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Carmen Miranda Costume & Memorabilia Exhibit + Ivor Novello: Potential Rudolph Valentino of the 1930s?

Carmen Miranda costume Technicolor made: Museum of Modern Art to showcase screen legend memorabiliaCarmen Miranda costume made for Technicolor. Rio's Museum of Modern Art exhibit to showcase all sorts of memorabilia relating to Carmen Miranda, an international screen legend following appearances in about a dozen 20th Century Fox movies of the 1940s.

Carmen Miranda costume & other memorabilia get Rio showcase

“We want to restore the image of Carmen, who has had an incredible impact on Brazil,” says Fabiano Canosa, the curator of a Carmen Miranda exhibit being held this December 2005 at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro.

“Carmen Miranda Forever” marks (a little belatedly) the fiftieth anniversary of Miranda's death, and is being billed as the largest Carmen Miranda exhibit ever. Included are more than 700 items, among them costumes and jewelry, old records, magazines, and photographs.

Outrageous costumes from Rio to Hollywood

Born in Portugal on Feb. 9, 1909, but raised in Brazil, Miranda appeared in Brazilian films (Alô Alô Brasil, Banana-da-Terra) and on stage before heading to Broadway and then Hollywood, where she became a 20th Century Fox contract player.

Her first Fox movie – in a “specialty” number – was Irving Cummings' Down Argentine Way (1940). Along with the fruit salad she often wore on top of her head, Miranda would remain at the studio until 1946.

Among her most popular films – invariably delivering lines in her unique rat-a-tat manner while supporting Fox's all-American blondes Alice Faye, Betty Grable, and (reddish-blonde) Vivian Blaine – were dazzling (and vapidly entertaining) Technicolor efforts such as That Night in Rio (1941), Springtime in the Rockies (1942), The Gang's All Here (1943), Something for the Boys (1944), and Greenwich Village (1944).

Death at age 45

Carmen Miranda's last film appearance was a cameo in the 1953 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy Scared Stiff.

Miranda died of a heart attack on Aug. 5, 1955, a day after suffering a minor attack during a taping of The Jimmy Durante Show. She was buried in Rio, where her hearse was accompanied by a crowd of 500,000.

Dec. 30 update: Carmen Miranda's younger sister, Aurora Miranda, whose handful of film credits include Phantom Lady and The Three Caballeros (in which she wears a more discreet Carmen Miranda costume in the Bahiana style), died at age 90 on Dec. 22.

Rio de Janeiro's Museum of Modern Art website.

Ivor Novello: Could British stage icon have become the Rudolph Valentino of the 1930s?Ivor Novello: Could the British stage (and sometime film) icon have become Hollywood's Rudolph Valentino of the 1930s?

Ivor Novello: Top British movie star failed to make it in Hollywood

“No Cardiff-born screen actor has ever been remotely as popular at the British box office as Ivor Novello,” says author Dave Berry (Wales and Cinema: The First 100 Years) in the article “Novello Could Have Been a Hollywood Star.”

A leading figure on the London stage, Ivor Novello was brought to Hollywood by D.W. Griffith to play the troubled male lead in the 1923 romantic drama The White Rose, starring one of Griffith's favorites, Mae Marsh. Unfortunately for Novello, things didn't go too well between the Father of the American Cinema and his Welsh import even though The White Rose is one of the best – possibly the best – Griffith film of the 1920s.

Following a lawsuit against Griffith, who had reportedly reneged on his contract to feature him in three movies, Ivor Novello returned to Britain.

Another Hollywood foray in the early 1930s, via MGM, led to only one role: Ruth Chatterton's leading man in Once a Lady (1931), while on loan to Paramount.

'Rudolph Valentino for the '30s'?

“Novello's work is uneven, with the scripts (usually by others) distinctly variable – but given the right roles in Hollywood he had the looks, dash and elan to become a Rudolph Valentino for the '30s,” Berry adds. “All we can do is reflect on what he might have achieved later in the sound era …”

Well, everything is possible, though by 1934, when Ivor Novello retired from films altogether, he was already past 40. Additionally, unlike most top male Hollywood stars of the 1930s, e.g., Clark Gable, James Cagney, Ronald Colman, or even urbane types like Charles Boyer and William Powell, Novello didn't have a strong masculine presence.

Ivor Novello movies

According to the IMDb, Ivor Novello was featured in more than 20 movies.

