When thinking about the Mexican movies brought north of the border by K. Gordon Murray we tend to think of EL VAMPIRO, INVASION OF THE VAMPIRES, the NOSTRADMUS series and so forth. Here is a haunted house comedy starring Antonio Espino, a/k/a Clavillazo that is surprisingly funny. You know right away we cannot take the plot seriously when we find out the name of the heroine is "Mercedes Benz Rattington" and not much later Clavillazo pops up as a detective so bumbling he makes Stan Laurel look like a genius. The plot, oh yes there's a plot, involves a bunch of greedy relative getting together for the reading of a rich mans will. They all have to live in his scary mansion for three days and on the third day they can search for his hidden fortune. Meanwhile there is a phantom in a red cloak (at least everyone says it's a red cloak, the movie is black and white so it looks like a grey cloak to me!) sneaking around through the secret passageways that all spooky houses have in movies and sticking daggers into peoples backs. Still this is a comedy so everyone who gets killed has it coming to them. There is a happy ending and a final surprise that you probably won't be expecting. Performances are good and the dialogue is priceless. One exchange between the heroine and the chauffeur is great:
Mercedes: I have a limousine?
Chauffeur: Yes, with 400 horses.
Mercedes: I abhor horses. They'll have to go.
Chauffeur: It's horsepower I'm talking about.
Mercedes: The car is pulled by horses? I thought it was
Chauffeur: Let's forget the whole thing.
Other classic lines include "God will forgive you, even though you're a lawyer." and too many others to repeat here. Clavillazo is funny but I do wish historians would stop comparing him to Buster Keaton, there is no similarity in style. Foreign comedies are not usually well received because many of the jokes don't translate well but here is a rare exception that is most enjoyable. It's hard to find on video but it IS out there so give it a try.
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