Fiesta is an eyeful of Esther Williams. It’s also pleasant if not socko film fare, ‘introducing a new personality, Ricardo Montalban’.
The new personality is a nice departure in that he’s not the Valentino type, but on the other hand neither is he socko in any other direction. As a Mexican juvenile, however, he is a sympathetic vis-a-vis to Williams, who plays his twin sister.
The film plot punches over the fact that ‘not all Mexicans are bullfighters’. Leisurely the story unfolds with the birth of the twins, after the famed matador (well played by Fortunio Bonanova, who does a tip-top interpretation of the role) at first betrays his chagrin that his firstborn is a girl. But when her twin brother arrives 15 minutes later he schools the lad to follow in the bullfighter tradition, even though his penchant is music. Eventually the ‘Salon Mexico’ suite by Aaron Copland (brilliantly orchestrated by Johnny Green) serves as the Mexican Symphony’s means to project his virtuosity as a serious composer. Plot projects his doting twin sister (who also has manifested skill in the arena) to masquerade as her brother in order to recapture a distorted loss of family honor.
John Carroll is her romantic vis-a-vis and Cyd Charisse makes a fine impression with her terps and general line-reading as the romantic interest opposite Montalban, with whom she clicks in a couple of intricate native terp routines.