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Uma Pulga na Balança (1953)

Swindler in jail devises a scheme of blackmailing the family of recently deceased people, threatening to tell supposedly incriminating facts about the dead man's life.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Waldemar Wey ... Dorival
Gilda Nery ... Dora
Geraldo José de Almeida
Vicente Leporace
José Rubens
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ruy Afonso
Geraldo Ambrosi
Francisco Arisa
Paulo Autran ... Antenor
Tito Livio Baccarin ... (as Tito Livio)
Jaime Barcellos
Maurício Barroso
Xandó Batista
Lola Brah ... Bibi
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Storyline

Swindler in jail devises a scheme of blackmailing the family of recently deceased people, threatening to tell supposedly incriminating facts about the dead man's life.

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Comedy

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Release Date:

15 April 1953 (Brazil)  »

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1.37 : 1
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References O Ébrio (1946) See more »

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A Flea on the Scales
9 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

Reading the former review "A great naive comedy of a nostalgic period of Brazilian society" I couldn't help laughing.

Yes, "Uma Pulga na Balança"(A Flea on the Scales) is a comedy, but as a comedy, it is weak, even if it has its moments (one of them, a long-winded speech delivered during a burial service). It is a story where most of the gags fall somewhat short. The film and its characters are likable, but this is not reason enough to really like it.

Turn off your reasoning faculties and prepare yourself to see a fairy tale dressed as reality. This film won't provide you with many laughs, its cinematography is just efficient - the only thing speaking for the film is that it is a period piece and its characters (as I mentioned above) are very likable.

"Uma Pulga na Balança" tells the story of a common thief, Dorival (Waldemar Wey), that creates a plan in which he, inside the prison walls, would be able to extort money from the rich (something that is in fashion in Brazilian prisons nowadays, but the rich are not the only victims). He succeeds to be arrested (he had to be in jail for his scheme to work). On the way to prison, he gets to know Dora (Gilda Nery) that will be his romantic interest in the film.

His plans work out quite well, but there will be a surprise in store for him. That's the reason for the title of the film "Uma Pulga na Balança" (A Flea on the Scales) - out of nowhere comes a flea and the scales of justice (or fate) tip.

But "Uma Pulga na Balança" is not so much concerned about fate - its intention is to be a good humored comedy. The film even "tries" its hand at social criticism, mildly satirizing social conventions and comparing high society, outside the prison walls, with the prisoners, inside. But overall, "Uma Pulga na Balança" is pretty tame, even for its time - Life in prison is a bed of roses, the prison guards are all good chaps. Everything is light and funny.

When the film ended I noticed that the story in itself had dramatic power. If the film had been directed by Vittorio de Sica (or Pietro Germi, for instance), comedy would have been enriched by drama and the characters and their environment would have been portrayed more realistically. Perhaps another masterpiece would have been born.

"Uma Pulga na Balança" could have used a fairy tale approach with comic touches, but the talent needed to make this kind of film is lacking here. What we have instead is a film that that takes place in the "real world" but is, in truth, a fairy tale with not much imagination and a comedy without many laughs. There are many better films in the genre. But you can see this period piece as a curiosity (especially if you are Brazilian and interested in the history of the Brazilian cinema).

All in all, it is a good film for a rainy night.


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