Black Dancer Katherine Dunham Does Mambo Italiano!

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Director Robert Rossen was blacklisted from US filmmaking after he was accused of being a communist supporter. With few other options, the brilliant Rossen went to Italy and made Mambo, a stunningly subversive film with love, lust, and spectacular dancing. Dark and enigmatic, Rossen’s Mambo is the sordid story of young, desperate, and impoverished characters who are awe struck by the glamour of fame and fortune. Silvana Mangano, the lead actress, flows through the film with a sensuousness and sexual presence rarely captured on film. While trying to become a dancer, she is courted by two more or less reprehensible men who help bring her career to greater heights. In her travels, there are glorious scenes of mesmerizing and highly skilled dancing: prominently featured is Katherine Dunham, one of the greatest dance performers of all time. Mambo is provocative and powerful, as well as darkly artistic, a combination that weaves a beautiful nightmare.

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