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.

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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?


The movie was shot in the middle of a big economic crisis for the Mexican cinema. Production was about to be shot down a few times and the famous scene with the mannequin being cremated was filmed only once because they couldn't afford another mannequin. See more »


Featured in Regarding Buñuel (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

One of Bunuel's top works
23 January 2003 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Perhaps my favorite of Buñuel's Mexican years. As a child, Archibaldo de la Cruz willed the death of his young, sexy nanny through the device of a magical music box. As an adult, he finds this box at a pawn shop, and it awakens the exciting feelings he had as he stood over the corpse of his nanny checking out her exposed thigh. He decides to become a serial killer, but it never quite works out that way. Every person he sets out to kill ends up being murdered by another's hand. Actually, I shouldn't say "person," as Archibaldo's violent emotions only arise towards women. There is some heavy Catholic symbology to the picture, and the violence towards women obviously arises from the twisted mores of Catholicism. His first intended victim as an adult, for example, is a brazen tramp who openly expresses her wish to seduce him to get back at her husband. Buñuel had perhaps the most impeccable sense for creating finales, and the one here is as odd and remarkable as any other. Watch the two actions Archibaldo performs with his cane. I'm not 100% sure what they signify, but I know that must be of the utmost importance. Ensayo de un crimen should be watched back to back with Buñuel's 1953 film, Él, also about a man being driven insane over his wife because of his strict religious beliefs. 10/10.

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