ES-IT / 100 minutes / B&W /Chapalo Films, S. A. – Centro Latino Cinematográfico (Italia) Dir: José Luis Sáenz de Heredia Pro: Eduardo de la Fuente Screenplay: written by Carlos Blanco based on a story by Carlos Blanco Cine: Manuel Berenger Mus: Manuel Parada y León Quintero Quiroga Ed: Julio Peña Set Dec: Ramiro Gómez Cast: Raf Vallone (Martin Jordán), Elena Varzi (Berta), Julio Peña (Roberto Ayala), Fernando Fernán Gómez (Agente Díaz), Emma Penella (Lola), Félix Dafauce (Comisario Ozalla), Gaspar Campos, Anibal Vela, Fernando Sancho, Carlos Díaz de Mendoza, Antonio Riquelme, Beny Deus, Julia Pachelo, Juanita Mansó, Francisco Bernal, José Cuenca, Alberto Bové, Maite de la Guía.Release Date 12 September 1952 (Spain). The film was co-produced in Italy, where it is known as Uomini senza pace (“Men without peace”). The Spanish title can be translated freely as Eyes Leaves Traces.
Synopsis: Martin Jordán (Raf Vallone) is a disgraced lawyer who keeps much resentment towards society and makes a living selling perfumes. One day he comes across a former classmate, the good-for-nothing Roberto Ayala (Julio Peña) to whom life has treated him far better. When Martin comes to know Roberto’s wife, Berta (Elena Varzi), Martin falls in love with her. One night Roberto thinks he has killed a man who was also dating his lover and he asks Martin to help him. Martin devises a plan to get rid of Roberto, commit the perfect murder and convince everyone that Roberto has committed suicide. Thus he will have the path free to seduce Berta.
Begoña and I had the opportunity to watch this film a few days ago when it was shown on TVE (La 2).In my view it’s a worthy film, made with great professionalism, that has a highly interesting screenplay and an excellent staging. Maybe it’s a bit uneven and Raf Vallone plays a character that is not suited to him. Unfortunately, it is a film unjustly forgotten. It has also served to encourage me to dig further into the Spanish Detective and Mystery Films (Film Noir) Between 1950 to 1965. A complex task, not without difficulties, given that most of these films are not easy to find.
See review, here, in Spanish at Blog de cine.
Just a few days ago I had the opportunity to watch on TVE2 Los ojos dejan huellas (Eyes Leaves Traces) a 1952 Spanish thriller film directed by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia starring Raf Vallone and his wife Elena Varzi. The film was co-produced in Italy, where it is known as Uomini senza pace (Men without peace). See the IMDb page here. My blog post about this film will soon be ready. Meanwhile I just realised that I know very little about the detective and mystery films (film noir if you prefer) produced in Spain between 1950 and 1965. I can say, in my defence, that most of theses films are very difficult to find.
Without any pretensions to being exhaustive, I’ve found the following list with some of the Spanish Detective and Mystery Films (Film Noir) produced during this time frame (Source: Brumas del franquismo. El auge del cine negro español [1950-1965] by Francesc Sánchez Barba, Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 2007):
- Apartado de Correos 1001 directed by Julio Salvador (1950)
- Brigada Criminal directed by Ignacio F. Iquino (1950)
- Séptima página directed by Ladislao Vajda (1950)
- Surcos directed by José Antonio Nieves Conde (1951)
- María Dolores directed by José María Elorrieta (1952)
- Mercado prohibido directed by Javier Setó (1952)
- Los ojos dejan huella directed by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia (1952)
- Hay un camino a la derecha directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta (1953)
- Juzgado permanente directed by Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent (1953)
- Los agentes del Quinto Grupo directed by Ricardo Gascón (1954)
- ¿Crimen imposible? directed by César Fernández Ardavín (1954)
- El presidio directed by Antonio Santillán (1954)
- El cerco directed by Miguel Iglesias (1955)
- El ojo de cristal directed by Antonio Santillán (1955)
- Los peces rojos directed by José Antonio Nieves Conde (1955)
- Pleiro de sangre directed by Ricardo Gascón (1955)
- Compadece al delincuente directed by Eusebio Fernández Ardavín (1956)
- El expreso de Andalucia directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta (1956)
- Miedo directed by León Klimovsky (1956)
- Distrito Quinto directed by Julio Coll (1957)
- Las manos sucias directed by José Antonio de la Loma and Marcello Baldi (1957)
- El cebo directed by Ladislao Vajda (1958) see my blog post here. Original title Es geschah am hellichten Tag
- A sangre fria aka Trampa al amanecer directed by Juan Bosch (1959)
- 091, Policia al habla directed by José María Forqué (1960) One of the few films in this list that I saw in my childhood.
- El indulto directed by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia (1960)
- A hierro muere directed by Manuel Mur Oti (1961)
- Los cuervos directed by Julio Coll (1961)
- Juventud a la intemperie diected by Ignacio F. Iquino (1961)
- No dispares contra mí directed byJ osé María Nunes (1961)
- Regresa un desconocido directed by Juan Bosch (1961)
- Cerrado por asesinato directed by José Luis Gamboa (1962)
- Los culpables directed by Josep Maria Forn (1962)
- La ruta de los narcóticos directed by Josep Maria Forn (1962
- Todos eran culpables directed by León Klimovsky (1962)
- Yo no soy un asesino directed by José María Zabalza (1962)
- A tiro limpio directed by Francisco Pérez-Dolz (1963)
- Pacto de silencio directed by Antonio Román (1963)
- Crimen de doble filo directed by José Luis Borau (1964)
- Armas para el Caribe directed by Claude Sautet (1965) Original title: L’arme à gauche. I wonder why it is here.
- El asesino de Düsseldorf directed by Robert Hossein (1965) Original title: Le vampire de Düsseldorf (a Spanish co-production)
- De cuerpo presente directed by Antonio Eceiza (1965)
- Muerte en primavera directed by Miguel Iglesias (1965)
- La muerte viaja demasiado directed by Claude Autant-Lara, José María Forqué and Giancarlo Zagni (1965) Original title: Umorismo in nero.
I’m missing some titles like Muerte de un ciclista directed by Juan Antonio Bardem (1955), see my blog post here, that I would certainly include in this section, while some of the titles above I see no reason to be included. But anyway if some reader can help me to update this list and suggest other titles missing, I appreciate any help.
Crime fiction books read and reviewed this month:
The Nine Tailors (Hodder & Stoughton, 2003) Format: Paperback Edition. First published in Great Britain in 1934 by Dorothy L. Sayers (A+)
The Yellow Dog (Penguin Classics, 2013) Format: Paperback. Translated by Linda Asher. Originally published in French as Le chien jaune in 1931 by Georges Simenon (A)
Summerchill (Constable, 2015) Format: Kindle Edition, by Quentin Bates (A)
The Black Dahlia (Cornerstone Digital, 2011) Format: Kindle Edition. First published in 1987 by James Ellroy (A+)
In Bitter Chill (Faber & Faber Crime, 2015) Format: Kindle Edition, by Sarah Ward (A)
And my choice for this moth pick of the month will be: A tie between two very different books but equally appealing: A classic mystery book, The Nine Tailors; and a modern classic ‘noir’, The Black Dahlia.
Anyhow all the books read have been worthwhile and are highly recommended.