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Fred Astaire is a performer whose meticulous work one never tires of watching. Astaire always made his dancing look effortless, no matter the amount of athleticism required to bring off his routines, either with or without a partner. While we wait for the legendary films he made with Ginger Rogers at RKO to make their debut on DVD, the folks at Columbia TriStar bring us YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH ($20), one of the two delightfully diverting musicals in which Astaire co-starred with the gorgeous Rita Hayworth, who does a great job dancing with Astaire.

The plot of YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH finds Astaire portraying dancer Robert Curtis, who finds his love life complicated by the extramarital shenanigans of his boss, producer Martin Cortland (Robert Benchley), after he is caught trying to romance showgirl Sheila Winthrop (Hayworth). Entangled in the romantic web spun by Cortland, Curtis sees a way out when he is drafted into the army. However, things are further complicated when Curtis realizes that he’s in love with Sheila and she is about to marry someone else. The cast of YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH also includes John Hubbard, Frieda Inescort, Donald MacBride and Marjorie Gateson.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH available on DVD in a pretty nice looking full screen transfer that frames the movie in its proper 1.37:1 aspect ratio. The black and white film element shows signs of age in the form of mild blemishes and scratches, none of which are too distracting. Additionally, there are a couple of shots in the film that has been replaced with footage that appears several generations removed from the original negative. Still, for the most part, the image appears rather sharp and nicely defined. Blacks are inky, whites are stable and the picture produces good contrast and grayscale. There is a noticeable grain structure for much of the presentation, but it is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are a non-issue.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack holds up well, when one considers that the recordings are over six decades old. Most of the background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up, plus the Cole Porter music sounds pleasant, despite the limited fidelity. Additionally, dialogue is always completely understandable. Although no other language tracks are included on the DVD, subtitles have been provided in English, French and Japanese. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as trailers for YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, GILDA and THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI.

YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH is a fun and diverting musical in which Fred Astaire not only get to dance with the beauteous Rita Hayworth, he also does some of his most energetic, yet effortless, solo dancing. Columbia’s DVD looks and sounds fine, making it something that Astaire and Hayworth fans will want to check out.



You'll Never Get Rich (1941)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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