The Mambo Kings (1992)

ARNE GLIMCHER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

France/USA, 1992.  Alcor Films, Canal+, Regency Enterprises, Warner Bros..  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Arne Glimcher, .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  

Sturdy, enjoyable adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is best remembered for its introducing sexy Spanish heartthrob to English-speaking cinema. He and  play Cuban musicians living in Miami whose various life experiences lead them through various volatile relationships and eventually to their big break playing their tunes on I Love Lucy.  Banderas, who had to learn his lines phonetically due to his still-primitive English, is excellent as the softer, younger sibling, while Assante’s strong presence lends considerable believability to his portrayal of the older, more brutish brother. Also starring and featuring cameos by Latin superstars  and , this solid drama is further accentuated by the excellent theme song ‘Beautiful Maria Of My Soul’.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Original Song (“Beautiful Maria Of My Soul”)

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Original Song (“Beautiful Maria Of My Soul”)

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