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The Living Idol (1957)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Mystery | 6 May 1958 (Mexico)
Several mysterious deaths are attributed to an ancient stone idol.


Albert Lewin (novel)




Complete credited cast:
Steve Forrest ... Terry Matthews
Liliane Montevecchi ... Juanita
James Robertson Justice ... Doctor Alfred Stoner
Sara García ... Elena
Eduardo Noriega ... Manuel


Several mysterious deaths are attributed to an ancient stone idol.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Amazing Adventure Beneath the Curse of the Jaguar God! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Mexico | USA



Release Date:

6 May 1958 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

El ídolo viviente See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Final film of Albert Lewin. See more »

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User Reviews

Jaguars and Aztecs and Love, oh my
1 December 2015 | by melvelvit-1See all my reviews

MGM stalwart Albert Lewin's last film is a bizarre romantic fantasy as lush and scenic as his PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, only twice as bonkers. "A girl's adventure in reincarnation" begins when her father's archaeological expedition discovers a jaguar idol in a secret chamber of an Aztec pyramid which so frightens Juanita (Liliane Montevecchi) she flees the ruins, getting blue smudges on her white dress in the process. Blue pigment is what the Aztecs painted their human sacrifices with so you know exactly where the movie's going from the get-go. After her father gets crushed by a stone monolith depicting the jaguar god devouring a human heart, she goes into an understandable funk and her worried fiancé (Steve Forrest) thinks marriage is the answer but the girl's new guardian, Dr. Alfred Stoner (!), is convinced the jaguar god has stolen her soul. In order to get it back, he befriends a jaguar ("the living idol") in a zoo, sets it free, and sics it on his ward...


Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE (Juanita mesmerized by a caged jaguar at the zoo) and THE LEOPARD MAN (said jungle cat prowling the night streets of Mexico City) were obvious influences only this time they get MGM gloss, Eastmancolor, and Cinemascope which also gives the film something of a colorful Mexican travelogue feel. I would have loved to have heard all of Dr. Stoner's university lecture on human sacrifice which still goes on in the form of capital punishment (with blindfolded Justice the latest goddess) and the subject obviously fascinated Lewin as well since he adapted his own novel. Filmed on location at Churubusco Azteca Studios, Mexican horror icon René Cardona is credited as assistant director and if THE LIVING IDOL had been made a few years before, MGM would no doubt have assigned it to Ava Gardner or even Lana Turner, who also visited "Leo The Lion La La Land" in THE PRODIGAL two years earlier. Instead we get ballet dancer Liliane Montevecchi who would later find real renown on Broadway but at this point, she's more-or-less another Anna Maria Alberghetti or Pier Angeli -and just as hard to understand. Rarely seen and a reel find for me but obviously mileage may vary. 8/10

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