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Week-end in Havana

   

Week-end in Havana (1941), starring Alice Faye, John Payne, Cesar Romero, Carmen Miranda – directed by Walter Lang

Synopsis of Week-end in Havana

In Weekend in Havana, a salesgirl (Alice Faye) threatens to cause trouble when cruise ship runs aground and vacation is ruined.  As compensation, she gets a first class Havana holiday with the ship owner’s future son-in-law (John Payne).  As well as some unexpected attention from a conniving gambler (Cesar Romero) and his girlfriend (Carmen Miranda).

Cast of characters in Week-end in Havana

  • Nan Spencer (Alice FayeFour Jills in a Jeep, Alexander’s Ragtime Band) – a sales clerk at Macy’s.  She’s been saving for years for her cruise ship vacation, and can’t take another at a different time. A nice lady, but firm, she pressures the company into giving her her vacation.
  • Jay Williams (John Payne, Kansas City ConfidentialSpringtime in the Rockies) – vice president at the cruise company.  He makes it his job to ensure that Nan has a good vacation, so she’ll sign a waiver. He’s also engaged to his boss’ snobbish daughter, Terry.
  • Terry McCracken (Cobina WrightCharlie Chan in Rio) – the boss’ daughter, who is insecure — and threatened by Nan.
  • Monte Blanca (Cesar RomeroThe Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, Batman: The Movie).  A likable, unlucky gambler. He’s hired by Jay to romance Nan, to ensure that she has a good time and will sign the waiver.  He needs the money to pay off his gambling debts, but needs to explain to his girlfriend …
  • Rosita Rivas (Carmen MirandaCopacabana, Something for the Boys). Singer, dancer, and Monte’s girlfriend.  She steals most of the scenes that she’s in.

Review of Week-end in Havana

Week-end in Havana is an enjoyable romantic comedy from the 1940’s Hollywood.  What’s frankly interesting is that the secondary romantic characters, Cesar Romero and Carmen Miranda,  are more interesting than the romantic leads.  They’re more interesting, Carmen Miranda is a more compelling character, and more fun to watch.  Likewise, Cesar Romero is enjoyable as the lovable rogue. He’s a gambler who can’t win — until the very end of the movie.  Week-end in Havana is reminiscent of Springtime in the Rockies, although a weaker version.  John Payne sings, but it’s not his strong suit.  I rate Week-end in Havana 3 stars out of 5 — an enjoyable movie, but not exceptional.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Trivia for Week-end in Havana

  • The Man with the Lollipop Song“, was cut from the film. Briefly heard is John Payne singing the tune.
  • Betty Grable was originally scheduled to star but was replaced by Alice Faye.
  • Minor appearance by film clown Billy Gilbert.

Songs

  • A Week-End in Havana, Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Sung by Carmen Miranda in the opening number with chorus and band
  • Rebola a Bola (Embolada), Music by Aloysio de Oliveira and Nestor Amaral, Lyrics by Francisco Eugênio Brant Horta, Sung in Portuguese by Carmen Miranda in a nightclub
  • When I Love, I Love, Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Sung by Carmen Miranda at a nightclub
  • Tropical Magic, Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Spanish lyrics by Ernesto Piedra, Sung in Spanish by an unidentified trio in a nightclub, Reprised by Alice Faye, Reprised by Alice Faye and John Payne on a hay wagon, Reprised a cappella by Leonid Kinskey
  • Romance and Rhumba, Music by James V. Monaco, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Sung by Alice Faye and Cesar Romero while dancing
  • The Man with the Lollypop Song, Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Sung by lollypop vendor Nacho Galindo outside Arbolado’s
  • The Ñango (Nyango), Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Mack Gordon, Sung by Carmen Miranda at the nightclub, Sung and danced to by the chorus, Danced to by Alice Faye and John Payne

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