Besides his disgraced pastor in Griffith's The White Rose (1923), Novello's best-known efforts are, all in the U.K.:

  • Charles Calvert's Bonnie Prince Charlie (1923), co-starring Gladys Cooper.
  • Graham Cutts' The Rat (1926), opposite a fast-fading Mae Marsh.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's thriller The Lodger (1927), in which Novello may or may not be a serial killer à la Jack the Ripper.
  • Downhill / When Boys Leave Home (1927), another Hitchcock effort, featuring the 34-year-old Novello as a schoolboy.
  • Adrian Brunel's The Constant Nymph (1928), opposite Mabel Poulton.
  • Brunel's The Vortex (1928), from a play by Ivor Novello's British stage “rival” Noël Coward. Willette Kershaw was Novello's leading lady.
  • The talkie Sleeping Car (1933), a romantic comedy co-starring future Alfred Hitchcock heroine Madeleine Carroll (The 39 Steps, Secret Agent).

Ivor Novello's last movie was Basil Dean's Autumn Crocus (1934), opposite Fay Compton.

After suffering a coronary thrombosis, Ivor Novello died at age 57 on March 6, 1951. Actor Robert Andrews (Fires of Innocence, The Warrens of Virginia) had been his off-screen/off-stage companion for 35 years.

Charlotte Rampling Twice Upon a Time. Veteran actress to head Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear juryCharlotte Rampling in Twice Upon a Time: Veteran international cinema actress to head Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear jury.

Charlotte Rampling to head Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear jury

British actress Charlotte Rampling will preside over the International Competition Jury of the 2006 Berlin Film Festival. Referring to Rampling as a “fascinating woman and brilliant artist,” Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick expressed his pleasure in having on board an actress who “has come to stand for unconventional and memorable cinema.”

During her 40+-year career, Rampling – who has lived in France most of her life – has appeared in almost 70 films, most notably:

  • Luchino Visconti's Nazi era-set The Damned (1969), supporting Helmut Berger, Dirk Bogarde, and Ingrid Thulin.
  • Liliana Cavani's Nazi era-set The Night Porter (1974), costarring Dirk Bogarde.
  • John Boorman's science fantasy Zardoz, opposite an unusually garbed Sean Connery.
  • Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), as one of the women (along with Marie-Christine Barrault and Jessica Harper) in the life of troubled, -esque filmmaker Allen.

More Charlotte Rampling movies

Here are a few more Charlotte Rampling movies:

  • Sidney Lumet's The Verdict (1982), in which she delivers a first-rate performance as the woman who becomes involved with down-on-his-luck attorney Paul Newman.
  • Alan Parker's supernatural suspense drama Angel Heart (1987), with Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Bonet.
  • Gianni Amelio's family drama The Keys to the House (2004), opposite Kim Rossi Stuart.
  • François Ozon's Under the Sand (2000) and Swimming Pool (2003). In the latter Ozon effort, the 57-year-old Rampling looks great whether fully dressed or fully naked.

This year, Charlotte Rampling has been nominated for the Jameson People's Choice Best European Actress Award for her work in Dominik Moll's Lemming. The winner will be announced at the Dec. 3 European Film Awards ceremony in Berlin.

Berlin Film Festival website.


Carmen Miranda costume image: Publicity shot ca. early 1940s.

Ivor Novello image: Publicity shot ca. mid-1920s.

Charlotte Rampling Twice Upon a Time image: Gaumont / Columbia TriStar Films.

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3 Comments to Carmen Miranda Costume & Memorabilia Exhibit + Ivor Novello: Potential Rudolph Valentino of the 1930s?

  1. Austin Burbridge

    The Carmen Miranda Museum (Museu Carmen Miranda) in the Flamengo neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is small but curated with love. Mostly it is a gallery of her costumes. She was such a *giant* of entertainment — it is startling to see that the garments were made for a *tiny* person.

  2. Nono

    Sou familiar da carmen miranda prima em 4º grau tenho uma obsessão por sua musica e pela sua beleza!

  3. Joni Giarratano

    I taught an Art class using my memory of Carmen Miranda and hercostume, as one I always wore as my costume for Halloween. NO one in the class knew who I was talking about ! I need a photo of her to show them , next time , just how beautiful she was ! I can't seem to download the photo that accompanies this article !…HELP?