An otherwordly musical about the Zoot Suit riots in LA in the early 1940s that were the result of four Latino men being unjustly sent to San Quentin.
Okay, I grew up in Southern California, but of course in the small redneck community that was my home town, nothing was ever mentioned of something so controversial…so although when the musical, and then the movie, came out, I saw the ads on TV (yes, I was still hooked on the Box of Evil back then) and thought it looked interesting, I never got around to it.
Until this last weekend, when I went on a girls’ trip to Death Valley with La Cuerva.
We did all kinds of rugged outdoorsy things during the days, of course, but when night fell…there we were in our nice motel room, in our jammies, eating cookies, reading and talking. And we had brought some movies. Of which this was one.
It’s one of La Cuerva’s favorites, and has been on my list for a long time, so we watched it.
And it was really good. Not only historically accurate (and La Cuerva certainly knows her stuff there) but interesting to watch, with good music, great costumes and clever writing. Some of which is in Spanish, but understandable in context for gringos like me who only catch a little of it at any given time…and La Cuerva translated the salacious slang, that was fun!.
And Edward James Olmos is wonderful. He’s the centerpiece of the show, the instigator, narrator, and MC. He’s flamboyant, flashy, irresistable…and has a great part, very well suited to his talents.
The rest of the cast is good too, although the only other one of whom I had heard was Tyne Daly, who plays the woman who keeps their case going and finally succeeds in getting them released from prison.
The songs are not only good, but they fit the time period. Costumes and sets are excellent; this is a treat for all the senses.
A real winner, well worth watching. Even if you have no cookies.