Scen.: Gabriel García Moreno. F.: Manuel Carrillo, Juan D. Vasallo. Int.: Carlos Villatoro (Antonio, ‘el Murciélago’), Lupita Bonilla (Esther, Elsa), Manuel de los Ríos (Dr. Anselmo Ortiz, ‘el Tieso’), Octavio Valencia (Carlos), Hortensia Valencia (Laura), Manuel Carrillo (Perico), Guillermo Pacheco (Juanito), Ignacio Ojeda (El Buitre), Rafael Ojeda. Prod.: Centro Cultural Cinematográfico de Orizaba. DCP. Bn.
This is the third and final full-length film directed by García Moreno in Orizaba, Veracruz. In April 1927, the magazine “Alborada” published that the filming would wrap on May 13, and it was released on the 27th of that same month, in Teatro Llave. The film casually portrays the underworld of drug addiction through the adventures of hooded bandits, depraved drug addicts, and a pipe-smoking detective who aspires to be like dime novel private investigator Nick Carter. It is an entertaining film full of incidents where the actors’ spontaneity is remarkable. The way the film is narrated as well as the camera movements demonstrate García Moreno’s directorial mastery, both of the language of cinema as well as of the North American technology. There is probably no other movie in the history of Mexican cinema that addresses the issue of drug addiction so directly.
With businessmen from Orizaba City, Garcia Moreno established a film company called Cinematographic Cultural Center, it was established in the city of Orizaba. The company had a film studio and a laboratory. There were filmed several documentaries, comic shorts and three fulllength films: Misterio (1926); El tren fantasma (1926) and El puño de hierro. But probably the hard economic situation in the state of Veracruz ended with the expectations of the film company and in November of 1927 their doors closed permanently. Ninety percent of Mexican silent cinema production from 1896 to 1931 is lost. This is largely due to the lack of awareness of the historical value of the films; in their day, they were considered to be merchandise to be projected as much as possible. Just a few of these film have survived, some of them directed by Moreno. El tren fantasma (1926) and El puño de hierro were among them. When the company Centro Cultural Cinematográfico, directed by García Moreno, went bankrupt, he left the films to Mr. William Mayer, the company’s treasurer. There were around eight cans, which the Mayers kept and moved from Orizaba to Mexico City. Thanks to a daring 15-year old boy who hid the films between the shelves, the films were saved from being turned into envelope glue. This young boy, Aurelio de los Reyes, would become a film historian who finally delivered the cans to Filmoteca UNAM.