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Carmen Miranda: That Girl from Rio (2008)

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Larry Billman ...
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Documentary | Short

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17 June 2008 (USA)  »

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It helps explain the Carmen Miranda mystique...and it's better than the film which it accompanies.
8 October 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This three-part documentary about Carmen Miranda can be found on the DVD for "Something for the Boys"--a mediocre musical from Twentieth Century-Fox. While the feature isn't particularly good, this documentary certainly is worth your time.

I have never really understood the appeal of Carmen Miranda. During the early 1940s, she was one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood--yet today, most would wonder why. Now I am not trying to be mean, but her shtick was rather limited. After all, she was a fast-talking Brazilian whose dance routines often included the strangest costumes of the era (and looked a bit like the Chiquita Banana lady--or vice-versa). Subtle, she wasn't! Yet, soon the public embraced her. And, at her death, her funeral attracted enormous crowds in Brazil--absolutely huge. Why? Well, the film helps to explain that--and fortunately, it's far better than you might expect from some DVD extra. It consists of four parts--all of which make up a lengthy and well-made film.

The film consists of three parts. Part one is about her impact in America in the late 30s and early 40s. It's odd because this is really the middle of the story. Part two is about her birth, early life and career in Brazil up until 1939. Part three is about the prime of her career and her slight decline after the war. Then, part four is about her final sad years after Twentieth Century-Fox and early death. You could very easily see it in the following order instead: part 2, part 1, part 3 and part 4. Overall, it's a very entertaining film--one I think that make it worth getting a copy of "Something for the Boys". And, because the film was financed by the studio, you get to see lots of nice clips in all their original glory.


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