«Víctimas del pecado» (Victims of Sin) is one of the most over-the- top melodramas ever made by Emilio "Indio" Fernández. The reason may be the presence of Cuban star Ninón Sevilla in the leading role, whose screen persona and religious faith permeate the story, the dance numbers, and even the tone of this genre film. It is one of the "películas de cabareteras" (cabaret dancer films) that were so popular in México. In these musical melodramas, brutish men seduced and abandoned young women who would become prostitutes, but for a chance of destiny they had the opportunity to become singers or dancers. This transcended the bleakness in their lives and transformed them into icons of female supremacy, even in the machista frame where the films were conceived. Ninón, a well-known santería practitioner in real life, and daughter of Changó in this Yoruba religion, plays Violeta, a strong-willed dancer-prostitute that works in the Cabaret Changó, where she performs sensual African dance numbers, and sings Panamanian songs like "La Cocaleca". It is clear that she would like to become a star and leave the seedy nightclub, but she gets into trouble with a pimp (Rodolfo Acosta, in outrageous pachuco outfits, swings on the dance floor, turns into violent fits of rage, and admonishes a prostitute in French!). He forces another woman to get rid of her newborn, but Ninón rescues the baby literally from the garbage can and decides to keep him to herself. She eventually gets help from Santiago (Víctor Junco), the owner of another nightclub who goes around town followed by a group of mariachis! Tragedy is a prerequisite in these films, so the story follows the usual pattern of fall and redemption; but Ninón's strong character gives other solutions to what suffering and tearful Dolores del Río or Columba Domínguez would do in the films by Fernández. She dances and sings for survival, she argues and fights in constant revolt against the cabaretera's destiny. «Víctimas del pecado» is a true joy, a real gem, with musical performances by Cuban superstar Rita Montaner, Mexican singer Pedro Vargas, and the real "mambo king", Pérez Prado. Call it camp if you will, but it is one of the outstanding pieces of the golden era of Mexican cinema and one of the best films by Indio Fernández.