Famous matador Antonio Morales's disappointment turns to joy when his wife's pregnancy yields twins, and the second child is the hoped for boy. Morales names his twins Maria and Mario, and as soon as he is old enough, begins to train Mario for the bull-fighting ring. However, Mario's interests lie more in music, while his sister Maria is fascinated with the ring. Eventually, Mario is angered by the high demands of his father and leaves town for a chance to study with a famous composer. Mario abandoning the bullring brings disgrace to the family name, but Maria has a plan... Written by
Esther Williams, in her autobiography "Million Dollar Mermaid" states that during the shooting of "Fiesta", her husband at the time - Ben Gage - got drunk and had a run-in with the Mexican police, causing production to be halted as the authorities had him thrown out of the country. See more »
During Maria's bullfighting scene, bulges in her frontal shots clearly indicate that the bullfighting is being done by a male stand-in. See more »
An oddity among Esther Williams' films features wonderful Copland piano suite...
If you can accept the notion that ESTHER WILLIAMS and RICARDO MONTALBAN (his American film debut) are twins and that Esther could substitute for him in the bull ring--well, then you can sit back and enjoy a few of the other perks of FIESTA. It's more a drama than a musical, but the dance numbers are what give it whatever zest it has as entertainment.
It's primarily a showcase for the talented Ricardo, seen here as a man who would rather be a composer of serious music than a bullfighter. He even gets to play his "Fantasia Mexicana" (actually Aaron Copland's "El Salon Mexico") in an exciting piano arrangement that has Montalban looking as though he's actually executing the piece. And colorful too is his dance number with CYD CHARISSE, who was then a rising young star on the MGM lot and got to do some specialty dance numbers in a variety of musical films.
Frankly, Esther became a much better actress in later films. FIESTA is actually one of her weakest dramatic performances and fans only get to see her take a dip in a pool once, and briefly. Her flat reading of most lines does little to advance the notion that she was a star, even when she wasn't wet.
Despite all the trimmings, it's just not on the level with other MGM musical dramas of the era and looks and plays more like a programmer than anything else. But, oh that music!
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