SOMBRERO tells three intertwining love stories of varying degrees of interest. It's disclosed early on that wealthy Alejandro (Vittoria Gassman) is dying of a brain tumor; he loves the peasant woman Maria of the River Road (Yvonne DeCarlo) but is forced by duty and class position to marry the socially acceptable Elena (Nina Foch).
Ruben (Rick Jason) is a candy peddler who falls in love with Lola (Cyd Charisse), whose matador brother (Jose Greco) is strangely possessive of his sister, considering her his good luck charm.
The most lighthearted story concerns Pepe (Ricardo Montalban), a wild prankster who makes the greatest cheese in Mexico. He falls in love with Euphemia (Pier Angeli), whose father (Thomas Gomez) is the mayor of a rival town and will not agree to their marriage.
The film is overlong at 103 minutes, with some dull, slow-moving passages surrounding some interesting and quite enjoyable sequences. Highlights include Pepe crashing Euphemia's birthday party to romance her on the sly and Lola's solitary wild dance ridding herself of guilt over a death; Charisse fans will want to catch this film in order to see her solo number. Montalban gets to do a bit of pleasant singing, but the film is light enough on music I don't think I'd describe it as a musical.
SOMBRERO was filmed on location in Mexico and features exquisitely beautiful Technicolor, starting from the eye-catching red, green, and yellow opening credits. The movie may not be for everyone due to the sometimes sluggish storytelling, but I found it worthwhile for its great look, including unique Mexican exteriors, along with its handsome cast and brief musical interludes.
Norman Foster, who had made movies in Mexico in the mid '40s. The two men were each married to one of Loretta Young's sisters, Montalban to Loretta's younger half-sister Georgiana and Foster to their older sister Sally Blane (aka Elizabeth Jane Young).
The Warner Archive DVD features gorgeous color, filmed by Ray June, and is a real visual treat. There are no extras.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.