A husband's suave exterior unravels after his marriage, and he unleashes his paranoid and volatile temper on his wife, which escalate to more dangerous and unpredictable tantrums.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arturo de Córdova ...
Francisco Galván de Montemayor
Delia Garcés ...
Gloria Vilalta
Aurora Walker ...
Doña Esperanza Vilalta
Carlos Martínez Baena ...
Padre Velasco
Manuel Dondé ...
Pablo
Rafael Banquells ...
Ricardo Luján
Fernando Casanova ...
Lic. Beltrán
José Pidal ...
Padre prior
Roberto Meyer ...
Licenciado
Luis Beristáin ...
Raúl Conde
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Storyline

Francisco is rich, rather strict on principles, and still a bachelor. After meeting Gloria by accident, he is suddenly intent on her becoming his wife and courts her until she agrees to marry him. Francisco is a dedicated husband, but little by little his passion starts to exhibit disturbing traits. Nevertheless, Gloria meets with scepticism as she expresses her worries to their acquaintances. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Another film masterpiece by the director of the prize-winning "The Young and the Damned"

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Drama | Thriller

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

9 July 1953 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

This Strange Passion  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel makes a cameo appearance as one of the monks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bunuel and King Solomon's Table (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

EL (1952)/THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ (1955) - Films Sans Frontieres DVD Review
13 June 2004 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Following your advice, I recently 'relented' to buying from Alapage the two Luis Bunuel Double-Feature discs released in France by Film Sans Frontieres. After watching them in their entirety, I cannot believe that I, who consider Bunuel my all-time favorite director and one of the true masters of the medium, have waited this long to acquire these DVDs. Actually while Alapage listed these DVDs at EUR25.73 on their site, they only cost me EUR21.51 each (excluding EUR12 shipping charges). So, if there is still anybody who has not purchased them yet, now may be the time to do so!

Since I had never watched EL (1952) before, it was the first one to go through my DVD player. It was a chilling parable of an insanely jealous middle-aged man played with acute intensity by Arturo De Cordova. It afforded Bunuel ample opportunity to make practical use of overt Freudian symbolism without lending the film a heavy-handed air of pretentiousness. While there are some critics who consider it as merely 'an engaging, minor work', I regard it as being among Bunuel's finest; arguably, with this film, Bunuel reached the culmination of his work in Mexico, but it also looks forward to similar sequences and themes he would tackle later on in his career, especially TRISTANA (1970) and, his last film, THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977).

EL was beautifully abetted by another of his low-budget Mexican films, the great black comedy THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ (1955). Again, critical reception was a bit muted in some circles, dismissing it as 'just a throwaway oddity' typical of Bunuel's films of the period. However, it is much more than that: it is certainly very funny if you can accept its macabre sense of humor. It allowed Bunuel to create some of the most memorable images in all of his films, especially the celebrated dummy incineration scene, which could have been "inspired" by a similar scene in Michael Curtiz's marvelous MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933) which Bunuel must have seen while working at Warner Bros. in the Thirties. A similar instance of this eclectic approach on Bunuel's part can be found in the "walking hand" sequence in his THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1962) - one of my favorite Bunuels - which harks back to an identical premise in Robert Florey's THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (1946), another Warner Bros. horror melodrama. For me, one of the enduring assets of THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ is the charm and great beauty that was Miroslava Stern (who played the part of Lavinia and was the model for the ill-fated dummy). Tragically, she would take her own life a mere two weeks after the film's release with her body, ironically enough, ending up cremated!

Both the print utilized and the transfer for both films were adequate enough, and perfectly acceptable under the circumstances. However, EL's overall visual and aural qualities where distinctly superior to those of ARCHIBALDO which suffered from excessive specks and slight audio dropouts at times, but were never so alarming as to dispel from one's viewing pleasure of the film.


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