Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Naked Dawn

Edgar G Ulmer 
Corriganville Movie Ranch 
Simi Valley CA 1955

Set on both sides of the border between Mexico and Texas (a border that is only recognized as an impertinence by the actual native people of the area, who perhaps recall that it was imposed by European "American" invaders and thieves in 1836,) the Naked Dawn concerns three Mexicans, a young couple, both of them just shy of twenty years, and a bandit about twice their age.  An American railroad agent hires Santiago, the bandit (in France the film is known as Le Bandit,) to steal a shipment of wrist watches and then refuses to pay him his full share.  Eventually it ends with them both dead and the young couple forced to leave their small farm.

It’s based on a story by Maxim Gorky, Chelkash, transposed by black listed screenwriter Julian Zimet from Odessa to Matamoros, Tamaulipas. It was Ulmer’s second film in color, this time Technicolor, though the tones are similar to those seen in the Cinefotocolor used for Muchachas de Bagdad.  As always with Ulmer, the film is beautifully made, in design and execution.

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