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Illusion Travels by Streetcar (1954)
"La ilusión viaja en tranvía" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Adventure | Drama  -  1954 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 719 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 7 critic

Confronted with the unfortunate news that their favorite Streetcar, no. 133, is going to be decommissioned, two Municipal Transit workers get drunk and decide to "take 'er for one last spin... See full summary »

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Title: Illusion Travels by Streetcar (1954)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lilia Prado ...
Lupita
Carlos Navarro ...
Juan Godínez 'Caireles'
Fernando Soto ...
Tobías Hernández 'Tarrajas' (as Fernando Soto 'Mantequilla')
Agustín Isunza ...
Papá Pinillos
Miguel Manzano ...
Don Manuel
Guillermo Bravo Sosa ...
Don braulio
José Pidal ...
El Profesor
Felipe Montoya ...
Mecánico
Javier de la Parra ...
Benítez
Paz Villegas ...
Doña Mechita
Conchita Gentil Arcos ...
Pasajera con santo
Diana Ochoa ...
Maestra del internado
Víctor Alcocer ...
Acaparador de maíz
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Storyline

Confronted with the unfortunate news that their favorite Streetcar, no. 133, is going to be decommissioned, two Municipal Transit workers get drunk and decide to "take 'er for one last spin," as it were. Unfortunately, the "one last spin" ends up being an all-night and all-day scramble to stay out of trouble, as they are confronted with situation after sometimes bizarre situation that prevents them from returning the "borrowed" Streetcar! Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

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1954 (USA)  »

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Illusion Travels by Streetcar  »

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Heartfelt, enjoyable comedy
1 December 2007 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

I have the most respect for Bunuel's Mexican period. It is during those years that he directed what is in my opinion his masterpiece, after Un Chien Andalou, that is Los Olvidados. Unlike the pessimistic nature of that movie that seems to say Mexican life ruins itself from the inside, La ilusion viaja en tranvia looks almost like a Fellini movie in being understanding of people's idiosyncrasies. As a movie you shouldn't expect much, the purpose of the film when it was created was merely to entertain, Bunuel didn't get much out of these films, neither financially nor in terms of recognition. The fact that Subida al Cielo was nominated for the Cannes awards left me quite puzzled at some point. As entertainment this movie works pretty well even now, and I don;t think that people watching this could get bored at any point.

The real virtue of the film, although, lies in the image it gives us of the Mexican life in the mid fifties. I mean why would anyone actually watch such a movie today, after more than half a century. This is a "piece of evidence" showing us what Mexico looked like back then, it was interesting for me to see the people, clothes, cars, general poverty and occasional richness, the street lighting etc.

The funniest scene of the film, if I got it right, I think was the one when one of the characters accidentally makes the acquaintance of some smugglers that were transporting corn in bags disguised to look like fertilizer made in the U.S.A. Think for a moment: American fertilizer imported by Mexico given its hyperinflation?!... Now that's funny! The best part is that even if you could "read" this movie as being essentially leftist, Bunuel does manage to keep a balance between justice the worker's cause and their impotence in doing anything for it. Unlike Wajda's A Generation (a movie also dealing with the worker's condition and their need to rebel) released the next year, Buneul is never overtly Marxist and there are moments when I almost tend to think he is criticizing the idea of people's rebellion.

The script is good, the actors do a fairly good job, especially Agustin Isunza who interprets a character who dedicated his whole life for the company and is frustrated at seeing the tram "stolen" by a bunch of newcomers. Lilia Prado is even prettier than two years back in Subida al Cielo. Plenty of stuff to be enjoyed here 8/10


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