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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Talent!
Helena Solberg takes Carmen Miranda fans where they've never gone before. This video is the most in depth bio I have ever seen on the "Little Girl" from Brazil. Not only does it delve into Miranda's life, but it goes into detail the abuse she took from the movie industry. Hollywood stereotyped Carmen to the point that it was impossible for her to find roles other than the...
Published on October 11, 2000 by AhJay

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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but misses a key point
This documentary is more about the director and her feelings about Carmen Miranda than Carmen. In the end, I find she does no more service to her than Hollywood did. What she fails to note is Miranda was just great and joyous in those old Fox films. How many other foreign actresses could do a full-length number like Cae Cae with her Banda de Lua? It's authentic and fun...
Published on February 25, 2003


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Talent!, October 11, 2000
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This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
Helena Solberg takes Carmen Miranda fans where they've never gone before. This video is the most in depth bio I have ever seen on the "Little Girl" from Brazil. Not only does it delve into Miranda's life, but it goes into detail the abuse she took from the movie industry. Hollywood stereotyped Carmen to the point that it was impossible for her to find roles other than the "Rosita" and "Carmelta" characters she portrayed, and her native Brasil deemed her too "Americanized", almost to the point of disowning her. She was definitely a woman without a country."Bananas" also shows some of Miranda's classic numbers from the camp 20th Century Fox musicals. All in all, "Bananas Is My Business" is a detailed account of the life of this extraordinary talent....a "must see" for any Miranda fan.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting docu-fantasy--masterfully done!, October 27, 2004
This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
I first saw this film when it was broadcast on the independent film show, P.O.V. (Point of View), on PBS back in 1995. I knew about as much about Carmen Miranda as the average Yanqui. (Even though I like to think I transcend this national limitation with my inherited sense of Latina soul by way of my Venezuelan father's DNA.) I wanted to know more about "The Lady with the Tutti Frutti Hat," this icon who represented so many things to so many people. To her people of Brazil, she was their Carmen, that young, vivacious and drop-dead gorgeous singer of sambas, forros and Brazilian popular music (Musica Popular do Brasil) in the 1940s. To the North American public, she was the Latin bombshell with a flare for flashy, bold and colorful "traditional" costumes, who emerged as part of "tropical" dance numbers in several popular, Hollywood musicals. It didn't matter to many what language she was singing in, nor the content of her songs. It was pure, exotic fluff to entertain and distract us from our troubles. That was what we were lead to believe, anyway.

The story behind Carmen Miranda, the young Brazilian woman, born in Portugal to Portuguese parents, is finally revealed in Helena Solberg's compelling, cautionary film, that is disclosed to us through an innovative and engaging series of archived films, fantasy re-enactments and personal accounts of people who knew the woman behind the bananas. Let me tell you, here and now, bananas weren't the ONLY thing that were her business. Don't let the song fool you! ("Bananas Is My Business") Carmen Miranda was actually born Maria de Carmen, to Portuguese parents who immigrated with their young, two-year old daughter to Brazil. Maria was a gorgeous, outgoing, green-eyed ("like the headlights of a car," according to a Brazilian journalist) hatmaker at a men's boutique, when her enchanted voice was first heard. Maria used to sing to herself, to while away the hours. The numbers of customers surged when Maria was around. They were immediately enchanted and attracted to the beautiful young woman. A few years later, her first test record for the RCA studio, became a hit record in Rio de Janeiro. Once she had built a name for herself, she was performing at a nightclub one night and an American producer from Hollywood happened to see her sing. The rest is history.....

The film unapologetically presents the duality of Carmen's experiences in Hollywood and showbusiness in the United States. Though, she had given herself the name Carmen Miranda, when she began her journey of self discovery before she even became a popular singer, her overall makeover and appearance in the public eye was severely altered by Hollywood's hand. She was presented as a goodwill ambassador, representing the cultures of South America to the United States, not only as a means of social outreach, but as a tool of political and economic advancement. This beautiful woman gradually began to resemble the clownish, over-the-top persona carved out for her. She was never given successful, "serious" roles as a Latina in U.S. showbusiness. Instead, she was presented as the exotic icing, while other Non-Latin actors took the cake.

When she finally succumbed to a heart attack at the young age of fourty-six, the numerous sleeping and caffeine pills she had taken to become addicted to, along with an abusive and disrespectful marriage to American David Sebastian, finally took their toll. Nonetheless, her legacy lives on as a beautiful, talented and vivacious film legend who can never be replaced in our hearts. It is my hope that people see this film to get a glimpse at the woman behind the fruit basket.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars why we gave that gal a spotlight, February 26, 2008
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Carmen Miranda possessed a singular ability to show people how to have fun; and this talent was so infectious that it was always magical to watch her on the screen I still enjoy movies that feature her today! This documentary about Carmen's life is rather well done; and the action moves along at a good pace.

We see many still photos of Carmen in her late teenage years; sometimes we also see an actress playing a very young Carmen on the beach mostly likely because no such footage exists. The footage of Carmen performing with her original Brazilian band is wonderful; and the brief remaining footage of a movie she did with her sister in Brazil is practically priceless.

As you may have guessed, interviews and footage are interspersed throughout the film. There's great footage from movies Carmen starred in; most notable of all this footage is the way over the top musical number by Busby Berkeley from the movie The Gang's All Here. Great!

