Week-End in Havana (8-Oct-1941)|
Director: Walter Lang
Writers: Karl Tunberg; Darrell Ware
Keywords: Romantic Comedy, Musical
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Review by Richard James Percy (posted on 28-Feb-2005)
This 20th Century Fox film came out in 1941 and starred the wonderful Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda, John Payne and a host of well-known character and supporting actors and actresses. It was wonderfully technicoloured and was made to encourage the "Good Neighbour" policy with South America. Alice never looked more lovelier than in this film and maybe it was because she was pregnant with her first daughter.
The songs "Tropical Magic" and "Romance and Rhumba" -- lovely ballads -- contrasted nicely with the vibrant songs of Carmen Miranda, "A Weekend in Havana" and "When I Love I Love.
The story is centres around Nan Spencer played by Miss Faye who is a working shop girl from Macy's store who has saved her money to take a cruise. The cruise ship runs aground off the coast of Florida and Nan (Alice) refuses to sign a letter stating that the steamship company were not responsible for the accident. Jay (John Payne) who is engaged to the steamship company's daughter played by Corbina Wright Jnr. flies out to try and persuade Nan to sign it. He flies her off to Cuba. He books her into the best hotel and takes her on the town to try and win her over to sign. Jay is not her cup of tea when he shows her the sugar fields and tells him she would rather visit the casinos. He goes but looks so out of place that she goes off on her own and meets Monte played by Cesar Romero who happens to be Rosita's (Carmen Miranda) boyfriend. He is a compulsive gambler and mistakes Nan as a wealthy tourist. Of course he loses more money and has the casino owner after him.
He invites Nan to a out of town inn where Jay is taking Rosita. This leads to a rather heated argument between Nan and Rosita and Nan hitches her dress up and starts to walk home in her high heels along the country lane. Jay follows in his car but ends in a ditch and of course they end in each others' arms. The followind day they have breakfast together and who should arrive but Jay's girlfriend Terry. Naturally she isn't happy at seeing Jay and Nan together. Nan is so upset with the situation that she signs the waiver for the scheming Terry who gives her a cheque for £1.000. The cheque is then given by Nan to Monty to get him out of the fix he is in with the casino owner, but he then wins a massive amount at the casino and Nan gets the cheque back and hands it to Jay as he and Terry are just about to board the clipper for New York. Jay doesn't know about the cheque until Terry tells him what she did and he is far from pleased.
How does the story end? Well Nan is at the ballroom sat by herself and Rosita brings her a dance partner. She dances with him and then someone butts in for the dance. When she turns it is Jay who had got off the clipper in Miami and returned. Monte rushes in having lost all the money again followed by the casino owner and the film finishes as they all sing "A Weekend in Havana"
The critics loved the film and said that Miss Faye had never looked "more sumptuous than ever."
One point which the censors missed and its in the production number called "The Nango" when the dancers go and get men from the audience to dance with. If you look carefully you will see a elderly man fondle a dancer's breast and the look on her face and she pushes his hand away is highlight if ever there was one.
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