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El bruto (1953)

 |  Drama  |  1955 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,136 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 13 critic

A tough young man, who helps to kick poor people out of their houses, falls in love with a girl. She lives with her father in the building about to be demolished.

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Title: El bruto (1953)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pedro - El Bruto
...
Paloma
Rosa Arenas ...
Meche
Andrés Soler ...
Andrés Cabrera
Beatriz Ramos ...
Doña Marta
Paco Martínez ...
Don Pepe
Roberto Meyer ...
Carmelo González
Gloria Mestre ...
María
Paz Villegas ...
Mamá de María
José Muñoz ...
Lencho Ruíz
Diana Ochoa ...
Esposa de Lencho
Ignacio Villalbazo ...
Vecino
Joaquín Roche ...
Notario
Guillermo Bravo Sosa ...
El Cojo - Tío de María
Efraín Arauz ...
Vecino
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Storyline

In the 50's, in a poor community in Mexico, the landlord Andrés Cabrera wants to evict his tenants to demolish the buildings and sell the land by a large amount. However, the leader of the community Carmelo González resists to his attempts. Andrés hires the strong slaughterhouse worker Pedro El Bruto to intimidate the dwellers, and his wife Pamola sexually harasses Pedro. Pedro goes to the community in the night and he hits the weak Carmelo that has a bleed and dies. When Pedro meets Carmelo's daughter Meche, he falls in love with her and she moves to his house. But the jealous Paloma does not want to give up on Pedro. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A bika  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Unimaginative, or subversive?
25 August 2006 | by (Princeton, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

El Bruto is, quite simply, a melodrama in the literal sense; romantic music cues the romantic scenes, action music cues the violent scenes, etc. Moreover, the characters are introduced as stock archetypes and are mostly undeveloped; Don Andres the cruel capitalist, Meche the unassuming maid, Paloma the adulterous wife (Katy Juardo, in a performance that, looking back, boarders on misogynist in its hypocritical implications of female sexual aggression), and of course, Pedro, the beast turned from his wicked ways because of a good (looking?) woman.

The film follows an uninspired tale of eviction of tenants by Don Andres, and El Brudo - Pedro - is hired to rough em up, and stop those "revolutionaries" from stirring up trouble. Perhaps Bunuel was making a commentary about Franco's Spain with such references, but any analogy is lost in the mire of an all-too-predictable plot. The details are not really worth mentioning, on account of their banality.

What, then, saves this film from registering a 3 or worse on my scale? Well, while the film seems at first aggravatingly conventional, there are enough subversive digressions from the genre (beast-mollified-by-virtuous-beauty) that makes you rethink the point of the entire film. First of all, there's the matter of perspective - we are all used to seeing Film Noir heavies take the protagonist/troublemaker aside with a little "message" from the boss. This time, though, we are asked to sympathize with the heavy's side. Sure, it's been done elsewhere (The Godfather trilogy comes to mind), but not with, as in Armendariz's performance as Pedro, intensity reminiscent of Marlon Brando as Tennessee Williams' Stanley Kowalski.

Otherwise, a lingering question of motive remains. It is not a simple, beast-man changes his ways and saves the day story, because Pedro's motivation for change seems to be attraction to Meche, not benevolence towards the lowly tenants. Does that make him a selfish, animal man? Or does it actually reveal his humanity, above that of the loveless Don Andres and Paloma? In the end, Pedro doesn't change his nature, but a certain part of his nature - that of attraction - gets the better of him.

The final image of the film is also deliciously enigmatic: Paloma gazing - fearfully? anxiously? - at a dark hen that defies interpretation. Perhaps I missed a plot detail about that hen - was it the same one that was a gift from Pedro to Meche? then perhaps she is jealous - but more likely, it is a statement of rebellion against Paloma's otherwise static character type. She seems to be have been involved with some potent set pieces earlier (the flowers to be cut, representing tenants; the meat to be cut, representing the subtlety of seduction).

We are not meant to leave fully knowing or understanding either Paloma or Pedro (sadly, Meche remains 1-dimensional), and enough scenes are introduced that challenge our preconceptions about type characters that makes the story surprisingly compelling.


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