This essay analyzes the impact of María Montez as an eccentric Dominican actress in Hollywood and as an iconic figure in the cultural memory of the Dominican Republic. While Montez’s eccentric personality accorded her a place in the stereotypical landscape created for the “Latina spitfire” in English-language films, in the Dominican Republic her image as an international celebrity helped to further promote the national-popular homogenizing ideology of the Rafael Trujillo regime that upheld a distorted notion of democracy that negated racial and class differences. Accordingly, this essay is also concerned with examining the contradictory consumption of Montez as a Dominican/Caribbean celebrity within the media stardom of the late 1940s and early 1950s manufactured by the Hollywood industry. The author draws on Teresa De Lauretis’s concept of the “eccentric figure” to ruminate on the contradictory paradigms that have conversely defined and negated the artistic craft of female performers such as Montez.
María Montez: The Unnatural Actress and the Consumption of the Early Dominican Diva
Danny Méndez is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies and a core faculty of the Program of Global Studies in Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. His research focuses on contemporary narrative representations of Dominican migrations to the United States and Puerto Rico, analyzing the particular ways these narratives challenge conceptions of Latin American literature and Latinx studies.
Danny Méndez; María Montez: The Unnatural Actress and the Consumption of the Early Dominican Diva. Small Axe 1 July 2018; 22 (2 (56)): 115–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-6985807
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