I think it was back in 1996 when I had read an enthusiastic review of Alberto Gout's 'rediscovered masterpiece' "Aventurera", which was playing in "art houses" throughout the US. My late friend Rosalind (to whom I'm dedicating this review) read the review with me, and said that it sounded like something we had to see. Well, it didn't happen until now. My dear friend "Sun" saw the film recently, and told me that I had to see it. And am I glad I finally did! "Aventurera" is an extremely entertaining, wildly melodramatic, over-the-top tour de force of Mexican cinema. Starring the popular, Cuban-born dancer Ninon Sevilla (she's still working, by the way, in Mexican Television), "Aventurera" delivers the goods. Ninon plays sexy but "good girl" Elena Tejero, whose father shoots himself after he learns that his wife has left him for another man (Elena caught them in a passionate embrace). Elena leaves Chihuahua for Juarez, where her ardent "friend" Lucio (an oily, pimpish Tito Junco) gets her drunk and drugged, then sells her into white slavery under the iron fist of brothel madam Rosaura de Cervero (Andrea Palma, who was a big star of Mexican cinema in the 30s and 40s) Elena becomes the "star attraction" of Rosaura's lush nightclub, manages to escape, and then hooks up with well-to-do attorney Mario de Cerverio (Ruben Rojo), who happens to be Rosaura's son! It is then that Elena plans her revenge against all who have done her dirt...The film is absolutely hypnotic in its baroque storyline, lavish musical numbers (you have to see them to believe it), seemingly endless parade of glamorous outfits, and, of course, the performances (no such thing as 'underplaying' in this film). Ninon was a dancer, and her numbers are lively and campy to boot. Her acting is a combination of Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Susan Hayward, Betty Hutton, and yes, Carmen Miranda. Her enthusiasm and vitality are quite evident!The film is "more Hollywood than Hollywood", and it does remind me somewhat of Columbia's "Gilda" (Rita Hayworth's signature role) and "Ladies of the Chorus" (a ludicrous "rich boy loves burlesque star" opus starring an up-and-coming Marilyn Monroe), as well as numerous films noirs. The cinematography is a gorgeous black and white, and the music is a joy, featuring such classic latin standards as "Frenesi" and "Adios". There isnt much in the way of extras on the DVD, (just an audio introduction to the film) but I'm not complaining. For lovers of good old-fashioned melodrama and a larger-than-life style of storytelling, then "Aventurera" is the film for you!
This review is dedicated to my dear friend Rosalind Scott, who would have loved this film!