Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today’s Video: The unique Carmen Miranda

Yesterday we mentioned that Turner Classic Movies will feature films on Tuesdays and Thursdays highlighting the cinematic depiction of Latinos.

Tonight’s slate of classic films (including “The Lawless” and “The Young Savages”) will focus on social problems. This Thursday’s theme is on music and will include movies like “West Side Story” and “La Bamba.” Today’s video will look at a portion of 1944’s “Greenwich Village”- a film that starred the one-of-a-kind Carmen Miranda.

Born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, the Portuguese-born Brazilian actress was best-known for starring in films during the 1940s and 1950s. Usually seen donning a hat topped with tropical fruit and wearing a flowery dress, Miranda became the symbol of South America in the eyes of U.S. moviegoers. And it wasn’t just because she could sing well:
Miranda arrived in the United States in 1939 with her band, the Bando da Lua, and achieved stardom in the early 1940s. She was encouraged by the United States government in her American career as part of President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, designed to strengthen links with Latin America and Europe; it was believed that in delivering content like hers, the policy would be better received by the American public. She was the country's highest-paid entertainer for several years in the 1940s, and in 1945, was the highest-paid woman in the United States, earning more than $200,000 that year, according to IRS records.
The following clip is vintage Miranda; kitschy and dated yet absolutely catchy!

Online Sources- Turner Classic Movies, YouTube, Wikipedia

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