BRAZIL (1944, Dir. Joseph Santley)

Olive Films Blu-ray $29.95, DVD $19.95
91 min. / B&W / 1.37:1 / Subtitles

A beautiful authoress heads to Rio to get background color for her next book, but since her last book was called Don't Date a Latin she gets the cold shoulder from most of the populace, except for a handsome songwriter who pretends to be his twin brother, a travel guide, to show her around the countryside so he can woo her twice and teach her Latins are eminently datable, and all this is to the chagrin of the songwriter's comic relief manager and the authoress' boyfriend and the cranky song publisher, who wants to know where the hell his hit song is.

I only bothered with the plot so you could see that it isn't really worth bothering over. This is one of the wartime "Good Neighbors Policy" films and it showcases a lot of musical numbers, romance, and comedy, all set against the backdrop of rear-screen projection Brazil in a Southern California film studio.

Virginia Bruce is the chain-smoking authoress, Tito Guizar are the twin brothers, Robert Livingston cleans up nicely from his cowboy suit to play the American boyfriend, Edward Everett Horton is the comic relief manager, Richard Lane is the cranky publisher, Velez y Yolanda are the dance duo, Carmen Miranda's sister Aurora is a dancer, and Roy Rogers plays Roy Rogers. None of which are more than of passing interest, I grant you: you probably just wanna know if the film's any good or not.

Well, it is, and speaking of cleaning up nicely, the darn thing just GLOWS (at its full 91 min. uncut length, too) on the new Olive Films Blu-ray. I watched it twice back-to-back, unusual for me, but the darn movie is as enjoyable as ice cream, and sometimes, you just splurge and eat two dishes in a row. Miss Bruce does little for me, but the rest of the cast is swell and the Brazilian music (including the title tune, a great favorite of mine) is lovely. In fact, the film garnered three Oscar nominations, for the score, for the song "Rio de Janeiro", and for the sound recording.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Lane, of the songwriter: "He doesn't speak English?"
Horton: "Oh, yes, he speaks a few words. Cuss words. He picked them up from me the time I got my nose caught in a revolving door."

Roy sings a song called "Hands Across the Border" that doesn’t get sung much these days.

A pleasant film that's fun to watch and which looks and sounds superb on the BD. I hope this portends other Republic obscurities from the vault for 2017. Recommended, especially for musical fans.