Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Argentinean horse owner Don Diego (Henry Stephenson) sends his son Ricardo (Don Ameche) to New York to sell some horses, but instructs him not to sell any to Binnie Crawford (Charlotte Greenwood) because of a betrayal he suffered years ago at the hands of her brother. Once there, Ricardo is smitten by the lovely Glenda who wants to buy Don Diego's prize horse Carmelita, but just as he's about to finalize the sale, he discovers that Glenda is Binnie's niece and stops the deal but doesn't tell her why. Perturbed, she, accompanied by Aunt Binnie, follows him back to Argentina where shenanigans, misunderstandings, and musical numbers occur until this Romeo & Juliet couple finally get together. This lightweight musical is the first of the Fox Technicolor musicals of the 40s, the first big-budget movie to feature Betty Grable as a lead, and contains the first appearance of Carmen Miranda, who appears as herself—she has no dialogue, sings two nightclub numbers, and vanishes from the movie. The romance is clearly inspired by the Astaire/Rogers musicals but there are too many odd and unmotivated plot twists, and I never really cared much if Grable and Ameche got together. But Grable (pictured) is lovely and dances well, and Ameche is dashing and nails his accent for which I give him bonus points. Leonid Kinskey is amusing as a gigolo who squires Greenwood around Buenos Aries, and J. Carroll Naish has a small but important role as a horse trainer. I found some of the broken English dialogue amusing: "Allow me to deduce myself"; "He has a memory to forget" (about a forgetful person); a hotel room is described as having "a beautiful look over the city." The Nicholas Brothers provide, as they often did, the real highlight of the movie with their athletic dancing. The colorful DVD print is gorgeous. [DVD]

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