Carmen ‘Chica Chica Boom’ Miranda

Day 278 of Colourisation Project – February 9

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Born this day, 9 February 1909, Carmen Miranda, was a popular and flamboyant Portuguese-Brazilian singer, dancer and highly influential film star of the 1930s through to the 1950s.

A ground-breaking Brazilian icon, Miranda achieved international fame in a meteoric career, which saw her nicknamed ‘The Brazilian Bombshell.’  By 1945, she was the highest paid woman in the United States and the most important Brazilian artistic export.

Photographer Unknown – Carmen Miranda – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Although Miranda was fluent in English in real life, American producers cultivated her  stylized and outlandishly flamboyant image to reflect a caricature of a hot-blooded Latina with a strong accent. Standing at only 5′ tall, her platform sandals and towering headdresses made of colourful fruit became her global trademarks.

For a time her image incurred the wrath of Brazilians who saw her as a Hollywood tool for the Brazilian dictator, Getúlio Vargas. Greatly upset by accusations of perpetuating Hispanic stereotypes, and of “becoming too American,” it would be fourteen years before Miranda returned to Brazil.

Her generic Latina image blurred the distinctions between Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, and Mexico causing Argentina to ban her film, Down Argentine Way (1940), for “wrongfully portraying life in Buenos Aires.” Cuba felt the same with Weekend in Havana (1941).

When Carmen Miranda died of a heart attack in 1955, at the age of 46, her popularity abroad was greater than in Brazil and though she had her detractors, her body was flown back to Rio de Janeiro where the Brazilian government declared a period of national mourning.  A crowd of  more than half a million Brazilians escorted her funeral cortège to the São João Batista Cemetery.

Carmen Miranda has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the south side of the 6262 block of Hollywood Boulevard.

A little musical treat for you today… Carmen Miranda doing her Chica Chica Boom thing with Don Ameche in the movie, That Night In Rio (1941).


“Look at me and tell me if I don’t have Brazil in every curve of my body.”   –  Carmen Miranda

This entry was posted in Colorization, Colourisation, Film, Photography, USA, Women, Women in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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