Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gran Casino (aka En el viejo Tampico)

Dismissed by the Mexican public, critical posterity and even Buñuel himself, the first film of his Mexican sojourn isn’t terribly good, but it has its moments. The opening jail-cell sing-song with the pop-up Trío Calaveras bodes well, and the casino setting affords some diverting numbers (including a bizarre interlude in full Scottish dress..) but the wit is absent for long stretches, the staging and camerawork are undynamic even by his standards, and the plot (salt-of-the-earth oilmen oppressed by haut bourgeois capitalists) remains woefully underexploited. Buñuel hadn’t been behind a camera for ten years and the suitably ironic upshot is that recognition here of his own technical shortcomings led directly to his adopting the careful simplicity that would serve him so well for the rest of his career.

d Luis Buñuel p Óscar Dancigers sc Mauricio Magdaleno ph Jack Draper ed Gloria Schoemann ad Javier Torres Torija m Manuel Esperón cast Jorge Negrete, Libertad Lamarque, Meche Barba, Augustín Isunza, Julio Villareal, José Baviera, Alfonso Bedoya, Francisco Jambrina, Fernande Albany, Trío Calaveras
(1947, Mex, 92m, b/w)
posted by tom newth at

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