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Movie Details

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Directed By
Victor Fleming

Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, Sheldon Leonard, John Qualen, Donald Meek, Connie Gilchrist

Tortilla Flat (1942)
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Movie Review by Movie Addict
April 18th, 2008

Hot for Hedy as a Potuguese beauty

It could only happen in Hollywood. They buy the rights to a Steinbeck novel about Mexicans and Portuguese in California and put all white actors in the cast.

Now, maybe I can buy Hedy Lamarr as a Portuguese beauty, but Spenser Tracy and John Garfield as Mexicans? Ludicrous casting, especially when the story is so ethnic.

But, maybe it was genius as common stereotypes about Afro- and Mexican-Americans are played out in the form of Tracy, as a shiftless bum who mooches off his friends and manipulates them into providing him with wine and a roof over his head. Pilon (Tracy) is not interested in satisfying anything but his own belly and even goes after a poor wood-seller called The Pirate, in the form of Frank Morgan, who, in a Scorcese moment, got the Oscar nomination he should have gotten three years earlier for The Wizard of Oz.

Lamarr was as beautiful as ever, and John Garfield did a great job as her pursuer, even as he had to avoid complete ruin from the machinations of Pilon.

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