Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess (1983)
As the 1970’s television version of 'Wonder Woman', Lynda Carter sent many hearts racing as she battled evil-doers in her skimpy, star-spangled costume. So she must have seemed an appropriate choice to portray a previous generation’s love goddess who, like Carter, could also sing and dance. Unfortunately this biopic doesn't give her much chance to prove she can act.
Made shortly after her battle with Alzheimer’s became public, Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess resembles a collection of fragmented memories. No sooner is Margarita Cansino tap dancing with Papa at a nightclub than she is practising lines for Charlie Chan in Egypt, marrying Ed Judson, fluffing her entrance in Only Angels Have Wings, loaned to Fox for Blood and Sand, divorcing Ed Judson, singing and dancing in Cover Girl, marrying Orson Welles, performing 'Put the Blame on Mame' from Gilda, reading lines for The Lady from Shanghai, divorcing Orson Welles and then marrying Aly Khan. And the movie is barely one hour into its 90 minute running time!
According to his Wikipedia entry, director James Goldstone helped pioneer the concept of "thirty-second attention span" pacing in preference to providing content. This biopic is a prime example of the concept in action, skimming through Hayworth’s eventful life with less detail than a Fantales wrapper. The resultant lack of substance, dramatic impetus and audience empathy leads to but one conclusion. Put the blame on James, boys. Put the blame on James.
as Rita Hayworth
as Orson Welles
as Howard Hawks
as Vincent Sherman
Though Harry Cohn is depicted adding a Y to Rita’s mother’s maiden name to come up with HAYWORTH, the 1900 Census for Washington City, District of Columbia shows Rita’s mother listed as Volga HAYWORTH. The Haworth genealogy site indicates that it was Rita’s great-great-grandfather who first changed the family's name from Haworth to Hayworth.
Due to the producer's not having permission to use scenes from Rita Hayworth's movies, this biopic features not so much recreations than representations of scenes from Only Angels Have Wings, Cover Girl, Gilda and Affair in Trinidad.