This vibrant film updates the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to Rio's riotous Carnival. Orfeo (Melo) is engaged to fiery Mira (de Oliveira), but on first glancing at Eurydice (Dawn), our hero falls helplessly in love. Eurydice ends up dancing with Orfeo wearing her cousin's costume, and when she's exposed, the jealous Mira is out for blood. To make matters worse, a frightening skeletal figure is following Eurydice everywhere. Could it be Death coming to claim her?
The dazzling ritual of Carnival is captured in a swirl of breathtaking color and kinetic energy in this enduring classic. The actors are uniformly excellent (with Dawn's Eurydice a particular stand-out), and director Camus also manages to build considerable suspense as the tragic age-old tale plays out. Notably, the pulsating soundtrack by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa helped launch the bossa nova craze at the dawn of the sixties. No wonder!