Danny's club to see her in her "natural environment." At the club, Coudair is enchanted by Rusty, who reminds him of his long-lost sweetheart, Maribelle Hicks. Coudair recalls a night forty years earlier when he saw Maribelle dance at Tony Pastor's club and fell hopelessly in love. After her performance that night, Rusty joins Danny and Genius, another entertainer at the club, at Joe's oyster bar, where they engage in their Friday night ritual of searching for a pearl to bring them luck. When the three return to their apartment house, Rusty finds a telegram from Coudair, inviting her to his office the next day. Fearful that Coudair's offer will endanger the trio's close friendship, Genius tears up the telegram, but after he retires to his room, Rusty pieces it back together. Rusty keeps her appointment with Coudair, and when the publisher learns that Maribelle Hicks was her grandmother, he awards her his magazine's cover. Danny is crestfallen when Rusty's issue appears on the newstands, arguing that she should achieve success with her feet and not her face. Drawn by Rusty's notoriety, crowds begin to flock to Danny's club, and one day, Coudair brings Broadway theater owner Noel Wheaton to meet Rusty and offer her a job. After Rusty rejects his overture, Wheaton tries to woo her with armloads of roses. When Wheaton's strategy fails, Coudair joins forces with him to lure Rusty to Broadway. To achieve his goal, Coudair sends Rusty an invitation to Vanity 's 50th anniversary dinner. Rusty informs Danny that she plans to miss her performance at the club to attend the party, prompting an argument. Coudair summons Danny to pick up Rusty after the party, and Danny arrives at the Coudair mansion to find the house deserted except for his host. After admonishing Danny to free Rusty so that she can move on to a better life, Coudair recalls the day he introduced Maribelle to his society matron mother. When his mother disapproved of their romance, Maribelle threatened to return to her piano player sweetheart. As Coudair remininsces about the past, Wheaton drives Rusty to his luxurious Broadway theater, and she cavorts on the deserted stage. After leaving Coudair's house, Danny joins Genius at Joe's to wait for Rusty. When she fails to appear, Danny, after tortuous self-reflection, decides to sever his relationship with her. The next day, Rusty is late for rehearsal, and Danny gives her song to Maxine to perform. Rusty protests and storms out of the club, bound for Broadway. After making Rusty a star, Wheaton offers to make her his wife, and she agrees to give him an answer the following day. That night Rusty drives to Danny's club and discovers that Danny has closed his establishment and left town with Genius to entertain at army camps. She then goes to Joe's, where Wheaton and Coudair later find her, drunk. Although she accepts Wheaton's proposal, Coudair realizes that she is desperately unhappy. When Danny and Genius learn of Rusty's impending marriage, they come home to Brooklyn and Joe's. As Joe informs them that Rusty's wedding is to take place that night, Danny cracks open an oyster and finds a pearl. Determined to reunite the lovers, Genius takes the pearl to Coudair and asks him to deliver it to Rusty. Aware that Rusty is a most unhappy bride, Jackson exhorts Coudair to rectify his mistake of breaking up Rusty and Danny. As Coudair escorts Rusty down the aisle to the sound of the wedding march, he hands her the pearl and completes his story of his romance with Maribelle, revealing that Maribelle deserted him at the altar for her piano player. Heartened by Coudair's tale, Rusty realizes that she belongs with Danny, and as the minister recites the wedding vows, she announces that she is leaving. Still dressed in her wedding gown, Rusty hurries to Joe's and is there reunited with Danny and Genius in a joyful dance. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Charles Vidor (Dir)
  Oscar Boetticher Jr. (Asst dir)
  William R. Anderson (Dial dir)
Producer: Arthur Schwartz (Prod)
  Norman Deming (Asst to the prod)
  Sidney Buchman (Exec prod)
Writer: Virginia Van Upp (Scr)
  Marion Parsonnet (Adpt)
  Paul Gangelin (Adpt)
  Erwin Gelsey (Story)
Photography: Rudolph Maté (Dir of photog)
  Allen M. Davey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Lionel Banks (Art dir)
  Cary Odell (Art dir)
Film Editor: Viola Lawrence (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Fay Babcock (Set dec)
Costumes: Travis Banton (Gowns)
  Gwen Wakeling (Gowns)
  Muriel King (Gowns)
  Keneth Hopkins (Hats)
Music: M. W. Stoloff (Mus dir)
  Carmen Dragon (Orch)
Sound: P. J. Faulkner (Mus rec)
Special Effects: John Hoffman (Mont and "Cover Girl" presentation)
Dance: Val Raset (Dance numbers staged by)
  Seymour Felix (Dance numbers staged by)
  Gene Kelly (Choreog)
  Stanley Donen (Choreog)
Make Up: Clay Campbell (Makeup)
  Helen Hunt (Hair styles by)
Production Misc: Hoffman & Coburn (Magazine covers created by)
  Robert Coburn (Magazine covers photographed by)
  Harry Conover (Tech adv)
  Anita Colby (Tech adv)
Stand In: Diana Gayle (Singing voice double for Jinx Falkenburg)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor col consultant)
  Morgan Padelford (Assoc)
Country: United States

