RUMBA George Raft

RUMBA. Paramount, 1935. George Raft, Carole Lombard, Lynne Overmann, Margo, Iris Adrian, Gail Patrick.

Photography: Ted Teztlaff; art direction: Hans Dreier and Robert Usher. Dances and ensembles staged by LeRoy Prinz; specialty dance created and staged by Veloz and Yolanda. Director: Marion Gering. Shown at Cinecon 45, Hollywood CA, September 2009.

   Maybe I was just worn down by four days of movie watching, but this second pairing of Raft and Lombard (after their success in Bolero, 1934) didn’t consistently hold my interest.

RUMBA George Raft

   Lombard is a socialite, Raft a dancer, both of them with the same winning lottery ticket, but Raft’s is shown to be a counterfeit and he is forced to return the money. When Lombard sees him dance and recognizes his talent, she tries to give him back the money but he refuses to take it.

   The film continues along this path of characters at odds, from different social classes and different temperaments, the. reserved Lombard, the hot-tempered Raft, but fated to be drawn to each other. The complex mix is eventually resolved by a dance that climaxes the film and cements their relationship.

   The film’s strong suits are a pulsating, insidiously seductive Latin beat, and a striking performance by Margo as the Latino dancer who is Lombard’s rival for Raft as a dance partner and as a lover. (Seen with George Raft in the photo above and to the left.)

RUMBA George Raft