Unlike the other arts recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Sidney Poitier, Broadway legend Chita Rivera hasn’t had an extensive career in movies. In 1960, she originated the role of Rosie in the first Broadway production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” When the time came to do the film version, however, Hollywood blew its shot at having a positive portrayal of a Latina actually be played by a Latina. Instead of using Ms. Rivera, a great dancer and singer, the part went to Janet Leigh, a “name” whose considerable talents were mainly in acting.

Still, a few years later, the great director-choreographer Bob Fosse choose to include Ms. Rivera in his first film, “Sweet Charity.” Unfortunately, 1969 was exactly the wrong year to release a more or less traditional musical. “Charity” bombed, forcing Fosse to completely rethink the musical form for the movies and Rivera to keep plugging away in New York. Fortunately, that means we have a couple of great movie-moments from this semi-forgotten classic featuring Chita Rivera as Nickie, a tough-talking taxi dancer. Here, along with friends Helene (Paula Kelley) and Charity Hope Valentine (Shirley MacLaine), she reconsiders her career choice.

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