Havana Rose (1951) Poster

(1951)

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7/10
Lovely Estelita steals the show.
mark.waltz22 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not as well known as Dolores del Rio or Lupe Velez, this lovely Cuban fireball came along a decade after Lupe Velez struck gold is the "Mexican Spitfire". If her Carmelita was every inch the hot tempered stereotypical senorita, Estelita went out of her way to tone that reputation down. She's fiery, but not in the vase throwing antics way that Velez was. She's equally as free spirited and unpredictable, but her character gets the laughs for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, causing chaos more through accidents than through her temperament. Imagine Lucy and Ricky switching genders, and you've got the Cuban version of Lucy Ricardo.

Also winning laughs is the hysterically funny Florence Bates who seemed to enjoy playing stuffy society matrons who get their comeuppance. She's the wife of American businessman Hugh Herbert, visiting Cuba on business and biting off more than any American businessman could chew. Suspecting something amiss between her husband and Rodriguez, Bates keeps trying to entrap them, all the while when Rodriguez falls heavily for Texan Bill Williams.

This farce is fast and furious with a ton of sight gags, a few Spanish songs (including "Babalu"), and outstanding performances all round. Fortunio Bonanova as Rodriguez's father, Rosa Turich as her maid and Leon Belasco as a wanna be dictator offer fine support. Republic pictures showed that it had what it took to make fine movies above their B budgets, and this ranks among the best of the many I've seen in their output.
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A revolution, fortune-telling gypsies, spies, gossips, false hotel-registering and a one-name star.
Leslie Howard Adams24 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ambassador Rico DeMarco (Fortunio Bonanova)is in Washington trying to raise a five-million dollar loan for his hard-pressed country, Lower Salamia. Filbert Filmore (Hugh Herbert) and his domineering wife (Florence Bates)are about to sign on the dotted line for the loan when DeMarco's vivacious daughter, Estelita (Estelita Rodriguez, billed just as Estelita on the film credits), upsets the deal by accidentally knocking hot coffee over the papers---and Mrs. Fillmore, who leaves the house in a huff...model year not given.

The Washinton-resident spies of Lower Salamia's insurrectionist faction gleefully cable their leader that the loan attempt has failed and Viva la Revolution. Estelita, in her role as an amateur international financier, discovers that Fillmore is a great believer in astrology and, disguised as a gypsy fortune teller, she dupes him into believing that the stars are propitious for his making the loan, but Mrs. Fillmore's wild jealousy, when she discovers her woo-woo husband alone with the attractive young gypsy, causes Estelita to depart sans anti-revolution money.

DeMarco tries to send his daughter back to Lower Salamia, but she takes off for Reno to see Tex Thompson (Bill Williams), a handsome young Nevada cattleman she met and fell in love with in a Washington night club. The efforts of her chaperon, timid Aunt Maria (Rosa Turich), to restrain her are unsuccessful.

To keep her father from discovering her whereabouts, Estelita signs the hotel register in Reno as Mrs. Filbert Fillmore. A local reporter, sensing a big-money divorce in the making, files a story which leads Filbert to believe that his wife has left him, and he flies to Reno...with Mrs. Fillmore close on his heels.

But the Reno-resident Lower Salamia insurrection-spies have plans to kidnap Mrs. Fillmore. But, first, Estelita has to sing "Babalu."
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