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"Where There Are Rhumbas And Tangos, To Tickle Your Spine"
Nobody should expect to see Hamlet when watching Down Argentine Way. In fact the plot here is thinner and sillier than most of these fluff musical pieces. Still it's kind a fun.
Don Ameche is up from Argentina in the USA looking to sell some horses and Betty Grable is looking to buy, the horse and Ameche. But once Don hears that Betty's character has the last name of Crawford, no sale, no way, no how.
With mixed motives both looking to get even and an unspoken attraction for Don, Betty and Aunt Charlotte Greenwood take a trip to Buenos Aires for business and all different kinds of pleasure. We also meet Henry Stephenson, Ameche's father, and it does take the whole film to find just what he has against people named Crawford. The prize jumping horse of the Quintana family which is the character names of Ameche and Stephenson who gets turned into a racehorse by the old family trainer, J. Carrol Naish in another of his multitude of ethnic characterizations.
Of course this film never got out of the Hollywood back lot at 20th Century Fox Studios and there are even fewer establishing shots of Buenos Aires than usual. The two best things about Down Argentine Way are the musical score written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon and the specialties of Carmen Miranda and the Nicholas Brothers.
This was Carmen's American debut and she opens the film with a song that was forever indelibly identified with her, South American Way. The other hit song in the film is the title song of the picture to which everyone in the cast sings and dances at some point.
The notes here say that Don Ameche's voice was dubbed. If so the guy must have been a great soundalike. Probably could fool a voice print identification. Sure sounded like Don Ameche singing from other films I've seen.
Look for a nice performance by Leonid Kinskey a rather inept gigolo with a few other sidelines.
Down Argentine Way was done before Juan Peron took power so the place was viewed favorably. The Roosevelt administration actively encouraged films to be made showing South America in a favorable light like this one with an idea towards making sure they were allies in the World War we were heading for. It's a nice piece of fluff with good songs Betty Grable's famous legs and the one and only Carmen Miranda.
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