The romantic film One Touch of Venus is a wonderful way to round up Ava Gardner as our Favorite of the Month. Gardner is perfectly cast as the Goddess of Love, Venus herself, who changes from a statue into flesh when she is kissed by Eddie Hatch (Robert Walker) a window dresser at a department store; and his life is about to become awfully complicated!
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Ava Gardner was loaned out from MGM to Universal to make the film.
Universal originally considered Deanna Durbin for the role of Venus.
Mary Pickford originally bought the screen rights to the play, but in the end sold the rights to Universal.
Ava Gardner’s singing was dubbed by Eileen Wilson.
Robert Walker became rather infatuated with Ava during filming, and the two did go out on the town together. Ava however didn’t feel the same feelings as Walker did, and Walker slapped her across the face when he realised she had resumed a romantic interest with the actor Howard Duff.
Eddie Hatch (Robert Walker) is a window dresser at Savory’s department store. His girlfriend Gloria (Olga San Juan) is awfully keen for them to be married, but Eddie secretly confides in his best friend Joe (Dick Haymes) that he isn’t so sure.
Owner of the department store Whitfield Savory (Tom Conway) is about to reveal a $200,000 statue of Venus, the Goddess of Love, and asks Eddie to fix the curtains intended for the unveiling of the statue that evening. Whilst Eddie is fixing the drapes, and somewhat light-headed after drinking some alcohol Whitfield has left behind, he kisses the statue. This is where Eddie’s entire life turns upside down, for he feels a tap on his shoulder, and turns to see the real life Venus (Ava Gardner) stood before him!
Naturally, the unveiling of the statue later that night goes embarrassingly wrong for Whitfield when he pulls up the now fixed curtain to reveal nothing more than a ladder. Luckily Whitfield has his secretary Molly Stewart (Eve Arden) to support him. Eddie tries to hide Venus from Joe as well as Gloria, who now believes is being cheated on. But it looks as if Joe and Gloria themselves may be a better match.
Poor Eddie has to avoid going to prison for the suspected theft of the statue, but it isn’t going to be easy, as there’s no statue to return. Furthermore, Eddie and Venus have fallen in love, which complicates matters even further!
This is the third time I have seen One Touch of Venus. The film is so fun and light-hearted and is an absolute joy to watch. Ava Gardner was still in the early stages of her stardom when the film was made, and she seems like such a natural playing the light-hearted and carefree Venus, it was as if the role were made especially for her.
Gardner is supported by a great cast. Robert Walker was just brilliant as the nervous and stressed out Eddie Hatch, and my other favorite character without a doubt had to be Eve Arden’s Molly Stewart. You may know her best as Principal McGee in Grease (1978) or as Ida Corwin in Mildred Pierce (1945), and she was always so great as strong, independent characters with a dry sense of humour, and her character Molly in One Touch of Venus is no exception!
We at Classic Movie Favorites hope our readers have enjoyed Ava Gardner as our Favorite of the Month. I’ve not only enjoyed discovering films of Ava’s which I had never seen, but also revisiting those I have enjoyed viewing before.
Photos courtesy of “DoctorMacro”