Sunday, October 18, 2009
FIESTA(1947). Is a musical with beautiful exotic settings, and a different role for Esther Williams. It begins with Maria and Mario as children of retired famous toreador Antonio Morales. Antonio's dream is for Mario to follow in his footsteps. Mario spends his time training for the bull ring, but his true passion is to play the piano.
On the night of the bullfight, Antonio sabotages Mario's chance to work with the famous composer Maximino Contreras. Mario becomes angry and goes into hiding. In order to convince her brother to come back and save the family name. Maria comes up with a plan, with the help of a trusted friend Chato (Tamiroff), to impersonate Mario in the ring.( There are some beautiful, bullfighting scenes.)
This runs the risk of her future marriage to scientist Pepe Ortega (Carroll). Ricardo Montalban, performs several beautiful dances with Cyd Charisse. I was especially impressed by Montalban's piano playing, wondering if he was really playing. If he was... he is wonderful.
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.
American film debut of Ricardo Montalban.