The Hollywood Reporter (Weekly) - The Hollywood Reporter Awards Special
Five Essential Films
Of Rita Moreno’s lengthy film and TV résumé, these five features highlight the celebrated performer’s incredible talent
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN Moreno got an early break in the beloved 1952 MGM musical that starred Gene Kelly (who co-directed with Stanley Donen), Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. She played Zelda Zanders — “the Zip Girl” — in a comic departure from the “island girl” role in which she had been typecast.
THE KING AND I
In the 1956 big-screen adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Moreno portrayed Tuptim, a slave brought from Burma to be a wife to the King of Siam but who is secretly in love with another man. She later expressed regret about being cast in the role of an Asian character.
WEST SIDE STORY Moreno won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her work in this 1961 musical retelling of Romeo & Juliet, based on the smash-hit Broadway show. She is set to return to the musical as a new character in Steven Spielberg’s remake, which arrives in theaters in December.
THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY
In this 1969 crime drama set on the coast of France, Moreno starred alongside Marlon Brando — with whom she had a tumultuous affair in real life years before shooting the film — as con artists who kidnap a wealthy heiress.
CARNAL KNOWLEDGE In Mike Nichols’ dark comedy that tackled the rapidly changing morals of American culture (and proved controversial upon its 1971 release), Moreno appears just ahead of the end credits as a sex worker who empowers Jack Nicholson’s defeated chauvinist character.