Pepito’s Filmography: “Tropic Holiday” Starring Dorothy Lamour, Ray Milland and Martha Raye (1938)

Saturday, January 1, 1938

Pepito plays the role of “Chico” in the 1938 motion picture from RKO Studio, “Tropic Holiday.” Pepito puts his pantomime skills to hilarious good use, teaching Martha Raye’s character, Midge, how to be a matador in a bullfight.

Movie Review: Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland, a popular Paramount screen team specializing in south-sea extravaganzas, don ‘civilized’ garb (at least briefly) for Tropic Holiday. Lamour plays a Mexican senorita, while Milland is a visiting American screenwriter. Since we know where this is going, our attention is deflected every so often by comedy relief Bob ‘Bazooka’ Burns and Martha Raye, who are frankly more watchable than the leads. Also on hand is Mexican musical star Tito Guizar, who was still packing ’em in for his concert tours of the 1980s. Tropic Holiday contrives to remove most of Dorothy Lamour’s clothing before the fade-out, just so we remember who’s top billed around here.

Movie Synopsis: Ken Warren is sent to Mexico by his producer, Sol Grunnion, to write a romantic screenplay. He is assisted by his secretary, Midge Miller, who falls in love with the serenading Ramon. Meanwhile, Ken falls in love with local beauty Manuela, and while using their relationship as material for his screenplay, he discovers the true meaning of love. Breck Jones, Midge’s suitor since kindergarten, flies to Mexico to insist that she marry him, but caught up with the romance of the place, Midge insists she is only interested in a brave man who will pursue her.

In the meantime, Midge tries to impress Ramon by taking bullfighting lessons, but is a miserable failure. Breck takes Ken’s advice and attempts to duplicate the suicide scene from the film A Star Is Born , hoping to attract Midge’s attention. She is uninterested, however, and he is rescued by a local fishing boat. Then, Breck is imprisoned after a staged fight with some locals falls through, and he hits Barrera, who runs the bullfights.

When Barrera receives news that his famous female bullfighter will not be able to perform due to an injury, Barrera promises Midge that he will have Breck released if she goes into the ring. Midge reluctantly agrees. Ken’s Hollywood starlet fiancée, Marilyn Joyce then comes to town to take him back to Hollywood to marry her. Although she admits they are not in love, Marilyn is afraid she will receive bad publicity if it appears she has been jilted in favor of a Mexican unknown.

Later, the wrong bull, “Furioso,” is accidentally let in to the ring with Midge, and she has quite a time dodging it until it crashes through the wall of the jail and reappears with Breck on its back. Breck calms the beast and is finally Midge’s hero, after which he cleverly sets up Marilyn with Ramon, thereby allowing Ken to stay in Mexico and pursue his romance with Manuela.


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