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FIESTA(director: LeRoy Prinz; screenwriters: Cortland Fitzsimmons/Alfred Gilks/Kenneth Higgins; cinematographer: Robert Pittack; editor: Bert Jordan; music: Edward Ward; cast: Anne Ayars (Cholita), George Negrete (Don José), Armida (Cuca), George Givot (Fernando Gómez), Antonio Moreno (Don Juan Hernández), Nick Moro (Pedro), Frank Yaconelli (Pablo), George Humbert (Pancho), The Guadalajara Trio (Band); Runtime: 44; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: LeRoy Prinz; United Artists; 1941)
“Pleasant enough as a time killer.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is a Hal Roach studio produced film, and his first Technicolor production. Its best features are the lush Technicolor, as good as I have ever seen it utilized, and the strong voice of the film’s star Anne Ayars (a few years later became the leading soprano in the Metropolitan Opera). LeRoy Prinz (“A Boy and His Dog”), a former member of the Foreign Legion and an aviator, emerged from being a choreographer to direct. This lean musical comedy is timed at 44 minutes, which is a good length for such slim pickings. It’s saddled with a weak story, but the 12 musical numbers are colorfully presented and keep it pleasant enough as a time killer.

A three-day homecoming fiesta is held for singer Cholita (Anne Ayars), who after a long stay in Mexico City returns to visit her big sombrero wearing uncle, Don Juan Hernández (Antonio Moreno), who is a senor of means who owns a peaceful rural hacienda. Daughter upsets Don Juan by announcing she brought a guest, radio personality Fernando Gómez (George Givot), and that they are engaged. The news stuns Don Juan even before he discovers Fernando is a pompous twit and a fortune hunter, as he planned on announcing his niece’s engagement to nice guy local rancher Don José (George Negrete). To get his niece back again with Don José, uncle arranges with locals an unseemly hoax to discredit her fiancee. In the meantime, the petite Cuca (Armida) lures Fernando with her two ranches and returns with him to Mexico City with her friend Cholita’s blessings.

When there was no music, taking a siesta was a big temptation.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”