You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)

  • Year: 1941
  • Released: 25 Sep 1941
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: Nominated for 2 Oscars. 2 nominations total
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Passed
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Runtime: 88 min
  • Writer: Michael Fessier, Ernest Pagano
  • Director: Sidney Lanfield
  • Cast: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
  • Keywords: new york city, dancing, army, show business, nightclub, musical,
80% – Critics
59% – Audience

You’ll Never Get Rich Storyline

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he’s not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in the middle of the boss’s scheme. Army conscription offers Robert the perfect escape from his troubles- or does it?—Diana Hamilton

You’ll Never Get Rich Photos

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You’ll Never Get Rich Movie Reviews

Hayworth seems a bit too “grand” for Astaire’s self-effacing style…

Released shortly before America’s entry into the war, Columbia’s “You’ll Never Get Rich” is one of Fred Astaire’s better films during the relatively dry period that extended from his last RKO film with Ginger Rogers to his first films at MGM…

Since leaving RKO and Ginger Rogers, Astaire had danced with Eleanor Powell in “Broadway Melody of 1940” and with Paulette Goddard in “Second Chorus.”

In “You’ll Never Get Rich,” he had a new partner in Rita Hayworth: a lushly beautiful redheaded actress who was being prepared for stardom in mostly low-budget films… She was a talented dancer who had worked with her family for many years in a vaudeville act called the Dancing Casinos…

“You’ll Never Get Rich” cast Astaire as Robert Curtis, a Broadway dance director who is drafted into the army… He becomes involved in an on-again, off-again romance with Sheila Winthrop (Hayworth), a beautiful chorus girl whose fiancé is a captain in the army… The not-very-interesting plot is often interrupted for musical interludes… Astaire and Hayworth dance together twice—to the sensuous Latin beat of “So Near and Yet So Far,” and in “The Wedding Cake Walk,” a military finale which has a chorus of war brides and soldiers, plus the two stars, dancing atop a huge tank…

Astaire and Hayworth make an attractive dance team, although Hayworth seems a bit too formidable, too “grand” for Astaire’s self-effacing style…. Astaire also has several numbers without Hayworth: most notably, a dance in a guardhouse to the song “Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye,” in which he combines several kinds of dazzling footwork…

“You’ll Never Get Rich” is lightweight but amiable entertainment, and it kept Astaire dancing

Not much plot but plenty of Rita

“You’ll Never Get Rich” is a 1941 film starring Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley, and a very large cast. Benchley plays Martin Cortland, a producer who chases around on his wife (Frieda Inescort) and sets his sights on Sheila (Hayworth), who is in his current show along with Robert Curtis (Astaire). When his wife suspects, Martin has Robert take Sheila out and present her with a diamond bracelet that Martin actually purchased for her but that his wife found in his pocket. Martin then pretends he bought it for Robert to give to Sheila. Sheila angrily refuses it, and when Robert goes to her place to explain, he comes face to face with her boyfriend, whom he thinks is her brother – whoever he is, he has a gun in his hand. Robert finds himself drafted and, desperate to get in and avoid Sheila’s boyfriend, pads himself with the 5 extra pounds he needs to get into the service. He then spends just about the rest of the film in the guard house until the grand finale – and even then, he’s returned to the guard house.

That’s the story and admittedly, it’s not much. There are some very good dance numbers, but the thing about the film that’s special is the partnership of Astaire and Hayworth. They are marvelous together. Supposedly Rita was his favorite partner, and it’s easy to see why. She doesn’t dance; she floats, and she’s so gloriously beautiful, you can’t take your eyes off of her. Fred and Rita dance to the “Boogie Barcarole,” “So Near Yet So Far,” and “The Wedding Cake Walk,” sung by Martha Tilton for Rita. Fred’s solos include “Shootin’ the Work for Uncle Sam,” and “Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye.” It’s hard to go wrong with stars like Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, and while this isn’t the best film of either one of them, it’s still enjoyable.

You’re In The Army Now, Fred

Though the 42 year old Fred Astaire was certainly not eligible for the peacetime draft still he plays the would be soldier very well in You’ll Never Get Rich. Leaving Rita Hayworth is certain to be a problem though.

The first peacetime draft in American history forms the background for this film in the same way as Universal’s Abbott and Costello classic, Buck Privates. You’ll Never Get Rich bares some resemblance to Buck Privates in the comedy portions of the film though it does stay away from the burlesque aspects that Abbott and Costello brought to it.

Remember this is a Fred Astaire film and in the plot it has a lot of resemblance to what Astaire had been recently doing over at RKO with Ginger Rogers. The same kind of kittenish romantic complications with humorist Robert Benchley taking the Eric Blore/Victor Moore part as the one who causes all the problems.

The dance numbers bear a strong resemblance to the routines Astaire did with Rogers. But here he is being brought over to Columbia to showcase the woman who would be Columbia Picture’s mealticket for the next decade and a half.

Rita Hayworth was just coming into her own as a box office attraction when this film was done. On the dance floor she complements the elegant Mr. Astaire divinely. This was the first of two films she did with Astaire and while I like You Were Never Lovelier a lot better than this one, You’ll Never Get Rich is still entertaining.

Cole Porter wrote the score for this film and it’s probably one of his lesser efforts for the screen and stage. Still it did have an Oscar nominated song in Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye. It’s not a song that immediately brings Cole Porter to mind for today’s audience though.

Will both Rita Hayworth and Uncle Sam get the services of Fred Astaire? See You’ll Never Get Rich and find out.