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Death of a Cyclist (1955)

Muerte de un ciclista (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 27 August 1955 (Italy)
A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed.

Director:

(as J.A. Bardem)

Writers:

(as J.A. Bardem), (as L.F. de Igoa)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
María José de Castro (as Lucia Bose)
Alberto Closas ...
Juan Fernández Soler
Bruna Corrà ...
Matilde Luque Carvajal (as Bruna Corra)
Carlos Casaravilla ...
Rafael Sandoval dicho Rafa
Otello Toso ...
Miguel Castro
Alicia Romay ...
Carmina
Julia Delgado Caro ...
Doña Maria
Matilde Muñoz Sampedro ...
Vecina del ciclista muerto
Mercedes Albert ...
Cristina
José Sepúlveda ...
Comisario (as Jose Sepulveda)
José Prada ...
Decano (as Jose Prada)
Fernando Sancho ...
Sargento policía tráfico
Manuel Alexandre ...
Ciclista
Jacinto San Emeterio ...
Joaquín
Manuel Arbó ...
Padre Iturrioz (as Manuel Arbo)
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Storyline

Juan is an academic, his career stalled, teaching at the university because of his brother-in-law's prestige. María José is a socialite, married to wealth, bored but attached to her comforts. The two are lovers. On an isolated country road, their car strikes a cyclist; fearing exposure, they leave him to die. Distracted, Juan unjustly fails a student. Rafa, a bitter savant in their social circle, hints that he knows something, and he threatens to expose them to María José's husband, Miguel. Miguel's pride may be the lovers' best hope. Then Juan proposes a solution. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1955 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Age of Infidelity  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 19524 delivered on 24-8-1955. See more »

Goofs

A cameraman's hand is visible in the back seat when Maria Jose is alone in the car towards the end. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cuando Franco murió, yo tenía 30 años (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jardem's diatribe against the decaying and morally-corrupted upper-class of Spain under Franco's dictatorship
19 June 2016 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

Spanish writer-director J.A. Bardem's (yes, he was the uncle of Javier Bardem from maternal side) guilty conscience drama stars Italian belle Lucia Bosé as Maria Jose, a young woman who is married with a rich husband Miguel (Toso), but on the quiet, she rekindles the affair with her old flame Juan (Closas), who is stuck in a job as a university's adjunct professor, which he doesn't like, by dint of nepotism which he also consciously detests.

In the stark opening shots, we see a cyclist insouciantly riding out of the low-hanging frame, then a vintage car rushes from the opposite side, and it abruptly stops, viewers don't directly witness the accident, it is Maria Jose, who is in the driver's seat with Juan riding the shotgun, they are heading back to the city from their regular tryst, and manifestly, Bardem informs us Juan is the one, whose conscience encourages him to rescue the still-breathing cyclist, but Maria Jose, in a classic femme fatale mold, simply nips the idea with her dour look and both leave hurriedly from the scene, hoping that they haven't been seen by any curious onlookers.

Lucky for them, it turns out nobody witnesses the accident (claims by the newspaper), the cyclist died, but paranoia starts to gnaw at the two lovers, a slimy art critic Rafa (Casaravilla), a frequent guest of upper-class parties which Maria Jose and Miguel often hang out at, or sometimes host, sneakily suggests that he has seen and known something despicable between Maria Jose and Juan, which drastically pesters a high-strung Maria Jose; while Juan, distracted by the escalating guilt, one-sidedly halts the exam of a student Matilde (Corrà), which eventually stimulates a mass protest from the students, yet, on a brighter side, it reignites Juan's derailed moral sense, he prepares to convince Maria Jose to turn themselves in for the crime, but, is she ready to give up all the glittering trappings of an affluent marriage? The reactions to the opening accident presage the film's finale, regardless, they must pay for their misdeeds, Jardem will use whatever comes handy to let poetic justice reign in the upshot.

It seems that subtlety and rhetoric is not Jardem's strongest suit, adorned by a neorealism- inspired efficiency and highly expressive close-ups to follow the characters' movements and actors' (sometimes hammy, I'm not referring to you Mr. Casaravilla) delivery, the film sticks to a conventional and even somewhat stiff narrative arc without intricacy to animate the pair's doomed downward spiral (admittedly, my eyelids were struggling for separation in the scenes where Juan experiences a facile epiphany), a doe-eyed Closas and an over-mature Bosé cry out for the potency of their professed affection, which should've made the denouement more poignant. Overall, DEATH OF A CYCLIST stings as Jardem's diatribe against the decaying and morally- corrupted upper-class of Spain under Franco's dictatorship, only it seems a shade stilted from the eyes of a today's first-time viewer.


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