Jump to content

Type keyword(s) to search

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (2021)

  • Reply
  • Start Topic

Recommended Posts


OK, while this does celebrate the life and seven decades career (!) of the Puerto Rican born performer Miss Moreno (born Rosa Dolores Alverio Marcano), it's not entirely a glamorous paean to her. For one thing, she not only lets them see her as she is beneath her makeup and wigs (still a pretty old lady but definitely looking closer to her chronological years) but she bluntly answers questions about her struggles and angst she's had over the years. Oh, but it's framed around the time of her 87th Birthday which she herself threw (and put together) her own splashy party for in order to entertain her loved ones!  She was not shy about the fact that she's always loved entertaining others, being in the spotlight and adored dancing!


She discussed about how she had been a child performer in New York who then heard wind of MGM head Louis B. Mayer visiting when she was sixteen so she and her seamstress mother dolled her up to look like Elizabeth Taylor (because that was the performer she admired the most at that time) and then were nearly overwhelmed by their first elevator in the Waldorf-Astoria before being told how to operate it then Mr. Mayer instantly said she was ' a Spanish Elizabeth Taylor' and put her under contract. Of course, that didn't instantly set her on the road to a superstardom. She had to take many roles as 'natives' in mud-colored makeup and exaggerated accents which not surprisingly somewhat demoralized her. One of the worst moments of that was when her character had thrown herself off the top of a seaside cliff after her European explorer paramour had rejected her and she (Miss Moreno) was stuck in the surf and got attacked by jellyfish- and involuntarily twitched. This got the director furious with her and she vainly tried to explain about the jellyfish but he told her to just shut up and play dead!  It wasn't all bad, though, she considered her stint Singin' in the Rain (1953) one of the highlights of her career. The documentary also had many clips from West Side Story (1961) and other movies, television shows and news footage of her decades-long participation in activist causes (including one with her  carrying her baby daughter Fernanda Luisa  in arms to make a speech about being proud of one's background). She also was not shy about her personal life and regrets- including being sorry she stayed married to her husband (Fernanda's father Leonard Gordon) until his death rather than having ended the marriage decades earlier when she no longer found his controlling ways appealing. She said she loved doing The Electric Company (1971) because she considered it something she was doing to help give kids a needed service (learning how to appreciate reading) while entertaining AND was when she was happiest in her marriage and as a mother of a young daughter.  Her daughter Nandy somewhat less bombastic than her but seems to be her best friend and assistant (and Miss Moreno adores her college-aged grandsons)

. Anyway, with asides from her daughter, Morgan Freeman, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gloria Estefan, etc. this was quite interesting to see (of course, Miss Moreno herself was more critical of her own lapses than the others were) . This well worth seeing in the cinema but if that's not doable, try to wait for it on TV or streaming! Well worth it to her fans as well as those interested in film and social history!  I give it an A! 

Edited by Blergh
  • Useful 2
Link to comment

Watched on PBS last night. I doubt this is popular with many others these days if you are under a certain age. Very interesting. It’s amazing what wigs & makeup can do. She looks better today all  done up then some of those photos in the past. Seems like she never had a healthy romance. I knew about the Marlon Brando affair but it was jarring to hear of the botched abortion. She says it was a years long love affair but in his book, I believe it was, she was his constant “booty call”. It is horrible how Hollywood treats people, especially minorities.  Haven’t seen her in many roles but it made me want to check out The Electric Company. Looks like she was good in Oz too but I never watched that & don’t think I want to. 
Good thing she became an actress because, as she admits, she lives attention. Wow, some people are born hams. 

  • Love 2
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...