For Reel

Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event (1943)
June 21, 2016, 12:59 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Leslie Goodwins
3.5 Stars
Mexican Spitfire's Blessed EventThe last entry in the Mexican Spitfire series is a bittersweet farewell to the eight-film farce, which recycled its jokes shamelessly but coasted by due to the talents of Lupe Velez and particularly vaudeville talent Leon Errol. It would be the penultimate film of Velez’s career (her last Hollywood film) before she took her own life after an out-of-wedlock pregnancy left her in shambles. Fortunately, she goes out on a high point—whereas many installments of the series relegated her to a supporting player, Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event gives her a few memorable moments and more of a consistent purpose in moving the plot forward. The picture’s games of misunderstandings begin when Carmelita tells Dennis (now played by Walter Reed) about a “blessed event”, which he mistakes as an announcement that she’s with child. For the first time in the series, there is a concerted effort to have both of Leon Errol’s characters appear on screen together—earlier installments have largely used cheap-looking tricks to create the illusion, whereas this picture uses green screen and other camera tricks to have the two interact at length. Despite the new insistence on having Errol due double duty within a single frame, however, the picture withholds the bulk of the Lord Epping schtick until the latter half of the picture, therefore feeling like one of the better balanced entries in the series. If Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event doesn’t take the series much farther, it nonetheless is a terrific distillation of the films at their best—the familiar gags are performed well, the miscommunications are particularly funny, and Velez and Errol are at the top of their game.

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