CREPÚSCULO aka TWILIGHT (1945)

Since 2014 Once Upon A Screen’s Citizen Screen has been celebrating the contributions of the Latino community in classic films with her annual “HOLLYWOOD’S HISPANIC HERITAGE BLOGATHON.” And that time is upon us again:

Now listen, if we leave it to Hollywood and our old ‘Good Neighbor Policy’ you may see a whole array of Latino cultures represented by nothing but big sombreros, bullfights and banditoes. Whole civilizations were built without Hollywood’s and America’s help. If one takes a gander of different Latino cultures from their OWN vantage point and film industry, that is a whole different kettle of frijoles. ( Ugh!! ) A few years ago MoMA ( the Museum of Modern Art ) presented their “Mexico At Night” series of Mexican film noir from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. I went a couple of times, seeing the staggering beauty of Dolores Del Rio in her native language, and the force of Nature that is María Félix who blew me out of my seat. For my entry this year, I’d like to write just a little about 1945’s “Crepúsculo”. 

This movie is more melodrama than film noir. And with my third screening at the MoMA I was becoming more and more familiar with the 40’s Mexican stars. Arturo de Córdova brings a smile to my face and I’m beginning to know him. He’s a good solid leading man who probably wasn’t going to get those chances opposite Hollywood’s elite leading ladies. I looked forward to seeing what scrapes he’s going to get into with THIS film. ( I write of another of his films here ).

In “Crepúsculo” ( aka “Twilight” ) de Córdova plays a successful surgeon tortured by a guilty conscience. Told in flashback, de Córdova troubles begin when he goes to a sculptor’s studio before his European trip to meet his good friend, and becomes mesmerized by a statue…but when he sees its live human model, he’s a complete goner. ( Things happen instantaneously in Mexican films…they don’t waste time, boy. ) Lucía, the model ( played by the beautiful Gloria Marín ) winds up becoming the wife of his good friend Ricardo ( actor Manuel Arvide ).

  
The Wife                                           The Best Friend

De Córdova has done nicely to resist temptation. ( If nothing else, these movies teach me no one can resist a Mexican woman ) but to no avail. He wants her and they have an affair.

“Because I can’t bear the torture of seeing you and of not seeing you. I don’t know which of the two is more intolerable.”

De Córdova: “What I can’t believe is that you fled from me that day.”
Marín:           “I did it so that our love would be perfect…after that perfect night. You don’t know that by losing you, I hoped to win you forever.”
DeCórdova: “You destroyed my life!”
Marín:         “I destroyed myself as well.”

Lucía has a younger sister, Cristina ( ~ Lilia Michel with Hollywood girl-next-door looks ) who develops a crush on the older de Córdova. This is the hornet’s nest de Córdova  walks into when finally fulfilling a social obligation to spend the weekend at his friend’s house. He’s been trying to stay away from Lucía, but she’s not having that and wants to risk every thing.

  

Aye yi yi.

  
[ Sheesh! The lovers do a poor job of hiding their guilt. ]

Something’s gotta give, and does during that weekend. Desire, resistance, recriminations, pregnant pauses, crashing music and a lot of cigarette-smoking take place in this movie. De Córdova’s got it bad…and that ain’t good. Neither de Córdova nor Marín can keep the guilt to themselves which makes her husband suspicious. All three have voice-overs and close-ups letting us know just what’s going on inside them.

…And the husband has a plan of his own.

How will this all play out. I’ll not spoil anything for you. You can see the movie for yourself.

We shouldn’t wait for the once~a~year annual reason to explore Mexican cinema, or acknowledge the contributions of creativity throughout the Hispanic diaspora in movies. Aurora at Once Upon A Screen offers a great guide, with these blogathons to get you started:

 

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32 thoughts on “CREPÚSCULO aka TWILIGHT (1945)

  1. Pingback: IT’S HERE! Hollywood’s #HispanicHeritage Blogathon – Once upon a screen…

  2. A splendid piece — many thanks for this! I’ve had Crepúsculo on my watch list for very much too long, and you’ve made me realize I really, really must get my act together and view it soon.

