Though some may find this exuberant 1944 musical as corny as Kansas in August there’s no denying that it’s a feel-good dancing treat dished up by some of Hollywood’s finest, pairing the skills and style of bill-topping beauty Rita Hayworth, 24 at the time, with the athletic choreography of balletic Gene Kelly, an energetic 32, and the affable humour of Phil Silvers, himself no mean hoofer at 33.

Hayworth plays a chorus girl at Kelly’s Brooklyn nightclub, with Kelly and Silvers as loving friends, who gets to feature on a magazine cover because she looks just like the publisher’s lost love, actually her grandmother, also played by Hayworth in the flash-backs. After this valuable exposure Broadway and a rich theatre-owner who wants to marry her beckons and Hayworth sings and dances her way to stardom, with her songs in the film dubbed by talented singer Martha Mears who was also the singing voice of Hedy Lamarr, Veronica Lake, Lucille Ball and others. While she is away Kelly stages the fabulous dance with his alter-ego sequence, all done with trick photography and superimposition to give his reflection a ghost-like quality, and an early sign of the talent that would culminate in Singing in the Rain eight years later. This was voted number one in the Nation’s Favourite Dance Moment, and apparently performed by him when he was running a fever temperature of 103 For those who love a happy ending Hayworth realises just in time, aided by some alcohol and some harsh truths, that the theatre-owner is not for her and runs away from the wedding to go back to Kelly and Brooklyn. All together now…

Cover Girl is being released in a Dual -format Blu-ray and DVD edition on February 13 by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema series. Directed by Charles Vidor as Columbia’s first Technicolor musical, a format that looks especially good on the high-definition Blu-ray presentation. There is also an interview on Cover Girl with Australian film director, screen writer and producer Baz Luhrmann and a 28-page booklet featuring new writing on the film.

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