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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Torch (1950)

Set in Mexico, when a revolutionary General (Pedro Armendariz) takes over a small town, he arrests all the village's rich men and puts them in jail pending their execution. But when he meets the fiery and spoiled daughter (Paulette Goddard) of one of his prisoners, it's instant love on his part and contempt on hers. By the end of the 1940s, Paulette Goddard who had been one of the most popular actresses of that decade found her career on the wane. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to produce this film in Mexico with a Mexican cast and crew and cast herself in the lead role. Unfortunately, she was pushing 40 and the role was that of a young foolish girl. Is there anything more embarrassing than seeing a 40-ish actress acting all coy and girlish when playing a role she's too mature for? As for the film itself, it's an odd duck beginning as a drama then turning all comedy cutesy in the middle and then getting all serious again as a medical epidemic ravages the city. Directed by the actor/director Emilio Fernandez and nicely shot by Gabriel Figueroa (NIGHT OF THE IGUANA). With Gilbert Roland as a pious priest (it might have been better if he had switched roles with Armendariz) and Walter Reed.

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