    Might I reblog this to my Noirish site, please?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Leeeets! It is on YouTube ( if you go to the bottom of my review, you can see it on YouTube, and not leave your apartment ). I hope you enjoy it. I did. Thanks for reading!!!

      ( Pssst! P.S. 320 envelopes addressed so far! 😉 )

      Like

  3. Hey Theresa. This sounds amazing. I’m really enjoying reading the entries for this blogathon. To my shame I have never seen a Mexican film (as far as I’m aware anyway)I really must check Mexican cinema out. As ever you’ve written an excellent review. Thanks to your YouTube link I am going to be able to take a look at this film.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope I don’t lose my Hispanic membership card by admitting I’ve never seen Crepúsculo despite enjoying several in the cast quite a bit. My grandmother was a huge de Cordoba fan, but I don’t remember seeing his films with her as I do other notable Mexican stars whose films were on Spanish TV often. Usually on Sundays. Anyway, I have to look up this title to see if it’s available online. It hurt to not make it to the MoMA screenings for this series. DAMN WORK!!

    Anyway, Theresa – I thoroughly enjoyed reading this commentary as I do all of your blog posts. Many thanks for contributing this write-up to the blogathon.

    Aurora

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Aurora, if you don’t mind looking at the movie on YouTube, I’ve included the link to the film at the end of my review. My mother is Puerto Rican, but she never watched the novellas; so I know nothing. I now really have to see how de Córdova did in Hollywood films. I know of him but he doesn’t look Hollywood-familiar to me. Listen, “Crépusculo” ain’t Shakespeare. It’s fraught ( or is that overwrought ) with emotion. But that’s okay. We’re used to that with ‘old movies.’ So far I’ve found these Mexican films to have great plot lines. A lot of times I don’t know what’s coming. ( How can that be?! ) I think your Hispanic membership is safe and secure. You’re doing a public service with this blogathon. L0L! Everyone should get in touch with their Latino side.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Theresa, when you said we’d have to watch the film for ourselves to see the husband’s plan, I did just that, and Wowee! What a movie! Dripping with atmosphere and that operating scene is SO tense!

    Thank you for recommending it, and thanks for sharing this film in your essay. It’s beautifully filmed and acted, and I’m really glad to have seen it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Focus! Focus! Focus! Marsha. I think the story lines are very layered with twists and turns. ( And lets not forget fiery emotions! ) You can check out Once Upon A Screen’s previous Hispanic blogathons ( 2014 / 2015 ) and use it as a guide. Thank you for enjoying my review and letting me know. 🙂

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  6. Dear Tess, You have done it again, because thanks to your excellent piece, you have made me want to watch this film. Thanks for the link and keep the good work!

    Gloria Marín was a legendary performer in Mexico and was Jorge Negrete’s life partner for several years; I have seen her in films with Negrete, Cantinflas and many more and she’s a fine actress, later on she appeared in several Mexican TV soap operas or novellas. Arturo de Córdova starred opposite Joan Fontaine in “Frenchman´s Creek” (1944) which was a film I wanted to see for several years and which I only could see rather recently; the film is average but entertaining. Joan Fontaine reportedly hated the film. He also had a leading role in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943) which I have to revisit sometime soon. I think I have not yet seen him in any Spanish language film, so this will be my first. Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So often I come across films based on how someone writes about it. I’m glad I can be on the initiating end in this case. When I attended the Mexican series at MoMA I saw many of these stars for the first time…other than those who made movies in Hollywood. I enjoyed that series. I saw some plots that really had me going. I didn’t know how things’d wind up. Keeps an old movie buff like me who knows “everything” on her toes. Thank you Fernando for reading and making time to comment. Gracias! 🙂

      Let me know what you think of the film, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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