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El bruto (1953)

| Drama | 1955 (USA)
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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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pedro - El Bruto
...
Paloma
Rosita Arenas ...
Meche (as Rosa Arenas)
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 (as G. Bravo Sosa)
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:

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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

 
THE BRUTE (Luis Bunuel, 1953) ***
16 January 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Although this is definitely a minor Bunuel – being pretty much a straightforward melodrama, with little of the expected subtext – it is still well-made and acted and undeniably entertaining; as opposed to most of his Mexican work, there have been two R1 DVD releases of the film from Cozumel (the first to be released and the one I immediately purchased) and, more recently, Facets. THE BRUTE also provided the director with a rare chance to work with popular Mexican actors who, like EL (1953)'s Arturo De Cordova soon after, already had established reputations in Hollywood – though it is safe to assume that Pedro Armendariz would never again be so rugged nor Katy Jurado so earthy as in their sole film for Luis Bunuel!

As I said, the plot is simple: wealthy but ageing businessman Andres Soler wants to sell a property currently leased to numerous poor families; he presents them with an eviction notice but, through the instigation of a few headstrong tenants, they unanimously refuse to vacate the premises and almost assault their landlord for what they consider his inhumanity and greediness! Arriving home with his pride broken, he does not elicit sympathy from his much younger and determined wife (an altogether startling turn by Jurado, who walked off with a Silver Ariel award for Best Supporting Actress!) but she instantly suggests, metaphorically, that he simply get rid of the opposition and, to this end, Soler hires a brawny but slow-witted slaughterhouse worker nicknamed "Bruto" (Armendariz).

The latter's first attempt at intimidation, even if he had even hardly touched the man, results in tragedy (due to the victim's weak physical condition); for this reason, Soler shelters him in his own house, where the boss' hilariously doddering and cantankerous, yet mischievous, father (played by 81-year old Paco Martinez) also resides; the elderly man's shtick – his uniquely doddering walk on the way to procure himself some candy behind his son's back, his constant muttering of the would-be swear word "Pugnales" and even licking tequila off of his daughter-in-law's little finger – is a source of much amusement throughout the film. Bruto's defection to the Soler household liberates him from the oppression in his own home which he shares with his live-in girlfriend and her family of 'leeches': a bed-ridden, perennially expiring but chain-smoking would-be-mother-in-law; her own lame brother who badmouths her at every turn; her ingrate and unemployed son who only visits to fleece the relief money, etc.! Before long, Jurado turns her attentions to Bruto – who is unable to resist her; in fact, the sexual tension the film displays in their clandestine encounters must have been an eye-opener for its time (certainly when compared with the Hollywoodian standard).

Further plot complications arise when the residents try to teach Armendariz a lesson and, injured by a nail driven through his shoulder(!), he stumbles into the hovel where the daughter (called Meche, just like the milk-bathing girl in Bunuel's LOS OLVIDADOS [1950]) of his own earlier victim has been living; she unselfishly looks after him, and he finds himself falling for the girl (a young Rosita Arenas, later star of such classic Mexi-Horror titles as THE WITCH'S CURSE [1960] and THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN [1961]). This turn-of-events – which anticipates Marlon Brando's fate in Elia Kazan's Oscar-laden classic ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) – obviously jeopardizes Bruto's relationship with Jurado and, after she confronts the younger woman and Armendariz gives the boss' wife a piece of his mind in the only way he knows how, the rejected mistress informs her clueless husband that Bruto had raped her!

All of which leads first to a tete-a'-tete between the landlord and his thug, which leaves the former with a broken back and his face smashed in (again, it was unusual to depict violence in such an unflinching manner back then) and, eventually, Bruto's own demise in a hail of bullets when he is cornered by the Police (led to him by Jurado herself); curiously enough, there are some who hold the view that THE BRUTE is Bunuel's retelling of the Frankenstein tale in a modernized socio-political key but, frankly, it did not strike me that way – after all, the creator did not intend his creature to do his evil bidding! Anyhow, Arenas had grown fond of Armendariz in spite of herself and she lies by his side as he expires but, tellingly, the film's last shot sticks with his other jilted lover – Jurado now left all alone and probably gone off her rocker Tennessee Williams-style as she glares defiantly at a rooster believing it is making fun of her!


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