The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955)
"Ensayo de un crimen" (original title)

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Reviews: 15 user | 27 critic

The delirious journey of a mental disordered man, who is obsessed in making the perfect crime.



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A partial retelling of Wuthering Heights in 19th century Mexico.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Irasema Dilián, Jorge Mistral, Lilia Prado


Complete credited cast:
Miroslava ...
Ernesto Alonso ...
Archibaldo de la Cruz
Rita Macedo ...
Patricia Terrazas
Ariadna Welter ...
Carlota Cervantes
Andrea Palma ...
Mrs. Cervantes
Rodolfo Landa ...
Alejandro Rivas
José María Linares-Rivas ...
Willy Corduran (as J.M. Linares Rivas)
Leonor Llausás ...
The Governess
Eva Calvo ...
Señora de la Cruz, Archibaldo's mother
Enrique Díaz 'Indiano' ...
Señor de la Cruz, Archibaldo's father (as Enrique Indiano)
Carlos Riquelme ...
The Commissioner
Chabela Durán ...
Sister Trinidad
Carlos Martínez Baena ...
Priest (as Carlos M. Baena)
Manuel Dondé ...
Colonel at wedding
Armando Velasco ...


A bizarre black comedy about a man whose overwhelming ambition in life is to be a renowned serial killer of women, and will stop at nothing to achieve it - but not everything goes according to plan... Written by Michael Brooke <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama





Release Date:

19 May 1955 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Luis Buñuel and Rodolfo Usigli worked on a screenplay together but in less than 2 weeks their ways departed because Usigli didn't want any changes made to his novel and Buñuel wasn't interested in some elements of it and would drop them. See more »


Featured in Regarding Buñuel (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Not all that glitters in Buñuel is gold
11 June 2007 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

Adapted from a mediocre novel by Mexican playwright Rodolfo Usigli (gladly the only one he wrote) "Ensayo de un Crimen" gathers several of the worst cinematographic moments issued from such an uneven filmmaker as Luis Buñuel. Its many clumsy aspects are generously distributed on all areas of its making: there is not a single actor that can deliver his/her lines without sounding like your average end-of-semester College play. The scenery and decor are elementary and full of anachronisms. To mention just one, in the initial flashback Archibaldo (as a young child) is playing in the 20's with a Lionel train from the 40-50's! Buñuel's directing job is plainly bad, even if he tries to embellish it with a couple of his famous "oniric" sequences that just don't work here.

Maybe the worst part of all is the script. There's not a single line that doesn't sound corny and forced. Here's to those who watched the film with the benefit of translated subtitles or dubbed into a foreign language: I envy you. In Spanish, the dialogs are plainly awful.

However, the most remarkable feature is the enormous amount of praise this unholy stinker has received during its 50 years of existence! Undoubtedly this shows that to most moviegoers and critics -moviegoers of the Summa cum Laude species, I guess- suppose that the sole name of a famous filmmaker must mean you're watching a work of art.

To this I must add that practically none of the movies that Buñuel filmed during his stay in Mexico is a true masterpiece. Even the celebrated "Los Olvidados" is sadly marred by an unabashed pamphlet scene extolling the social merits of the Juvenile Delinquent re-adaptation centers issued from the government of President Cárdenas. Maybe Buñuel considered necessary giving a little lick to the hand that was feeding him at the moment...

5 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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