7.6/10
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13 user 9 critic

Aventurera (1950)

| Drama, Musical | 1951 (USA)
Left alone after her mother runs off with another man and her father kills himself, Elena attempts to make a new life for herself in a new city. Believing he's a friend, Elena goes to ... See full summary »

Director:

Alberto Gout

Writers:

Álvaro Custodio (story), Álvaro Custodio (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ninón Sevilla ... Elena Tejero / Elena Montez
Tito Junco ... Lucio Sáenz / El Guapo
Andrea Palma ... Rosaura de Cervera
Rubén Rojo ... Mario Cervera
Miguel Inclán ... Rengo
Jorge Mondragón Jorge Mondragón ... Pacomio Rodríguez
Maruja Grifell Maruja Grifell ... Consuelo Tejero
Luis López Somoza ... Ricardo Cervera
María Gentil Arcos ... Petra, Rosaura's maid
Miguel Manzano ... El Rana
Pedro Vargas ... Self - Singer
Ana María González Ana María González ... Self - Singer
Arturo Soto Ureña Arturo Soto Ureña ... (as Arturo Soto Urena)
Los Panchos ... Themselves - Musicians (as Trío Los Panchos)
Los Angeles del Infierno Los Angeles del Infierno ... Themselves - Orchestra
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Storyline

Left alone after her mother runs off with another man and her father kills himself, Elena attempts to make a new life for herself in a new city. Believing he's a friend, Elena goes to dinner with "Pretty Boy" Lucio, but he drugs her champagne and sells her to Rosaura, who runs a brothel out of her nightclub. Elena becomes a sensation as a dancer, but all the while she nurtures plans of revenge against those who have conspired against her. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Century of Cinema: Cinema of Tears (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Chiquita Bacana
(dance music)
Choreographed by Ninón Sevilla
Danced by Ninón Sevilla
See more »

User Reviews

 
She shakes her maracas
31 December 2002 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

I'm intrigued by the distinctive film genres which evolve among the world's cultures. Germany developed the 'mountain film' genre, in which a male hero (or sometimes two male rivals) will achieve greater self-knowledge high up in the mountains, in the presence of a beautiful Aryan woman who embodies the earth-spirit. Mexico developed the 'wrestling mummy' movie genre, about which the less said the better. But Mexico is also the home of the 'cabaretera' genre of movie musical, in which a beautiful young woman is caught between a soap-opera plot line and elaborate floor numbers set in a nightclub. The 1950 film 'Aventurera' ('adventuress') is the best of the cabaretera films, and it's delightful ... it's hokey and implausible, but in a very enjoyable way.

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT. Lovely young Cuban actress/dancer Ninón Sevilla stars as Elena, a virginal (but gorgeous blonde) Mejicana who is utterly devoted to her father. When Papa learns that his wife (Elena's mother) is unfaithful, he shoots himself. Elena abandons her villainous mother, and goes off to Mexico City to seek her fortune.

She meets a handsome young man named Lucio who offers to protect her, and who immediately takes her to meet a domineering woman named Rosaura who offers Elena a cup of tea ... which turns out to be drugged. Lucio and Rosaura are 'white slavers' who plan to force Elena to use her body for their profit ... but it's not what you'd expect. Instead of prostitution, they force her to perform as the star of a cabaret act! Elena's cabaret numbers are campy, but I was relieved that they never quite sink to the Carmen Miranda level. (I despise Carmen Miranda.) The musical numbers are impressively staged, on a large budget, and are enjoyable in their own right... all with a Latin beat. The title song, a gentle ballad sung by a male soloist accompanied by Spanish guitar, is wistful and haunting.

Eventually Elena escapes from the nightclub. She meets a handsome and wealthy young man who wants to marry her, but first he takes her home to meet his extremely respectable dowager mother ... who turns out to be Rosaura the madame! There is some witty dialogue here. Rosaura (in her second guise) offers a cup of tea to Elena, who replies: 'I had some once. I didn't like it.'

Although the plot line is outrageous, it's also extremely predictable ... because (except for her dead dad) every major character whom Elena meets in the first half of the movie turns up 'unexpectedly' in the second half of the film, so eventually these 'unexpected' appearances become very expected indeed. At one point late in the film, as Elena walked back to her hotel room, I found myself thinking: 'Lucio hasn't come back yet: it's just about time for him to escape from prison and come looking for Elena.' Just as I thought this, Elena walked into her room and switched on the light. Guess who's sitting there.

'Aventurera' has some very strong 'noir' elements. Except for Elena and her father, every major character in this movie is unsympathetic. Based on the worldview depicted here, almost all women are treacherous ... and almost all men are criminals and perverts who exploit women. Interestingly, the sleaziest character in this movie is also one of the very few sympathetic characters. This is a filthy little toad-like derelict named El Rana, who has a talent for throwing knives. He attaches himself to Elena and follows her about pathetically. His appearance and behaviour suggest a stereotypical pervert, but his interest in Elena really seems to arise from dog-like affection rather than lust. At the end of the film, El Rana murders Lucio with a well-placed 'cuchillo', then he watches approvingly from the shadows as Elena goes off to seek a better life for herself. It's clear that this strange little man's interest in Elena is unselfish, and that he realises he's unworthy of her.

I'll rate 'Aventurera' 8 out of 10. Its depiction of life in Mexico is wildly unrealistic, yet it still provides an interesting view of Mexican culture ... because this is the sort of story that many Mexican filmgoers want to see.


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Details

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Maison de rendez-vous See more »

Filming Locations:

Chihuahua, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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