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Present an analysis of a so-called Good N eighbour film, making reference to the socio-political context in which the film was produced, and reflecting on the representation of Latin America(ns) in the film. Jemma Wark, Teri Crawford, Joelle Horner and Sarah Phythian. Outline.

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Jemma wark teri crawford joelle horner and sarah phythian

Present an analysis of a so-called Good Neighbour film, making reference to the socio-political context in which the film was produced, and reflecting on the representation of Latin America(ns) in the film

Jemma Wark, Teri Crawford, Joelle Horner and Sarah Phythian


  • The Good Neighbour Policy and it's implementation in the USA

  • Overview of Down Argentina Way

  • Representation of different Latin American cultures within the film

  • Latin America as a subordinate nation

  • Latin Americans as the 'exotic other'

  • Latin Americans as untrustworthy

  • Similarities between North Americans and Latin Americans

  • Conclusive points

What was roosevelt s ideology behind the good neighbour policy
What was Roosevelt’s ideology behind the Good Neighbour Policy?

  • Security:

    "To ensure that nations in Latin America were joined in the Allied war effort and were not associated with the Axis or Communist sympathisers."

  • Economic interests:

    "To allow the US access to Latin America as a source of raw materials and a market for goods, including films."

    (Falicov, 2007: 15)

  • America wanted to maintain its military and economic strength, the underlying values of its national culture.

How was the good neighbour policy implemented in america
How was the Good Neighbour Policy implemented in America? Policy?

Through a unique programme called the ‘New Deal’:

• Latin songs in vogue

• Radio campaigns:

FDR’s fireside chats

• Photography campaigns.

• Tours by Carmen Miranda and Dolores del Rio.

  • To promote racial understanding and tolerance of diversity and helped to “articulate the lower third of society.” (Pike, 1995: 69)

Film information
Film information Policy?

  • Released in 1940

  • Directed by Irving Cummings

  • "The South American way! with the pretty american debutante and her dashing Argentine the gayest of adventures from New York to Buenos Aires."

  • Film poster and credits portray Miranda as a star of the film, even though she has no pivotal role in the narrative.

  • "Yes sir, we can just imagine how the boys in Rio and B.A will bubble with amity when they see Miss Grable up there on the screen“.

Latin american cultures represented in the film
Latin American cultures represented in the film Policy?

Mexican soundsMexican-style village dance

Brazilian Portuguese song by Carmen MirandaSamba also featured

American Tap Dance

Argentinian gauchos

Cuban style music

Rumba also mentioned

Subordinate nation
Subordinate nation? Policy?

  • “Indeed, in the carnivalesque moments in the present film, it is always the North Americans who are at centre stage.”

  • “North America is displacing South America as the emotional, ideological, figurative (and in terms of filmic framing) literal centre of the movie.”

  • (Swanson, 2009:11)

  • On the other hand, Latin America as the fun, carnivalesque land where you can “kiss your cares goodbye”.

  • (Down Argentina Way, 1940)

'Other' Policy?

"Exotic sex object":

  • Sexualised physicality

  • Exotic Language

  • Tourist Appeal

    "Ignorant comic":

  • Accents and mispronunciations by Latin American characters.

    "So very much delightful to meet you (...) and now if we will come with you, you can escort me to the hotel."

    "Us will be glad to."

Untrustworthy Policy?

  • Tito - "tall, dark and handsome" yet misleading.

  • Casiano - cunning and sly.

  • Ricardo - charming and attractive, yet deceitful and dishonest.

  • Reflection of the turbulent relationship between North and South America.

Similar Policy?

  • Contrasted with the ignorant comic 'other', is the idea of the white Argentine elite.

    "the denial […] and erasure of real differences (the similarities are only really between cultural and economic elites)". (Swanson, 2009: 3)

  • These tensions reflect the political and social anxieties at the root of the Good Neighbour Policy.

Conclusion Policy?



The ideal place to escape to

Similar to North Americans to an extent

Union of Glenda and Ricardo reflects the aim of the Good Neighbour Policy



Negative reception in Latin America

Bibliography Policy?

Augusto, Sérgio, ‘Hollywood looks at Brazil: From Carmen Miranda to Moonraker’ in Brazilian Cinema. Ed. Randal Johnson & Robert Stam, New York: Columbian University Press, c1995 pp. 315-361.

Clark, Walter Aaron, From Tejano to Tango: Latin American Popular Music. London: Routledge, 2002

Dennison, Stephanie and Shaw, Lisa, Essays on Modernity, Gender and National Identity. North Carolina: Mc Farland and Company, Inc, 2005, pp.180-208.

Falicov, Tamara, L., The Cinematic Tango: Contemporary Argentine Film. London: Wallflower Press, 2007, pp.6-21

Growther, Barry, 'The Screen: 'Down Argentine Way', with Betty Grable, at Roxy --J. Barrymore in 'The Great Profile' at the Palace', 18/10/1940. Accessed on 23 November 2012.

López, Ana M., ‘Are all Latins from Manhattan? Hollywood, Ethnography and Cultural Colonialism’ in Mediating two worlds : cinematic encounters in the Americas. Eds. John King, Ana M. López & Manuel Alvardo, London: BFI Publishing, 1993, pp. 67-80.

Pike, Fredrick,B., FDR’s Good Neighbour Policy: Sixty Years of Generally Gentle Chaos. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995, pp. 2-124.

Roberts, Shari, ‘The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat’ in Hollywood musicals, the film reader. Ed. Stephen Cohan, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 143-158.

Swanson, Phillip, ‘Going Down on Good Neighbours: Imagining América in Hollywood Movies of the 1930s and 1940s (Flying Down to Rio and Down Argentine Way)’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 28., No. 3., 2009, pp.1-14. Accessed 20November 2012. Accessed 22 November 2012.

Film clips and stills taken from: Down Argentine Way (1940).