Tim Purtell
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
genre
Documentary

We gave it a B+

Most of us remember Carmen Miranda for the gaudy ’40s musicals that enshrined her as the fruit-topped patron saint of camp. Director-narrator Helena Solberg’s quirky, absorbing portrait Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business traces the Brazilian Bombshell’s journey from hat maker to South American recording star to Hollywood, where she was typecast as a Latin bimbo. Piquant interviews with Miranda’s sister and various musicians and composers mingle with showbiz dish (she had a pill habit, was unhappily married, and suffered a nervous breakdown) and, in a playful touch, dramatic reenactments by a man in Miranda drag. He’s good, but the show belongs to Miranda herself — in clips, home movies, and rare archival footage — performing with a delirious, inimitable vitality. B+

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