Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Delores del Rio - Female Latin Lover

Have you ever watched "Flying Down to Rio" ?? You know; the one you think starred Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire ! Whilst it may have made the dancing duo "stars", they were not the top billed name. That privilege went to the breath-takingly beautiful Mexican actress Delores del Rio (1905-1983) 

 Dolores del Río was a Mexican born film actress; a star in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s before establishing herself as one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a mythical figure in Latin America and quintessential representation of the feminine face of Mexico to the world.

During the 1920's and 1930's in Hollywood, Dolores was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a sort of female version of Rudolph Valentino, the "Latin lover" in the silent films. Her career flourished at the end of the silent era, with success in films such as; Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928) and Evangeline (1929). Unlike many other established silent stars she was easily able to adapt to the talkies. She featured in such successful films as; Bird of Paradise (1932), Flying Down to Rio (1933), Madame Du Barry,Wonder Bar (1934) and Journey into Fear (1942).

 Of course their was more to Delores, she was married to the MGM's art designer Cedric Gibbons and also had a four-year relationship with Orson Welles, who was 10 years her junior. The result of a teenage infatuation, having fallen in love with after seening in the 1932 film, Bird Of Paradise. He considered her the great love of his life;“The most intense and volcanic passion I had in my life.

Sadly her star in Hollywood began to fade after she refused to be cast in the anti-Mexican film, Viva Villa! in 1935; her refusal led to her contract with Warner Bros being cancelled and in effect marked the start of the end of her Hollywood career. This combined with a change tastes, the "exotic latin lover" star had had it's day but studios refuse to cast her in more challenging roles where they prefered to cast more box office safe, American actresses. She did appear in several films during the late 1930's, but nothing that you would wish to view, the straight to video types.

Hollywood's loss was the Mexican film industries gain, where she appeared in over 20 films plus many TV appearances. There were a few also a few more Mainstream Hollywood films such as John Ford's 1947 film, The Fugitive with Henry Fonda, Flaming Star (1960) with Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden and another John Ford production with his 1964 Western Cheyenne Autumn, where part listed simply as "Spanish Women"

"Delores Dio Rio" etching in colour by Frank Martin (1921-2005)
Her box office power may have waned but her beauty is eternal, captured on film, in photographs and expressed in many graphic forms; Posters, Fanzines and Art.

Classic 1930's commercial art form the covers of fanzines.
Try and track down some of her films --
Post a Comment