Fine, classic movie musical with scenery and entertainment
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 03/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Down Argentine Way is a delightful, light fare type of early 1940s movie musical that should charm just about anyone who loves this type of motion picture. We get fine performances from great stars including Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Carmen Miranda and the incredible dancing Nicholas Brothers! The plot moves along at a good pace and the acting was quite convincing.
The action starts when horse lover Glenda Crawford (Betty Grable) and her mother Binnie Crawford (Charlotte Greenwood) are at the racetrack--once again. It seems the Crawford family has always loved horses and they race them, too. Glenda sees a fine race horse and she wants to buy the horse--trouble is, however, that the horse belongs to crabby Don Diego Quintana (Henry Stephenson), who harbors a long and somewhat silly personal grudge against Willis Crawford, the patriarch of the Crawford family.
Anyway, Glenda and Binnie go to Argentina after their first attempt to buy horses from Quintana doesn't go over very well. It's also not long before Glenda falls in love with Quintana's son Ricardo Quintana (Don Ameche) who is equally charmed by Glenda. The young couple tries to pass Glenda Crawford off to Don Quintana as Glenda Cunningham in the hopes that he will like her and then not care if she's a Crawford; but that too has its complications.
Meanwhile there's a horse bred for racing--will Don Quintana ever let the horse race? It's a flimsy subplot but the few horse races that we do see in this film enhance the action; and that's all right by me!
Look for some excellent song and dance numbers--remember, these plots were practically just excuses for the studio to film fabulous song and dance numbers. Rumor has it that after the public first saw The Nicholas Brothers dance they cheered so much the projectionist had to rewind the film to show their scene again! Charlotte Greenwood also scores big with her nearly unbelievable ability to kick way high with her legs as she merrily dances in another number. Betty Grable dances very well, too. In addition, this film marks Carmen Miranda's film debut; she sings a couple of songs during the movie as well as a brief tune at the very beginning of the movie. Carmen sparkles even when they weren't playing her up as much as they did in later films!
The DVD comes with a superlative extra on the life and times of Betty Grable. She really did seem like an especially sweet gal who actually didn't want too much out of life and enjoyed her private family life as best as she could. The quality of the still photos in the extra on Betty Grable is excellent. There is also a running but optional commentary for people who want to know what went on behind the scenes as this movie was being filmed. Great!
Overall, Down Argentine Way is a musical well worth seeing. I usually reserve five stars for a MGM musical; but this time Fox really did it up right! Fans of classic movie musicals cannot afford to miss this one! "
Betty Grable...the queen of Technicolor...absent from DVD!
cjrogan2003 | Glen Burnie, Maryland, USA | 02/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why doesn't Fox release any of Betty Grable's classics on DVD? This Technicolor blonde is suspiciously absent from the DVD market, and all her movies need to be released NOW. This title, her first starring role, is one of her best. This fun little Technicolor trip down to South America co-starring with Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche is a knockout, and few movies today can come close to that!"
Grable scores in first-class South American extravaganza
Tom McGee | Glasgow, Scotland | 07/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Grable was pulled from a Broadway show to replace an ailing Alice Faye in this musical/travelogue. And she made the most of her big break. Silly story about racehorses, but the moment Betty steps onto the dance floor and goes into the title number, the viewer is well and truly hooked.Her first major appearance in Technicolor,La Grable was a knockout - peaches and cream ... all over! Lively comedy, hot dance routines from the Nicholas Brothers, and the U.S. screen debut of the Brazilian bombshell, Carmen Miranda. Trivia note: columnists wrote of this as Grable's comeback movie - but it was only the start of her glittering 14-year reign at 20th CF as their top musical attraction. Well worth viewing."
Colorful, breezy, nonstop fun!
Matthew G. Sherwin | 09/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought this movie would have a few fun Carmen Miranda numbers and not much else. It actually has very little of Carmen (but what's there is good), LOTS of goregous scenery, and even more gorgeous horses. Betty Grable is fine, Don Ameche does a Spanish accent surprisingly well, and Charlotte Greenwood adds class, energy, and pizazz as she always does. The plot is predictable but fun, and not entirely typical. Unlike some musicals, where you sit through most of it just waiting for the big production number at the end, this movie is packed with one interesting sight and sound after another, making it fly by in no time. Also watch for the amazing tap dancing by the Nicholas brothers."
Good, but Not One of Grable's Best
James A. White | Cookeville, TN United States | 07/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film was originally designed for Alice Faye, but she got appendicitis as the last minute, and Grable was substituted to avoid financial losses. While the film is very good and everything, it is obvious that it was more designed for Faye, the singer, than Grable, the dancer. While Betty has some good dance scenes, they seem to be rather thrown in haphazardly.
The plot centers around super-rich Grable, who is buying horses, and falling in love with Don Ameche, the owner of said horses. There are the usual romantic entaglements and problems, but eventually they wind up together. Charlotte Greenwood is excellent as Grable's aunt and provides most of the comic effect in the movie. Watch for her phrases with double meanings (no, not sexual ones) They're wonderful!
Also, watch for Carmen Miranda's film debut. Fox was a little uncertain about their new south-of-the-border commodity, and they didn't give her the LAVISH screen treatment and dance numbers they did in later films, but she does well as a nightclub singer. She also doesn't have any speaking parts, and her song is in Portuguese, but it features the debut of "Mama Yo Queiro" and "South American Way."
Basically, this film is enjoyable if you are a Grable or Miranda fan, but otherwise, there is little to hold it together. I rather think it would have been better with Faye, even if it did jump-start Grable's remarkable career."