El Bruto (The Brute, 1952)

US Cinemateca Facets Video DVD edition


Great crime melodrama with very fine acting from Pedro Armendáríz, Andrés Soler and from the great Katy Jurado, plus the
exquisite cinematography from Agustin Jimenez. However in this "regular" Mexican movie there are no satire over religion,
bigotry or humour, but as a crime-drama there are violence, suspense and sex.

But "El Bruto" is great anyway, just without the normal Buñuel touches, and yes you can find some of the class struggle
and maybe also some of the absurd humour if you look hard. The way he describes the poor family of Pedro-El Bruto's first
family, they have no poor worker revolutionary splendour as they are totally rotten scum and leechers, begging everyone
in sight for money. And, the last enigmatic scene with the Rooster (or Hen) looking at Katy Jurado's Paloma, and she looking
at it, eyes locked, what does it mean ? It's a surreal and mysterious scene open to interpretation and a great ending.
Does she feel shame, is she afraid of it and feeling accused or does it have to do with El Bruto's soul looking at her ?

Katy Jurado, what an actress, she's so charismatic she almost burns the screen

El Bruto, it's rich vs. poor (but without any revolutionary spirit or with Buñuel taking sides) but naturally with a
strong sexual angle too. Buñuel knew what makes us pitiful humans to Tick.
It's a genre film "The Mexican melodrama" with drama, suspense, tragedy and sex, and Luis Buñuel play along
according to the given rules.

The film is a Quadruple melodrama with:

1. Pedro, as el bruto (Pedro Armendariz) the slow-witted but strong as an Ox slaughterhouse worker. Living with his
girlfriends rotten family, nasty leechers that he has to support

2. Don Andrés (Andres Soler) as the house- and landowner, the slumlord used to get what he wants and to buy people

3. A magnificent Katy Jurado, winning the Mexican Ariel Award for the role, the Mexican Oscar) as the young
and too sensual (horny) wife of Don Andrés

4. Meche (Rosita Arenas) as the poor young woman, the good woman of the people

El Bruto/Pedro and Paloma

When Slumlord Don Andrés (Andres Soler) wants to evict his tenants from their scruffy houses, to tear them down
and then to sell the land the tenants decide to stay, refusing to move out. Don Andrés has got an eviction order from
the court but the troublesome agitators will put up the fight, what to do ?
His wife Paloma gives him the idea, to break the resistance just take out the 3-4 leaders and to do this, he have to hire
a strongman. Don Andrés talks strong Bruto AKA Pedro (Pedro Armendáríz) to scare them. Bruto gladly accepts
working for Don Andrés, leaves his family, moves in with the Andrés family and starts working in their butchershop
along with Paloma. She spurns her old goat husbands sexual advances and starts seducing the strong Pedro.

Pedro threatens and punches one of the tenants leaders in the stomach, without knowing the man already was very
ill, and the man dies. Then he falls in love with the man's daughter, Meche (Rosita Arenas) and they become a couple
without her knowing about it. At the same time Paloma visits him craving sex, but she doesn't know about Meche,
so this tale will probably not end well.

The film is presented in 4:3 fullscreen original ratio, black & white, and with spanish audio DD 2.0 with english subtitles


I LOVE Luis Buñuel, he's my favourite film director and i think his 1950 "Los Olvidados" may be the greatest film of all
time. This great Spanish-Mexican director made films in Spain, France and in Mexico and all of his French films are
widely attainable as DVD's or Blu-ray's since a long time. But his Mexican films are neglected and most of them can't
even be found on DVD or Blu-ray in decent condition and with english subtitles.
It's nothing but a SCANDAL and when writing this in February 15th 2022 you still can't see Masterpiece "Los Olvidados"
in a restored version on a Blu-ray (with english subtitles). What the Fu-- is a company like Criterion Collection doing ?

I clearly thinks Buñuel's Mexican films are the best he ever made, still with his full power, and with films like "Los
Olvidados" "El" "Nazarin" "The Exterminating Angel" "Viridiana" and "Simon in the Desert" he confirms that.
OK, maybe you can see Exterminating Angel, Viridiana and Simon in the Desert on a Blu-ray edition, BUT the film "EL"
can't be seen even on a DVD with english subtitles (i don't speak spanish) and El i've heard spanish filmfans exclaim
to be one of the greatest of all his films.

Again and again the western centred film companies re-release his last French or French-Spanish enigmatic, elegant
and very mundane films BUT his most Powerful and even Best Mexican films they do not bother about, SHAME !


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