An evil old man, Andrés, is the owner of an old building, where very poor people live. Mr. Andrés wants to demolish the building, and gives the people a few hours to evacuate it. But they will confront the old man, saying that they won’t leave their homes. Andrés will look for help and he finds it in Pedro, a tough, strong and rude man, but not quite clever, who will be hired by Andrés in order to bullying the people in the building and make them leave. Meanwhile, Pedro will work in a butcher’s shop, where also works Paloma, Andres’s wife, an attractive woman who starts to feel attracted to Pedro. One night, Pedro is making a tour by the building, threatening people, and he will fight with a man who dares to face up with him. But the man is killed accidentally by Pedro, who escapes from the place and hides with Paloma, now his lover. Meche, the murdered man’s daughter, is a charming and pretty girl, who will help Pedro to scape from the angry neighbors. Pedro falls in love with Meche, and he offers his home to her. Meche starts to have feelings about the naive but “brutal” man, without knowing that he’s the murderer of her father. —IMDb
Although regarded as the greatest artist of Spanish cinema Luis Buñuel only made three films that are Spanish by nationality. His exile from his homeland at the end of the Spanish Civil War resulted in extended periods in Mexico and France. Despite this displacement, Spain was never far from Buñuel’s mind. The peasant culture of the villages of Calanda and Zaragoza, many of them dating to the Middle-Ages, greatly influenced his imagination during his childhood. The Spanish literary tradition, represented by Lope de Vega, Cervantes and the writers of picaresque stories, remained constant touchstones. Strongest of all was the distinctly Spanish nature of his Catholicism; he would retain its influence long after he renounced the teachings of the Church. At the University of Madrid his friendship with poet Federico Garcia Lorca and painter Salvador Dalí would play a major role in the avant-garde of the 1920s. It was during this period that he discovered the works of Sigmund Freud. His insight… read more
With a fairly standard plot, one relies on Buñuel to make interesting choices, and he does. There are several scenes that are great. The ones with earthy and sensual Katy Jurado made the film for me. This also made me appreciate Pedro Armendariz as an actor even more. I'm used to seeing him on a horse, on a rural location. But he translates very well into an urban setting. One of the best from Buñuel's Mexican films.
It's interesting to see how dynamic the portability of noir can be, as Buñuel's social drama, whether intentional or not, is constructed in and substantiated by an affectation of its mode, from the femme fatale to the destruction of the guileless brute. A rather categorical study of consequences, though, from a director whose strength is not in assurances.