Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


DEATH OF A CYCLIST (Muerte de un cyclista/1955/Spanish). Director: Juan Antonio Bardem.

After the war Juan (Alberto Closas) comes back to discover that his lover Lucia (Maria Jose de Castro) has married a wealthy man, but the two continue their relationship anyway. While out driving with Juan, Lucia hits a bicyclist, but the two run off for fear of exposure instead of taking the badly injured man to a hospital. Even after the bicyclist dies, they seem more concerned about themselves. Eventually Juan develops a conscience, recognizing how his actions have affected people (although Closas' basically wooden performance --though not without some charm --is no help at all.) The movie holds your attention, but the performances are too cool to really pull you into the story. The photography (Alfredo Fraile) is stark and crisp, however, and there is a good scene as the lovers watch blackmailing gossip Rafa (Carlos Casaravilla) whispering and whispering to the husband Miquel (Otello Toso) while flamenco dancers flail about in the background. This came in for some acclaim at the time of its release but it's really nothing special. A Hollywood version actually might have had more bite to it (picture Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan in the leads).

Verdict: Okay time passer if little else. **1/2.

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