11 December 2017 | EdgarST
The novel "El socio" (1928) by Chilean writer Jenaro Prieto has even served as a for Whoopi Goldberg's vehicle. Therefore, it is not rare that in 1946 (the year of Prieto's death) the Argentine tango-singing superstar Hugo del Carril starred in another version, in addition to those made in England, Italy, Spain and France, plus two TV series in Chile in latter years. The most remarkable feature of this Roberto Gavaldón film comes from the novel, a satirical vision of financial speculation in "Dumbland" (as Prieto called Chile), but, in truth, the machinations seen here are similar to those of many places in the world. While the plot works well in mid-1940s Mexico, the presence of Del Carril in those lands is not justified satisfactorily, but
Don Hugo was the famous tango singer, so screenwriter Tito Davison inserted a few musical numbers. It is not the case as in Gavaldón's "Historia de un amor", where the leading lady was an artist, so Libertad Lamarque did not stop singing. In his eighth feature film (of the 55 he directed), Gavaldón is not at ease with satire. In fact, in the 20-odd titles I have seen of his filmography, he showed a predilection for seriousness. The vision is interesting and enjoyable, and it is undeniable that, although fresh, Gavaldón knew the trade, but he replaced the satirical tone with a switch from drama to comedy and back to the beginning again. Therefore, that it is Jenaro Prieto who sets the rule, from the pages of his novel. Do not be surprised if any of these days a Chinese or Turkish version of "El socio" appears.