17 October 2014 | boblipton
Great Music Enlivens Average Show
With a title like "Holiday in Havana", you might expect one of those overlit Fox Technicolor spectacles with Carmen Miranda mugging it up in the numbers. What you have is a black-and-white Universal Studios type of effort which looks like it requires a central comic. Instead, you have a bunch of decent supporting comics like Sig Arno, Minerva Urecal and Leon Belasco. Director Jean Yarborough was fine when directing cut-glass farce with Abbott & Costello. However, dealing with people like Ann Doran, who could do well with a line, the comedy timing limps.
What pulls this movie up is the music. The music is lively, mostly Latin and just the sort of thing I grew up with: not only the sort of thing that Desi Arnaz would later use on "I Love Lucy" but the Wall-of-Sound dizzy drive that Tito Puente would command. Desi Arnaz gives a surprisingly nuanced performance and Mary Hatcher as the ingénue is very charming, even if she is made up to look like a juvenile Rita Hayworth.