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A Woman Without Love (1952)

Una mujer sin amor (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 31 July 1952 (Mexico)
After indulging in an affair with a man (a friend of the family) she truly loves, a woman returns to her young son and husband for good, and loses contact with the man. Her husband is ... See full summary »


Luis Buñuel


Guy de Maupassant (novel), Jaime Salvador (adaptation) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview:
Rosario Granados ... Rosario
Tito Junco ... Julio Mistral
Julio Villarreal ... Don Carlos Montero
Joaquín Cordero ... Carlos
Xavier Loyá ... Miguel (as Javier Loya)
Elda Peralta ... Luisa
Jaime Calpe Jaime Calpe ... Carlitos
Eva Calvo Eva Calvo ... Rita, enfermera
Miguel Manzano ... Doctor


After indulging in an affair with a man (a friend of the family) she truly loves, a woman returns to her young son and husband for good, and loses contact with the man. Her husband is unaware of the affair. Twenty years later, there is news that the friend has died and left all of his money to the younger son in the family, which leads us to question this younger son's biological origin... Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Luis Buñuel considered this the worst film he had ever made. See more »


Version of Pierre and Jean (1943) See more »

User Reviews

A WOMAN WITHOUT LOVE (Luis Bunuel, 1952) **1/2
17 October 2010 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This wholly typical Mexican melodrama is a modernization of Guy de Maupassant's "Pierre and Jean" which had already been filmed, straightforwardly, by Andre' Cayatte in 1943. Tellingly, Luis Bunuel dismisses it as his worst film in his celebrated memoirs, "My Last Breath"; although I disagree with him myself and nominate his musical comedy GRAN CASINO (1947) for that dubious honor, it is hard to argue that it is the least Bunuelian (and, reportedly, the most Mexican) of all his films! Strangely – for a Bunuel film of this period – it is also technically flawless, with high production values, notable sets and lush cinematography; in fact, I would go on to say that A WOMAN WITHOUT LOVE is never dull and most lesser directors would be proud to call this film their best work!

Although we have here yet another improbable happy ending here (relatively speaking), it has none of the underlying parodic intent of SUSANA (1951) and is meant to be taken at face value. What is ironic, on the other hand, is the fate that befalls the titular character: a beautiful young woman, married to a much older man, falls in love with a handsome engineer but, for the love of her son and ailing husband, selflessly sacrifices her own happiness – only to be branded a wanton woman by her contemptuous older son (through whose absence as a kid she had met her lover in the first place) when it becomes clear that his younger brother was the fruit of that illicit affair! Given that the older son's relationship with his stern father was hardly a friendly one anyhow, what irks him is not his younger brother's new-found inheritance (which the latter is more than willing to share) or that he had also stolen his girlfriend/colleague – but the knowledge that his mother had been sexually active with another man during wedlock! Thus, he turns into an embittered misogynist taking out his ire on his sister-in-law, another lustful colleague he used to pursue in happier times and, especially, his brokenhearted mother. Besides, it is significant that while the mother's lover had been an industrious engineer, her elderly husband was a tightfisted antiquarian; even so, it is the former who dies young while the latter (forever on the brink of collapsing from a heart attack) survives him by many years – until dying, of all days, after one final confrontation with the older son (and one drink too many) at the wedding reception of his other son and, it should be noted, before ever finding out about his wife's infidelity!

One of the unheralded pleasures of watching these modest movies from Bunuel's Mexican period back-to-back is recognizing the actors from one film to the next; therefore we have here Rosario Granados (as the mother; she was also in 1949's THE GREAT MADCAP), Tito Junco (as the engineer; he would later appear in both DEATH IN THE GARDEN [1956] and THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL [1962]), Julio Villareal (as the husband; he was also in GRAN CASINO), Joaquin Cordero (playing the older son; he was later to star in 1955's THE RIVER AND DEATH) and Javier Loya' (in the role of the younger son; he was not only in the director's earlier DAUGHTER OF DECEIT [1951], but would go on to appear in THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL).

Although A WOMAN WITHOUT LOVE has, somewhat surprisingly, been given a R1 DVD release, I opted to acquire the film through alternative channels – a decision I now rather regret since my copy was intermittently plagued with instances of garbled sound! By the way, I do not know if it was intentional or not but, when Jeanne Bunuel (the Spanish film-maker's French widow) issued her own autobiography which, reportedly, was occasionally unflattering to her husband, she chose to give it a similar title to the film under review i.e. "Memoirs Of A Woman Without A Piano"!

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Release Date:

31 July 1952 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

A Woman Without Love See more »


Box Office

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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