Like Emily Bronte in England only twenty years prior, Jorge Isaacs, a writer based on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, created and published in 1867 only one novel -- a tale of tragic romance -- that has become, like Bronte's, a classic of the Romantic movement in Latin America. Filmed twice before this most recent adaptation, this is the most known but hasn't been given the attention it deserves, possibly due to its unavailability on any format and its rare appearance on Spanish-speaking channels on any late night, once in a blue moon. Tito Davidson's version of Isaacs' "Maria" isn't the great adaptation it might have been due to its clunky, often stiff presentation marked by performances that on occasion veer a little too close to telenovela sensibility. Even so, it's worth a view -- for those aware of Latin American literature, for both Taryn Power's luminous young looks, and Fernando Allende's dark intensity and masculine presence that might have made a formidable actor out of him had he stayed away from the telenovela medium and grade-F, direct-to-video movies.
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