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The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955)

Ensayo de un crimen (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 19 May 1955 (Mexico)
The delirious journey of a mental disordered man, who is obsessed in making the perfect crime.


Luis Buñuel


Luis Buñuel (screenplay & adaptation), Eduardo Ugarte (screenplay & adaptation) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Miroslava ... Lavinia
Ernesto Alonso ... Archibaldo de la Cruz
Rita Macedo ... Patricia Terrazas
Ariadne Welter Ariadne Welter ... Carlota Cervantes (as Ariadna Welter)
Andrea Palma ... Mrs. Cervantes
Rodolfo Landa Rodolfo Landa ... Alejandro Rivas
José María Linares-Rivas ... Willy Corduran (as J.M. Linares Rivas)
Leonor Llausás ... The Governess
Eva Calvo Eva Calvo ... Señora de la Cruz, Archibaldo's mother
Enrique Díaz Indiano Enrique Díaz Indiano ... Señor de la Cruz, Archibaldo's father (as Enrique Indiano)
Carlos Riquelme ... The Commissioner
Chabela Durán Chabela Durán ... Sister Trinidad
Carlos Martínez Baena Carlos Martínez Baena ... Priest (as Carlos M. Baena)
Manuel Dondé ... Colonel at wedding
Armando Velasco Armando Velasco ... Judge


With a strange and powerful obsession stemming from a pampered childhood during the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution, the affluent bachelor and suave ceramist, Archibaldo de la Cruz, oscillates effortlessly between fantasy and reality, desire and hallucination. Compelled to taste again and again the delicious fruit of depravity that triggers an intense dark satisfaction, Archibaldo won't shy away from using one of his many shave-ready straight razors, bent on going to great lengths to quench his lust. Undoubtedly, death encircles the scheming Archibaldo, and the targets are always innocent women; however, is he truly capable of murder? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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 »


Referenced in Bunuel and King Solomon's Table (2001) See more »

User Reviews

"I'll give you that joy..."
31 March 2004 | by Ben_CheshireSee all my reviews

I disagree with another reviewer who said this movie is not interesting to watch. I've seen Los Olivados, El Angel Exterminador, L'Age D'Or and Un Chien Andalou and i thought Archibaldo matched up well alongside them. I found it both interesting/sensual/compelling and with interesting meaning.

"The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz" begins with a childhood memory of Archibaldo's governess making up a myth about Archibaldo's new music box, to distract him from misbehaving: "The King compelled (his Queen) to look at him, but she lowered her eyes, and the King took it as a sign of guilt. Without a second thought he opened up the little music box and immediately the queen was struck dead." As she is telling this story, and gets to the part of the Queen looking down, Archibaldo's governess looks down. Once she finishes, she hears gunfire outside (there is a revolution going on), and goes to the window to look at it. Archibaldo immediately desires to open the music box, with his governess in mind, and at that same moment a stray bullet from the fighting in the street breaks through the window and kills the governess.

We cut to Archibaldo telling this story to a Nun, who dismisses his childhood memory, "I think you like to pass yourself off as being wicked." She leaves the room, and Archibaldo retrieves a flick-knife from his drawer. When she returns, he is standing by the door.

Archibaldo: You always want to be in the good graces of god? Well, then, wouldn't you be glad to die since it means eternal bliss? Nun: Of course... but why? Archibaldo: (pause) I'll give you that joy.

Archibaldo de la Cruz is a fascinating look into the meaning of the label "criminal." I believe you need to go into a Bunuel movie not having heard too much about it, to get full enjoyment out of it, so i won't say anything else, just commend it to you. If you've never seen a Bunuel movie, i would start with El Angel Exterminador, then you'll be hooked and won't be able to keep from checking this and others out.

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Release Date:

19 May 1955 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz See more »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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