Sunday, January 30, 2011

Affair in Trinidad 1952

A very weak 2nd cousin to the wonderful 1946 pairing of Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in Gilda this was Columbia Pictures 3rd and final attempt at duplicating the heat and sexual tension that the two stars brought to Gilda. It didn’t work. This cold war plot is pretty ridiculous. Rita who is a performer in a Trinidad hot spot learns that her husband a failed painter has committed suicide or has he? It turns out that her husband was involved in some kind of spy business with what I assume are Russian agents (this was 1952 after all) who want to get their hands on some top secret weapons so they can blow up the United States. Rita is approached by the police captain played by Torin Thatcher to infiltrate this espionage crew that is headed by the very rich Alexander Scourby (who was making his movie debut) because he has the hots for Hayworth. Scourby lives in a big unCaribbean mansion that looks like it should be in Beverly Hills and not in the tropics and has a lot of tough guys and one mean dog guarding the place. Glenn Ford who plays her brother- in -law gets on a plane to Trinidad (and winds up sitting next to one of the villains) because his brother wrote him a letter telling him that there might be a good job waiting for him and has no idea that his brother is dead. Upon arriving and learning of his brother’s death he blows up and wants to know the truth about what happened. Cheaply filmed mostly on the Columbia backlot, the only compensation of seeing this movie is the fantastic Hayworth who does two steamy musical numbers. Her singing is dubbed as usual but the dancing is all Rita and no one in movies ever moved like her. Hayworth who was 34 at the time, was still gorgeous and although she looks bored she really comes alive in the dance numbers. Rita who was one of the most beautiful of female movie stars ever did only a handful of movies after this one, and watching her I realized that this here was one gorgeous woman, not like the current crop of poor excuses that try to pass themselves off as movie stars, but are really either girls pretending to be woman or starting to go over the hill over botoxed broads. Meanwhile Glenn is twisted over what is going on, and starts to fall for Rita, never mind that his brother has been dead for a few days and this is his sister-in-law. In one of the unrealistic plot ploys, The police captain tells Rita not to tell Glenn what is really going on, so Glenn thinks that Rita is having an affair with the nasty Scorby, but of course Rita isn’t she’s just playing him along to get the info on the spies and find out just who really murdered her husband.. This is the kind of film that really needed the light touch of Hitchcock and not the heavy handed one of Vincent Sherman who did lots of woman’s movies over at Warner Brothers in the 40’s and early 50’s and who then moved on to directing for television. Also in the cast is the lively and enjoyable Valerie Bettis who did one other film and then pretty much disappeared. Here she plays the alcoholic somewhat sluttish bitchy wife of one of the spies who really knows how to dish. Also notable are Hayworth’s gowns designed by Jean Louis that got an Oscar nomination and in a small but noticeable role the African American Juanita Moore who plays Hayworth’s outspoken and compassionate Trinidadian housekeeper Dominique. It was uncommon to say the least to find a person of color cast in such a real and interesting part in the early 50’s.


Blogger B Prévot said...

It is a movie that the more you see it, the more you like it. And also with age the sensuality of Rita is stronger.

2:27 AM  
Blogger Renata Argarate said...

B Prévot, where do I sign?

6:51 AM  

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