The interviews we get are very well done. We get lots of insight and memories from Alice Faye, Cesar Romero, and a couple of songwriters for Carmen and her band in Brazil. Perhaps the best interviews are from Carmen's cousin and Carmen's sister who really knew her extremely well.

There is considerable time spent on how the Brazilian journalists accused Miranda of forgetting her country and becoming too Americanized. I'm sure this upset Carmen very badly.

One thing we do not get is any interview time with husband Dave Sebastian, who reportedly was very cruel to Carmen and even physically abusive. I think that the producers of this film wouldn't want to give him the chance to smear Carmen by interviewing him if indeed he was still living at the time this film was made.

Unfortunately, we also get footage of Carmen returning to Brazil in the 1950s after a severe nervous breakdown; she was miserable in her marriage and it shows when she is being interviewed upon her arrival in Rio. There's even more potentially disturbing footage of Carmen falling down while dancing with Jimmy Durante on television. She died just a few hours later at home; and her death is one of several scenes reenacted by an actress.

Sure, I don't care for the scenes reenacted by actresses, even though they did a very good job of finding ladies who looked like Carmen. However, it's the best you can get if you don't have footage. The scene in which Carmen dies alone may be rough on some people; I don't blame them.

Overall, this documentary tells people quite a bit that they didn't know before about a great, talented lady named Carmen Miranda. This is a fine place for the casual fan or the beginner fan to start. Of course, diehard fans may want this in their collections anyway.

I give this film a four star review--they were a little too "free and easy" with those reenactment scenes.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen, March 15, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
What a great character she was. The Portuguese jealous she immigrated to Brazil when she was little more than a baby and the Brazilians not less envious because she emigrated to N. America. Carmen Miranda a combination of stamina and talent. The DVD is a collectors item with images of Rio de Janeiro at its very best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sweet and sour life of a beautiful heart, April 5, 2004
By 
Lorenz Chan (Phoenix, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Carmen Miranda's million dollar smile and unforgetable image will continue for generations to remember the priceless contributions of a once unknown Brasilian woman to the rest of the world. Her natural abilities to entertain and gain the favor of Hollywood during the "middle ages" of segregationism and other phobias was an amazing triumphant of what appear impossible for a Latin American women and men. Kudos for her because she won fame and fortune in so little time. In this documentary, you will learn to appreciate and respect other people and cultures different than you; I hope...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Worth Seeing, July 15, 1999
By A Customer
I saw this video in a college media library. I was searching through 1,435 videos on a computer and I ran across this one. I've always admired Carmen Miranda (but not a big fan) and liked her music as well. I love traditional Samba, so this picture was a treat for me. I'm also quite historical, and I love documentary films that have old newsreels, home movies, etc. in them. I really liked this video a lot. I've never seen much Carmen Miranda. I've read about her, however. Fascinating lady. If you're nuts over Samba, Brazil, or Carmen, this is a video for you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Insight Into A Pioneering Latina Superstar!!, January 15, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
I first saw this documentary back in about 1995 while
I was living in Atlanta on TBS I believe it was...
Anywayz, I thought it was great then and when I saw
that it was now available on DVD, I jumped at the chance to buy it!
Very little was known about how the "Brazilan Bombshell",
the great Carmen Miranda, rose to prominence on the world stage!
Before Celia Cruz and Salsa, Before La Lupe transfixed audiences
with her impassioned and (some say) possessed performances,
Before Rita Moreno took broadway and hollywood by storm,
Before J-Lo dazzled us on screen and became "Jenny From The Block"...
Carmen Miranda, who incidientally was born in Portugal
but reared in Brazil, became the figurehead for all latinas
of her time! This was a time when most white americans
couldn't even distinguish between Puerto Rican / Dominican /
Cuban / Mexican or Brazilian and lumped them all into one
tidy category--"The Firey Vivacious Latin Spit-Fire"!!
Rita Moreno (still alive and well!)and other classic hollywood
actors and actresses who are no longer here, share their
personal antecdotes and stories about Carmen.
Interwoven into all of this history is a parallel story
of a little brazilan girl, the film maker, and her life
long admiration for "the lady with the fruit on her head".
There is great historical footage and pictures of Carmen's
early days. Her sister and first boyfriend and first husband
(I Believe all are deceased now) also give interesting perspective.
It also gives great insight to the dark times and tragedies
in her life and her untimely death of a massive heart attack
at the far too young age of 46 in 1955 and the huge
state funeral that was held in Brazil that was mobbed
by millions of her fans who saw themselves in her and gained
hope from her journey!---All-n-All, a great DVD!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but very sad., July 21, 2002
This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
This was a great documentary! I just discovered Carmen through the Fox Movie Channel. This film covers her whole life. She was really a great talent and she did not deserve to be treated that way by hollywood. Maybe if she was a star of today she would have been more respected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This was a wonderful DVD about Carmen Miranda's life story., December 8, 2014
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This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
This DVD was very intriguing, entertaining and sad. I'm so glad I ordered it. I watched this documentary with my 80+ years young Mother and she remembers her movies and the bad publicity given many times about Carmen Miranda. She was surprised that many of those bad reports about her during those years were false or stretched incidents that made her loose many of her fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great birthday present to myself, February 4, 2014
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This review is from: Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business (DVD)
really thrilled with this dvd ,Have watched it several times since l recieved it in the mailand still continue to enjoy it
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Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business
Carmen Miranda - Bananas Is My Business by Helena Solberg (DVD - 1998)
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