Cast & Crew
After losing their jobs as performers in a Havana nightclub, Hildita and Maria meet Joe Thomas, a sailor. Joe offers to teach Hildita some new dance steps, and a crowd gathers to watch as they dance in the street. Among the crowd is Señor Valdez, a wealthy playboy, who throws them some money. Joe jumps ship to form a dance team with Hildita, and they are booked into a nightclub owned by Valdez. Joe falls in love with Hildita and becomes jealous of Valdez's attentions to her. After a quarrel with Hildita, Joe goes to the casino and, in an attempt to compete with Valdez, gambles away all his money, as well as some money he was holding for Hildita and Maria. When Valdez learns that Joe has jumped ship, he plans to eliminate his rival by having Joe arrested. Joe decides to surrender on his own, but offers to create a new dance routine and stay with the act long enough to pay back the women's money. During rehearsals, Hildita falls in love Joe, and Maria persuades Valdez to use his influence to clear up Joe's legal problems. Valdez then gives Hildita and Joe a job in his most elegant nightclub, and their new dance routine is a huge success.
John D. Bonin
Doris Dowling (1923-2004)
Doris Dowling was born on May 15, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. She showed an interest in acting at a young age, and after a few years of stage work in the Midwest, she joined her older sister, the leading lady Constance Dowling, in Hollywood. Paramount soon took notice of the sultry brunette with the soulful expression and husky voice, and promptly signed her to a contract.
She made a stunning film debut as Gloria, the hooker who befriends Ray Milland at a bar, becoming his good-humored confidante in The Lost Weekend (1945); she followed that up in the overlooked, film noir gem, The Blue Dahlia (1946), playing Alan Ladd's shrewish wife before being killed by a mystery killer in the first reel. She made another noir thriller, the forgettable, The Crimson Key (1947), playing, once again, an unsympathetic part before heading off to Europe. Once there, Italian director Giuseppe de Santis used her effectively in Bitter Rice (1948), arguably her best performance as the jewelry thief hiding among women rice workers in Northern Italy; another notable role was as Bianca in Orson Welles' French production of Othello (1951).
She returned to Hollywood in the late '50s, and spent the next three decades doing television work: Bonanza, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Barnaby Jones, and The Streets of San Francisco, just to name a few. She retired quietly from acting by the early '80s. She was briefly married to bandleader Artie Shaw (1952-56), and is survived by her son through that marriage, Jonathan; and her husband of 44 years, Leonard Kaufman.
by Michael T. Toole
Doris Dowling (1923-2004)
Although reviews indicate that the picture included several songs, neither their titles nor composers have been determined. Sarumba was filmed entirely on location in Havana, Cuba. According to a May 28, 1947 Variety news item, the film's American producers encountered numerous problems with the local talent union and tradespeople, prompting the American consul to commission a thirty-page handbook to help other film companies work more productively in Cuba. The handbook was written by Cuban attorney Dr. Luis Rodriguez Molina. Although Sarumba was shot in 1947, news items in Hollywood Reporter report that the film was tied up in litigation for more than a year. The film received trade screenings in 1950, but May not have been released until 1952.