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   DOWN TO EARTH (1947)posters/downtoearth.jpg 

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CAST
Rita Hayworth
Larry Parks
Marc Platt
Roland Culver
James Gleason
Edward Everett Horton
Adele Jergens
George Macready
William Frawley
Dorothy Hart
William Haade

DIRECTED BY
Alexander Hall

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 101 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Musical/Drama/Romance


SYNOPSIS: Upset about a new Broadway musical's mockery of Greek mythology, the goddess Terpsichore comes down to earth and lands a part in the show. She works her charms on the show's producer and he incorporates her changes into the show. Unfortunately, her changes also produce a major flop, leaving him in real financial trouble.

BOTTOM LINE: While not exactly a sequel to HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, this film does employ a few of the same characters and a similar plot device – that of sending someone who has moved on to the afterworld back to earth. In this case, Rita plays Terpsichore, an eternal Greek goddess (big stretch there), who decides to take matters into her own hands when a Broadway producer makes fun of her and the additional six muses. How she would find out or why she would care about a silly little musical are questions best left unpondered. She requests the help of Mr. Jordan, the afterlife's gatekeeper so to speak, to make her human so she can curb the slander being perpetrated against her and showcase her real story to the cleary ignorant modern world. Her sentiments not mine. He agrees to her plan – he needs her help to save someone on Earth – and places her in the care of Messenger 7013 (Horton reprising his role from JORDAN), who is extremely unhappy with the assignment. Much "comedy" ensues due to the fact that she's the only one who can see him.

It goes without saying that as the muse of music and dance she causes quite an uproar when she arrives at the theater, quickly taking over the lead role in the show and immediately working on its director, played adequately by Parks, to make some classier and more accurate changes. What she doesn't know is that Danny has borrowed money against his life to produce the show, so if it flops he's in serious trouble. This is an incentive/threat I never quite understand. If you're dead how are you supposed to pay someone back? It doesn't take long for Terpsichore/Kitty and Danny to fall for each other or for trouble to brew amongst the other dancers in the show. No one likes Kitty's ideas, which fail to please regular, modern audiences as well. This places Danny in between the wrath of his muse and the wrath of his backer. It's a hard pill for Kitty to swallow, but rather than see Danny dead she agrees to go back to his original fun, non-historically accurate version and saves the day. It's very generous of her I thought. The ending has Terpsichore back where she belongs but not before she learns what it's like to be human and suffer a broken heart. She made a deal with Mr. Jordan and she has to keep her end of the bargain.


"Tears are only for mortals. It's an advantage they have over us."

While this film has great art direction and truly unique musical numbers it would have disappeared into obscurity without the amazing presence of Hayworth. She's not the best singer or dancer, but her beauty and enthusiasm more than makes up for it. She's also a pretty good comedienne, which helps in a film with a plot as wacky as this. I can understand why Claude Rains deferred from playing Mr. Jordan here. Horton and Gleason, two of the best character actors of this time, are consummate professionals, using their considerable comic talents to raise the level of this film by at least a half star. They are always a welcome site in a cast list to those who like witty, clever comedy. While this is certainly one of the more uniquely plotted musicals I have ever seen, it's mostly due to Hayworth's charm, which thankfully is enormous, that it's even remotely enjoyable. If you're not a fan of hers, this is one to skip.



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