Maria Montez: ‘The Queen of Technicolor’
REMEMBER WHEN? - Danny Dolor (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2014 - 12:00am

This columnist remembers watching the movies of Maria Montez in the late ’40s and early ’50s in Manila theaters, enjoying immensely her costume sagas, mixed with romance and action.

Those were happier and simpler years — no computer, no cellphone, no Internet and no social media.

Remember When? shares with readers (young and old alike) the starrers of Señorita Montez through photos and ads… and this brief write-up from the Internet.

The daughter of a Spanish diplomat, Maria Montez was one of the kitschier movie stars of the 1940s, commanding a huge audience for shoddy but entertaining exotic films in which she was cast as high priestesses, harem queens and island girls. Such roles, combined with her talent for appearing bejeweled in outrageous camp costumes, led to her nickname ‘The Queen of Technicolor.’

Montez taught herself English and traveled to New York, where she became a model. But she wanted to be an actress, and campaigned hard to be offered a contract by Universal Studios. Montez began with bit parts in The Invisible Woman (1940) and Moonlight in Hawaii (1941), rising up the cast list with South of Tahiti (1941) and Bombay Clipper (1942). In her first starring role, she was atypically cast a Parisian murder victim in Mystery of Marie Roget (1942). Often teamed with Sabu, Jon Hall or Turhan Bey, she headed a succession of Universal Studios quickies draped in backlit atmosphere and sporting skimpy outfits in roles from Scheherezade in Arabian Nights (1942) to Queen Antinea in Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Montez’s star vehicles include White Savage (1943), Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), Cobra Woman (1944), Gypsy Wildcat (1944), Bowery to Broadway (1944) and Tangier (1946). Her vogue passed with the 1940s — post-World War II escapist fare was no longer called for — and she moved to Paris. In Europe, Montez turned out a few French, Italian and German movies before suffering a heart attack and drowning in her bathtub at the age of thirty-nine. Her native country recognized her achievements in 1996 when it named the Barahona airport Aeropuerto Internacional Maria Montez (Maria Montez International Airport). —RKC 

                               

AEROPUERTO INTERNACIONAL MARIA MONTEZ ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES ARABIAN NIGHTS BOMBAY CLIPPER COBRA WOMAN GYPSY WILDCAT IN EUROPE MONTEZ UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with