Ramón Peón

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Enrique Agüero Hidalgo. F.: Ricardo Delgado. Scen., M.: Ramón Peón. Scgf.: Ernesto Caparrós. Int.: Miguel de Santos (Yeyo), Diana V. Marde (Trina), Matilde Mauri (Ritica), Ramón Peón (Mambí), Francisco Muñoz, Guillermo de la Torre, Julio Gallo, Roberto Navarro. Prod.: B.P.P. Pictures. 35mm. D.: 71’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

La Virgen de la Caridad, which despite its title is not a film with a prevailingly religious theme, is based on the short novel by Enrique Agüero Hidalgo (1890-1975), winner of a literary contest held by the Havana newspaper “El Mundo”. During that period, director Ramón Peón (1897-1971), actor and
producer Antonio Perdices (‘the Cuban Valentino’) and a wealthy cinephile like Arturo del Barrio founded Sociedad Anónima B.P.P. Pictures (Barrio Péon Perdices Pictures).
Building on the success of its first film El veneno de un beso (1929), also directed by Peón, B.P.P. Pictures decided to produce a film adaptation of La Virgen de la Caridad. It would end up being its last production, but it was also the most important Cuban movie produced in the pre-revolutionary era as well as the best work of Peón’s prolific filmography.
Days before its release at Havana’s Cinema Rialto (September 8, 1930, Cuba’s Patron Day La Virgen de la Caridad, Our Lady of Charity) most newspapers devoted space to the film’s promotion. “It’s the first wholly successful attempt at making a film with Cuban funding, director, actors, cinematographer and crew. The setting is very accurate, and the country village where the action takes place is genuinely Cuban”, wrote J.M. Valdés-Rodríguez in “El Mundo”.
The twelfth film by Ramón Peón, who was also the picture’s screenwriter and editor, La Virgen de la Caridad is on par with the best of other films produced at that time in Latin America. With intertitles in Spanish and English (in order to distribute the film in the United States), humorous moments portrayed by several well-defined secondary characters and acting with a certain ‘candor’, La Virgen de la Caridad has maintained its charm of authenticity despite the passing of time. It is a classic, a must-see film for anyone who decides to explore Cuban and Latin American cinema.

Luciano Castillo

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