Songs: "Poor John" music and lyrics by Fred W. Leigh and Henry E. Pether; "Sure Thing," "The Show Must Go On," "Who's Complaining," "Put Me to the Test," Make Way for Tomorrow," "Long Ago and Far Away" and "Cover Girl," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
Composer: Ira Gershwin
  Jerome Kern
  Fred W. Leigh
  Henry E. Pether

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 6/4/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12592

PCA NO: 9395
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: with songs
  Show business
Subjects (Major): Dancers
  Romantic rivalry
Subjects (Minor): Ambition
  New York City--Broadway
  New York City--Brooklyn
  Nightclub owners
  Proposals (Marital)
  Theater owners
  Unrequited love

Note: This picture marked Gene Kelly's first significant venture into film choreography. Although Val Rasset and Seymour Felix are credited with staging the film's dance numbers, Kelly actually devised the routines performed by his character "Danny" according to the Var review, and was assisted by Stanley Donen, who had previously worked with Kelly on Broadway. The Var review hailed Kelly's synchronized dance with his inner conscience (often called the "Alter Ego" number in modern sources) as "one of the top performances of this type ever to be screened." According to a 1 Feb 1943 HR news item, Columbia originally wanted to borrow Dennis Morgan from Warner Bros. to play "Danny." According to Jul 1943 HR news items, Kelly was to return to M-G-M by mid-Sep 1943 to begin shooting Dragon Seed . After that film was temporarily canceled, M-G-M extended Kelly's loan to Columbia. The picture marked the producing debut of former composer and screenwriter Arthur Schwartz. It was also Columbia's first Technicolor musical.
       A Feb 1944 HR news item noted that Virginia Van Upp's screenplay won her a promotion to associate producer. The film also featured the first screen collaboration of composers Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin.
       HR news items yield the following information about the production: From Apr to May 1942, Garrett Fort and Virginia Kellogg were hired to write the film's screenplay, but by Sep 1942 Harry Segall was slated to write it. The extent of all three writers' contribution to the released film has not been determined, however. According to a Jul 1942 news item, Janet Blair was to star with Rita Hayworth and Jinx Falkenburg. May 1943 news items announced that Irving Cummings was replacing William A. Seiter as director. According to a 4 Aug 1943 news item, John Halliday was originally slated for the role of "John Coudair." Although various news items, publicity items and production charts add Marjorie Jackson, Betty Brody, Johnny Mitchell (as Douglass Drake) and Robert Stanford to the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Other HR news items noted that the cover girls featured in the film were the actual models who appeared in the magazines. The dance numbers were filmed simultaneously by three cameras, one set up for close-ups, one for long shots and one for medium shots. This method was employed to cut down the number of takes needed for the dance sequences, according to HR .
       Modern sources add the following information: Martha Mears dubbed the singing voice of Rita Hayworth; Robert Coburn, who shot some of the magazine covers, was the head of the Columbia stills department. In his autobiography, songwriter Saul Chaplin states that he worked as assistant musical director on the picture and that Alex Romero assisted Kelly and Stanley Donen. Chapin also asserted that Kelly directed, as well as staged, the "alter ego" number. Modern sources also add Shelley Winters and Virginia Wilson to the cast. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Color Cinematography and Best Color Art Direction, and the song "Long Ago and Far Away" was nominated for Best Song. The picture won the Academy Award for Best Score. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   11-Mar-44   
Daily Variety   2 Mar 44   p. 3, 10
Down Beat   15 Jul 43   p. 8.
Film Daily   7 Mar 44   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Apr 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Apr 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   25 May 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jun 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Sep 42   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Feb 43   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Apr 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Apr 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   21 May 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   24 May 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jul 43   , 15907
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jul 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jul 43   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Aug 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Mar 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Apr 44   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   11 Mar 44   p. 1793.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   10 Jul 43   p. 1416.
New York Times   31 Mar 44   p. 26.
Variety   8 Mar 44   p. 14.

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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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