|Index||5 reviews in total|
The team of George Raft and Carole Lombard who at the time this film
was made were doing a little off set kanoodling had scored well in
Bolero, so much so that Paramount decided another dance film was in
order for them. Instead of in Europe like Bolero, Rumba takes place in
Cuba and then New York City, taking advantage of the current dance
craze sweeping the country.
Raft's a half Cuban, half American living down there because he fled the country to avoid some gangsters he'd run afoul of. He's dancing first with Iris Adrian and then with Margo, but rich heiress Carole Lombard sweeps him off his nimble feet.
Carole and George do a mean Rumba in the film as well. The ending here unlike Bolero is not as dramatic or tragic, but that in itself makes Rumba a lesser feature. Lynne Overman is around as a former newspaperman and Raft's manager. Overman is quite adept at creating a media frenzy for Raft, in fact his talents are what causes the climax to occur.
It's not as good a film as Bolero and the team of Raft and Lombard broke up off screen as well so no more films were made with the two of them. Still it's a pleasant enough film and a chance to see George Raft the dancer on screen.
"Rumba" is George Raft's best Latino film and that's not saying much.
He at least gets to play a New Yorker, albeit a New Yorker of Cuban
descent hanging out in Havana because gangsters in the States are out
to get him. That idea is actually more exciting than the events that
Carole Lombard gets some strong closeups and looks lovely. She plays a bored socialite a little too well, never seeming to rise above ennui even when she's dancing. She gets some nice little bits of dialogue but mostly could have phoned this one in.
Because of his sensual Latin looks, Paramount seemed insistent on making Raft do the sensual Latin dances. Sure, he could dance the rumba OK, but it is nothing like the hot style of dancing that made him famous as the "fastest dancer in New York" back in the '20s. Only in the first dance number in "Rumba" do we get a very brief glimpse of this.
Overall, this is hardly an important film for anyone - but look fast: Ann Sheridan is among the mass of dancers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...as she did in Bolero during a dance audition, and maybe the
production code is part of the reason for the success of the very
similar "Bolero" in the precode era the year before, and the lack of
success of this film.
Another problem is that I understood Raft's character in Bolero - he was a selfish guy who didn't care who he hurt on the way to fame until a war injury taught him what was important just a little too late.
Here Raft plays Joe Martin, a New York gangster in self imposed exile in Cuba. At the beginning of the film he is sold a counterfeit raffle ticket. Socialite Diana Harrison (Carole Lombard) has the genuine article, with a number identical to Martin's and it is also a five thousand dollar winner. She sees him later and tries to make it right with him, she wants to "pretend" he had the winning ticket since she is rich and 5000 dollars can't mean to her what it would mean to Martin. But Martin is insulted. He later finds the guy who sold him the counterfeit and punches him out in the club in which he works and gets fired.
On top of this, even though Diana has shown that she is a generous person, and even though he now knows she had nothing to do with him being scammed, he wants to humiliate her by pretending to have feelings for her and then laugh in her face as retaliation for the raffle ticket mess. That plan backfires and has Diana sailing back to Manhattan.
In the meantime, unemployed Martin discovers the Rumba, and decides to open his own club and perform the dance. Here is another problem with the film. In Bolero we got plenty of full body shots of Raft dancing. Here, in the production code era, the camera will not show Raft's hips when they are wiggling during the dance number. This is probably the same prudishness that kept audiences from seeing all of Elvis' body on TV when he first began performing there.
Martin wants a chance to see Diana again and explain and apologize, but it turns out he is more stir than gang as he really never did anything wrong at all in New York but witness a murder and the plotting behind it, and thus his old gang wants him dead to keep him from talking. So returning to New York could have deadly consequences.
So how does this all turn out? I'll let you watch and find out. Just don't expect the sparks to fly in the romance or the dance department in this one. It would be awhile before the movies learned how to work within the limitations of the production code to make movies with completely authentic characters again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Upon their success from "Bolero," Carole Lombard and George Raft were matched again, this time in "Rumba." Having the same stars of "Bolero," this is probably compared to it in conversation a lot. In comparison, it is not that special, but it does have its merits and can stand on its own. Raft is an ex-gangster/dancer. Yes, I said an ex-gangster/dancer. When he gets a $5,000 winning number in a local lottery, he goes to claim his money, only to find out his stub is counterfeit and that Carole Lombard has the genuine article. He wants satisfaction. Throughout the film, she tries to make things right, but only rubs him the wrong way in the process, that is until they somehow fall for each other. Then, he wants to go back to New York, but it seems he's threatened by "the gang." Will he be shot while dancing in his show? This does seem a bit more modest and less showy than "Bolero," but the interest is maintained by the likable characters. Carole Lombard's acting is very good in this film, particularly when the romantic plot climaxes with his real intentions all along. If you've never seen "Bolero," I think you'll be entertained by this good little movie.
Joe is a dancer in Cuba with a chip on his shoulder. Diana is
fascinated by this diamond in the rough. However, pride on both sides
seems to thwart the union and Diana in despair returns to New York City
and her less than exciting fiancé. Joe follows.
The main problem with this film is George Raft. His stone faced and monotone delivery mean that there is absolutely no chance for any chemistry to develop between himself and Lombard. And it is supposedly this magic between the two that propels them in and out of each others lives and causes both to risk their lives in the end to be together. The film is also weighed down by more that one overly long dance sequence. George Raft himself is an adequate dancer, but comes off as little more than a "dandy". He has non of the fire or charisma of say a Desi Arnaz, who truly comes alive with the spirit of Latin dance and rhythms.
Diana's father is here played by Samuel Hinds who also played the father in the Andy Hardy series. Monroe Owsley, who also co-stared with Lombard in the movie "Brief Moment", plays Diana's wealthy fiancé. His part here is considerably smaller, and amounts for the most part to "window dressing".
Carole Lombard does a good job here. If she had had a better leading man this film might even have been enjoyable. The production values and quality of the acting in general were actually pretty good. Supposedly George Raft was quite the ladies man in real life, and even enjoyed a clandestine affair with Lombard, but in this film he is a dud.
|Ratings||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|