Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


COPACABANA  (1947). Director: Alfred E. Green.

Lionel Deveraux (Groucho Marx) is a manager with one client, Carmen Navarro (Carmen Miranda), to whom he's been engaged for ten years. When he tries to get her work at a nightclub owned by Steve Hunt (Steve Cochran), Hunt tells him that he prefers a French singer. Enter the always veiled Mlle. Fifi,  who is Carmen in disguise. Hunt hires the French doll, then decides he wants Miss Navarro as well. So Carmen does her best to keep up a hectic performance schedule without anybody knowing that both performers are actually the same woman. The interplay between Marx and Miranda, who make a great team, is priceless, and the other performers are game. Gloria Jean is charming as Hunt's secretary, Anne, who pines for him even as he pursues Fifi. Singer Andy Russell, who plays himself, has a very nice voice and is easy to take. Miranda may not be a brilliant performer, but it's hard not to like her, and Groucho is as wonderful as ever. Some nice songs include "Strange Things Have Happened." The film is full of chorus cuties who trade wisecracks with Marx, and there are guest appearances by columnists Abel Green, Louis Sobol, and Earl Wilson.

Verdict: This may not be a Night at the Opera, but it's very amusing and charming. ***.

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