Monday, June 7, 2010
Movie Review Monday~ 'Down Argentine Way' (1940)
Starring: Don Ameche and Betty Grable
Directed by: Irving Cummings
Standard movie musicals of the late 30's involved fluffy stories with pretty locales and forgettable songs. This one has two things going for it that prevent it from falling into that category. One is the electric presence of Carmen Miranda during a few key numbers, and the other is the absolutely brilliant dance number by the Nicholas Brothers. They were a phenomenon indeed, and this movie highlights their performance with beautiful technicolor and a lovely stage setting. Otherwise, the movie doesn't hold up to superior films of the genre. Betty Grable's dancing has always been a bit clumsy, in my eyes, and Don Ameche, although a credible male presence, was not much of an actor at this time. Still, the movie should be seen for the strong points and provides a pleasant diversion, in general.
Style Factor: The costumes are actually very pretty, in keeping with other movie musicals of the era. The genre was entering its Golden Age and more attention was being paid to location and panoramic technicolor. I was expecially drawn to the tropical brilliance of Carmen Miranda's signature attire as well as the dashing suits worn by Ameche and Romero throughout the film. Most noteably, I think it is just a shame that Betty Grable was ever prevailed upon to cut her beautiful locks into that shorn poodle-top that became her trademark in the late 1940's. Her hair was fabulous, always beautifully coiffed, and so many different styles flattered her face. Shame on that publicist!
Style Score: 7/10