Down to Earth (1947)

Genres - Fantasy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Parody/Spoof, Satire  |   Release Date - Aug 21, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Considering how bad much of it is, Down to Earth is actually kind of fun, even if most of it is of the "what in the world were they thinking?" variety. The production would have benefited from a lighter touch -- not mention a consistency of tone -- but its biggest problem is that the plot is ridiculous and the dialogue alternates between ponderous and ludicrous. Many other musicals have had similar problems, but they had brilliant (or at least buoyant) scores to help them out; Earth's songs are either unmemorable or memorable for the wrong reasons. Fortunately for one and all, there's Rita Hayworth, looking absolutely stunning and exuding enough charm and appeal to help smooth over the many rough spots. She's helped by the film's attractive production design, including some of the lushest color around at the time; it may not seem like much on paper, but the combination of Hayworth, the costumes, and the particular color choices packs quite a wallop. Add to this some choreography from Jack Cole that is never less than interesting, and on occasion is dazzling, and viewers may find themselves having a much better time than anticipated. Neither Larry Parks nor Roland Culver help things much -- Parks is given a lousy part, and Culver is too fussy and stuffy -- but some old reliables like James Gleason, Edward Everett Horton, and William Frawley do help out. For all its considerable flaws, Earth is heaven compared to its remake, the dreadful Xanadu.