1 September 2005 | blanche-2
Two tragic stars in a delightful fantasy
There were many beautiful women during Hollywood's golden years, but only a small percentage would qualify as goddesses. Rita Hayworth was definitely one of that elite group, possibly never more stunningly beautiful as she appeared in "Down To Earth." As Terpsichore, goddess of music and dance, she comes to earth to star -- and correct -- a Broadway show about Terpsichore. Several characters from "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" appear, with Roland Culver taking the Claude Rains' role of Mr. Jordan. Larry Parks plays the producer-director-star, Danny Miller, who has to pay off a gambling debt with this show or die.
Though the music isn't that memorable, the story is charming, and the film contains a lovely performance and great dancing by Hayworth (whose voice is dubbed by Anita Ellis), and she's given excellent support by James Gleason, Culver, and Edward Everett Horton.
Larry Parks, fresh from his star-making role in "The Jolson Story" does a good job but one wonders, had he not been blacklisted, what would have happened to his career. He wasn't a particularly strong leading man. But we'll never know, because a few years later, he was finished.
As for Hayworth, it's a shame that someone so incredibly beautiful and vivacious, who brought so much happiness through her work, could have had such a miserable life - abuse by her father, a string of bad marriages, and finally Alzheimer's. It was her Alzheimer's that helped to bring the disease to national attention. Princess Yasmin Khan, Hayworth's daughter, has become an internationally known spokeswoman and active fund-raiser to increase awareness and finance research to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Besides her glorious presence, Rita had one more gift for the world.