Sunday, October 05, 2008

Muchachas de Uniforme (1951)

This is the Mexican adaptation of the play Gestern und Heute by Christa Winslow, a play that also has the following adaptations:
Mädchen in Uniform (1931), Leontine Sagan, Germany
Mädchen in Uniform (1958), Géza von Radványi, Germany and France
Play of the Month: Girls in Uniform (1967), Waris Hussein, UK (originally aired on October 15, 1967 and is Episode 1, Season 3 of the TV Series)

Also known as Mädchen ohne Liebe (Germany), Girls in Uniform (Blockbuster online)

Director: Alfredo B. Crevenna (German-born Mexican director)
Screenwriter: Edmundo Báez, Egon Eis. Based on Gestern und Heute by Producer: Rodolfo Lowenthal
Production Company: Fama Films
Cinematographer: Ignacio Torres
Editor: Rafael Portillo
Music: Raúl Lavista
Color: Black And White
Running time: 83 min (German sites list 99min)
Release date: May 31, 1951 in Mexico
Country: Mexico
Cast: Alicia Caro, Lupe Carrile, Irasema Dilián, María Douglas, Anabelle Gutiérrez, Magda Guzmán, Marga López, Patricia Morán, Rosaura Revueltas, Alicia Rodríguez.

Manuela, a teenager, enters a boarding school after her mother’s death. But she has trouble adjusting to the rigid disciplinary methods of the school principal, who firmly believes that hunger and strict regulations help build character. Manuela, however, will be protected by Lucila, the youngest teacher, and the woman whom all the girls admire.

Now that I’m reading about this movie I believe I have seen it a very long time ago, as it has one of the most famous Mexican actresses of all times, Marga López, but honestly I can’t recall a thing.

According to imDb the movie won the Best Poster Award for Drama at the 1951 Berlin Film Festival where the movie seems that was screened according to Wikipedia, but if you browse the Berlinale archive there is no information for this movie. Also Anabelle Gutiérrez was nominated for a Silver Ariel Award for Best Young Actor/Actress at the 1952 Ariel Awards.

If you understand Spanish I suggest you read this article about the recent restoration of the movie that required borrowing from Berlin Filmmuseum archive the two copies that they have of this Mexican film, one in the original language and another with German subtitles. But most interesting is to find in this article the comment that “Mexican audiences in those days did not understood” the lesbian story, as this is a film that belong to the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and had an unbelievable cast with very then famous actresses, as with so many important actresses it was probably “unbelievable” that they could do a story like this one!

The film was recently screened in Mexico City (August 2008) for the 48 anniversary of the UNAM Film Archive and will be screened next Thursday at the 6th Morelia International Film Festival.

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