28 April 2014 | EdgarST
This is an absurdist drama beyond belief in which a Mexican bandit (in the line of Robin Hood) fights Nazi collaborators hidden in a big hacienda, out in the Mexican countryside, during World War II. Pedro Armendáriz at his macho best plays Lupe Padilla (somehow related to one Padilla ambassador), a man that is about to be executed for robbing the rich and giving to the poor, and who is rescued by his men using an old colonial cannon placed -as if nothing- in front of the jail! It is more fun than it sounds (with Pedro Vargas singing in jail, Japanese poisoning, German chauvinism and a wedding proposal in the middle of an unexpected barbecue, in the most dramatic moment). Unfortunately very bad actor Charles Rooner as the meanest Nazi ever, almost ruins it all with his overacting and shouting. This is such a rarity that one watches it with more attention than it deserves, but I cannot deny that I was seduced by its oddity. In the cast, the most surprising presence, though, is director Luis Alcoriza's Austrian wife Janet (Riesenfeld), credited as Raquel Rojas, as she was known during her brief acting career, from 1939 to 1944. As Janet Alcoriza she became a well-known scriptwriter, whose works included the screenplays for Luis Buñuel's "El gran calavera" (1949) and "La hija del engaño" (1951).