April 25th, 2012

Rita Hayworth: dancer

A fun juxtaposition, sent to me by a reader:

Madonna’s got absolutely nothing on Rita Hayworth. Watch Hayworth make an incredibly sensuous strip tease out of taking off a single glove:

Hayworth couldn’t sing; all her movie songs were dubbed, which was kept a secret at the time and was a source of shame for her. But she sure could dance. The child of two dancers, she had a love/hate relationship with the genre:

Margarita’s father wanted her to become a professional dancer, while her mother hoped she would become an actress. Her paternal grandfather Antonio Cansino was renowned as a Spanish classical dancer; he popularized the bolero and his dancing school in Madrid was world famous. Rita later recalled,

“From the time I was three and a half … as soon as I could stand on my own feet, I was given dance lessons. I didn’t like it very much … but I didn’t have the courage to tell my father, so I began taking the lessons. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that was my girlhood.”

In 1941 Hayworth said she was the antithesis of the characters she played. “I naturally am very shy … and I suffer from an inferiority complex.” She once complained that “[M]en fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me.” In 1970 she remarked that the only films she could watch without laughing were the dance musicals she made with Fred Astaire. “I guess the only jewels of my life,” Hayworth said, “were the pictures I made with Fred Astaire.”

10 Responses to “Rita Hayworth: dancer”

  1. Mr. Frank Says:

    The female stars of yesteryear seem so much more glamorous to me than what we have today. The dancing of that era was really special. I’d guess that dealing with a depression and world war gave people a need for glamor and escape.

  2. George Pal Says:

    I wouldn’t care to recount all the pheremone activity Ms Hayworth induced in me – repeatedly – as I’ve seen Gilda well over a dozen times. Her most memorable on screen performance to my memory – the way she feloniously vamped poor Tyrone Power in Blood and Sand.

  3. Roman Says:

    Madonna had a good voice, a while back. Comparing her to Rita Hayworth, or any of the post-war glamor stars, is silly. They had real class, Madonna has class, trouble is it is mostly third. She is just a world class bimbo.

  4. Ruth H Says:

    My brother in law sent the Stayin Alive video to me several days ago along with the question, “who is the tall blond in one of the first clips?” Do you know? My guess was Betty Grable.

    This is a remarkable assemblage to go with the music.

  5. LAG Says:

    Come on, neo, we all know beautiful sexy women were invented quite recently. Certainly by this generation (ad infinitum).

  6. MissJean Says:

    I think it also had something to do with the fact that PEOPLE DANCED back then. In that kind of environment, you’d have to do some fancy choreography to do a musical spectacular, wouldn’t you?

    I liken it to singing. One of the best impromptu singing I’ve ever heard was in the women’s bathroom at Wayne State University in Detroit. I kid you not. Someone came in humming something under her breath and another burst into song, after which others joined in, harmonizing and everything. Afterwards, we found out that only two had any “training” – one sang gospel at Grace Tabernacle and another was in her high school choir. We just all grew up singing to the radio, in churches, and/or with our friends. I don’t know that young people do that anymore; they seem so much more self-conscious than we were.

  7. Gringo Says:

    Yes she can!

  8. Steve Says:

    Astaire was a conservative. Many of the finest actors seem to be.

  9. Jan of MN Says:

    Hayworth dancing with Fred Astaire is a revelation to me — she partnered him admirably. I loved seeing so much of her dancing all at once. She was much, much better than I realized, and I’ve seen a number of her movies.

    On the topic of acting: Steve, I have to disagree. I’ve concluded that the finest actors tend to be liberal. My theory is that acting requires one to be exceptionally in touch and empathetic with human emotion, with an ability to “get inside” the personality of a character. At the same time, I think a really good actor may not be as skilled at reasoning or seeing society as a whole.

  10. CharlieSays Says:

    And I have to disagree with you, Jan. There were many fine conservative actors in Hollywood back in the day. It is a matter of culture and time. In my opinion our finest living American actor is Robert Duvall. Robert Duvall is conservative.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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