“Long Ago and Far Away,” written in 1944 by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin for the movie Cover Girl, is a beautiful and evocative song. Performed in the movie, which in itself is sublime, by Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth (dubbed by Martha Mears), it invokes such sweet longing finally realized. Even if it’s not Rita Hayworth actually singing it, the sight of she and Gene Kelly on screen together during this song is an enchantment the viewer doesn’t want to miss.
A few months ago I wrote about watching Casablanca in the movie theatre, and what a sublime event that was. Select theatres showed the classic because this year is the 70th anniversary of it’s release. Another great classic, Singin’ in the Rain is celebrating an anniversary, as well, it’s 60th.
It was brought back to select theatres for the viewing pleasure of those of us happy to be taken back to another place in time, or those who just want to see a movie much talked about and treasured through the years. It is widely considered the greatest musical in movie history. I would say it’s hard to argue with that sentiment. I’m a lover of musicals, they are fun and vibrant, and can make the gloomiest of days brighten and bloom. Singin’ in the Rain definitely does all these things. It makes me feel happy. It causes a tremor in my feet that makes them want to move across the floor. It brings a smile to my face and makes me want to burst out in song.
With a flip of her hair, Rita Hayworth could drive scores of males wild. She was the “love goddess,” a pinup for military soldiers, and she was a presence on-screen that demanded attention.
I may get a lot of complaints, but there aren’t movie stars like her anymore. On screen she was almost always glamorous, to the point of it being unrealistic, but isn’t that what movies are about? Older movies are my favorites for a lot of different reasons, but one is because you know you’re watching a movie, it is an escape from reality, it is entertainment. In real life, Rita Hayworth was still gorgeous, but from what has been told she was very humble and shy, and not always decked out in elegant gowns and glamorous make up. It seems today, it’s the opposite with stars. In their movies they all play worn out characters, wear prosthetic noses or “ugliness,” and try and “nail reality,” but in real life they always look like an unattainable perfection. Personally, I prefer the way it was in Rita Hayworth’s time.