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Carmen Miranda and the Good Neighbor Policy

by Kate Fortmueller

During WWII Hollywood was no longer able to export its films to Europe. In order to keep profits up studios looked to Mexico, Central and South America as a new market. A number of films, including The Gang's All Here incorporated Latin American stars, such as the Brazilian star Carmen Miranda, as one way to court these audiences. Miranda's image was often criticized for its exaggerated and stereotypical representation of Brazilian identity. In her article about Carmen Miranda in Steven Cohan's Hollywood Musicals - The Film Reader, Shari Roberts suggests that this musical number "lampoons both U.S.-Latin American trade relations and notions of feminine sexuality through the casting of Miranda as overseer of countless enormous, swaying phallic bananas buoyed up by lines of chorus girls who dance above other girls who have oversized strawberries between their legs." (148) Despite the stereotypical representation, the excess of this musical number allows for multiple readings.

The Gang's All Here (1943) - "The Lady in the Tutti-frutti Hat"

Carmen Miranda sings the "Lady in the Tutti-frutti Hat."

from The Gang's All Here (1943)
Creator: Busby Berkeley
Posted by Kate Fortmueller
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