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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

El Bruto (1953)

When his tenants protest their eviction, a ruthless landlord (Andres Soler) hires a muscular but simple minded slaughterhouse employee (Pedro Armendariz) to frighten the tenants into leaving. But when he accidentally kills one of the tenants, it will eventually prove his downfall. Directed by the great Luis Bunuel, this is not one of his masterpieces and if one calls it second tier Bunuel, it is not meant as derogatory. It's actually very good but somehow never quite reaches the operatic tragedy that it appears to be aiming toward. Armendariz' "El Bruto" with his brute strength and underdeveloped mind should be a tragic figure and he is to an extent. But Bunuel keeps it low keyed with its emphasis on gritty realism when a more melodramatic approach might have benefited the film more. The performances are excellent though and Armendariz manages to make his repulsive brute touching by the film's end and Katy Jurado as the landlord's sexy vengeful wife gives a spectacular performance. With Rosa Arenas and Paco Martinez.

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