From Cover Girl (1944). Directed by Charles Vidor (same director as Gilda). Starring Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth. It is, putting it mildly, NOT a film noir. It’s a musical comedy, having to do with high-fashion, Broadway, class differences, Brooklyn vs. Manhattan, and love. Rita Hayworth is to die for, especially in color, where you can see her red hair and (best of all) her flushed cheeks. Makeup shmakeup, she looks fresh and flushed and beautiful.
Hayworth was a phenomenal dancer, athletic and enthusiastic, passionate, her back-bending movements, the head thrown back. Watch her leap.
She and Gene Kelly, the ultimate in athleticism and grace, have a couple of great numbers in Cover Girl, but this one is the best. There are so many levels: those stairs, that curvy ramp. They leap around all of them, and it seems precarious (won’t they trip?) but of course they never do. The world is their oyster. (Pun, if you’ve seen the movie, which has an ongoing oyster joke).
What you get in this number, rigorous though it is, is a sheer joy in what their bodies can do, the story they are telling.
The hours of rehearsal to get this right and then to get the spirit into it must have been insane.
But watch them fly.