A Muse and Her Man – Down to Earth (1947)

Terpsichore, one of the nine muses of Greek mythology, the goddess of dance and chorus, has heard about a Broadway musical being put on about her life by producer Danny Miller. Of course, it is inaccurate for how could any man know anything about her life and so she makes it her mission to go down to Earth and set him right. Getting there is half the battle though and she finds her travel agent in Mr. Jordan who does indeed let her go down to Earth, but only to aid Danny so that his musical might become a hit, not realizing that as she does just that, it is actually saving his life. Along the way, she becomes the lead in his show and soon falls in love with him and he with her leading to the eventual happy ending that everyone knows is coming.

When all is said and done, Down to Earth is a silly picture with a silly premise and filled with silliness throughout, but it is such an entertaining little film with Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks doing such a good job as the leads and Roland Culver as the angel on her shoulder that one cannot help but fall in love with it. It is hard to think that she also starred in The Lady From Shanghai released during the same year and just the year prior to this Hayworth had just appeared in Gilda, a powerhouse piece of noir, films that would advance her career far more than this one ever could and yet, she was no stranger to musicals having appeared with everyone from Fred Astaire to Gene Kelly over the years. It goes to prove that Hayworth could essentially do it all, transforming from femme fatale to musical goddess as easily as flicking a switch and providing entertainment for audiences everywhere. There are quite a few songs throughout, not to mention a nice, lighthearted script for her to work with thus making the end result an unexpected, yet delightful surprise with Hayworth making it all seem effortless.

For some, the movie might give them a sense of déjà vu as if they had seen this before in some way or manner, at least in regards to the character of Mr. Jordan and they would be right as the film would be a sort of unofficial sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan released some six years previous. While the role would be recast with Culver taking over for Claude Rains and this picture having nothing to do with the other, it would never hamper the storyline within and that familiarity would add another layer of enjoyment for those that had seen the first movie those many years ago. Culver for his part would do a fantastic job with his dry wit and seeming unending patience with a goddess who seemingly had none. Also featured in the cast as Mr. Jordan’s assistant would be the very likeable and genius actor himself, Edward Everett Horton who would accompany Terpsichore to Earth in order to keep her on the straight and narrow as it were.  The casting in this film is perfect and it never stops from putting a smile upon the face of the audience as Terpsichore learns a little about humanity and a little more about love.

As silly as it might seem at first glance, Down to Earth is one of those feel-good pictures that everyone needs in their life at certain points, a harmless bit of fluff that will raise the spirits of any who give it a view filled with good song and better performances from some of the best in the game, a film well worth the time in seeking out.

4 out of 5

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