Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 16:00


Alberto de Zavalía
Introduced by

Edgardo Cozarinsky e Fernando Martín Peña


Saturday 25/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

In 1935, two directors and their first films changed the tone of Argentine sound cinema, which until then was dominated by either tango or slapstick: this movie by Alberto de Zavalía and Luis Saslavsky’s lost Crimen a las tres. To make these first works, they created a production company, which did not survive the films’ commercial failure. Both men were educated and from well-off families, and once they entered the industry they followed different paths. With his good taste and sense of balance, de Zavalía was at his best directing the woman who would become his wife, the most beautiful Argentine actress of the time: Delia Garcés, who became known to European audiences for her role in Buñuel’s El.
De Zavalía’s first film still seems bold in evoking an atmosphere of cosmopolitan cinephilia. Despite the rather awkward narration and actors lacking verve, the similarity to Sternberg’s Docks of New York and Tay Garnett’s Her Man creates a poetic port setting where a sentimental sailor revisits a prostitute he has never forgotten. Two original story developments: the group of actors that invites the unknown couple to perform in a private rehearsal hosted by a colorful patron, and the man who betrays his own feelings and goes back to the ship where a rich woman is waiting for him.
With set designs by painter Raúl Soldi and cinematography by John Alton (between 1933 and 1939 the not-yet legendary director of photography worked on eighteen Argentine films before leaving for Hollywood), long thought lost Escala en la ciudad is still today a rara avis – a stylish, stark digression not lacking in allure – in comparison to the mainstream formats that made Argentine cinema successful at that time.

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Alberto de Zavalía. Scen.: Carlos Adén [Luis de Elizalde]. F.: John Alton. Scgf.: Raúl Soldi. Mus.: Mimi Gray, Alberto Sayons, Dick Johnson, Héctor Lagna Fietta. Int.: Esther Vani (Estrella), Cecilia Lezard (Pamela Pérez), Héctor Cataruzza (Jaime Lara), Eduardo Berri (Christian), Matilde Bhor (Tita), Amelia Bacigalupe, Marjorie Gerrard, Carmen Nogueras, Horacio O’Carry, Paco Del Valle. Prod.: Alberto de Zavalía. 35mm. D.: 78’. Bn.