El Supersabio

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(5/10) In a nutshell: The science fiction merely serves as McGuffins in this 1948 comedy starring Mexico’s biggest film star of the forties and fifties, Cantinflas. A stylish effort despite the low budget, and a very sympathetic, but ultimately talky and slow-moving film. Cantinflas shines.

El Supersabio (1948). Directed by Miguel M. Delgado. Written by Jean Bernarde-Luc, Alex Joffé, Iñigo de Martino, Jaime Salvador. Starring: Cantinflas, Perla Aguiar, Carlo Martines Baena. Produced by Jacques Gelman and Santiago Reachi for Posa Films. IMDb score: 6.8

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Cantinflas in El Supersabio.

As you can see above, I’ve given this film 5 stars. That may be overly generous, but I’ve decided to give the movie the benefit of a doubt, since it is a very talky film, I don’t understand much of the dialogue, and I’m told much of the film’s charm lies in the original way the film’s star Cantiflas uses his language and dialogue. However, credits should be given to the movie for having such a clear structure and good direction, that even though I don’t technically speak Spanish, I had no trouble following the basic plot with the help of a synopsis and the little Spanish that I do understand.

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Boom in the Moon

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(0/10) In a nutshell: My very first zero-star review goes to this 1946 Mexican ”sci-fi” ”comedy” starring a down and out Buster Keaton doing his best not to fall asleep on set. The completely ridiculous script has three idiots landing a moon rocket in the middle of a Mexican city, thinking they are on the moon. No, there is no political or philosophical allegory. The best moments have Buster Keaton lifelessly repeating old gags from his silent era. The rest is a mess.

Boom in the Moon (El Moderno Barba Asul, 1946). Directed by Jaime Salvador. Written by Jaime Salvador and Victor Trivas. Starring: Buster Keaton, Angel Garasa, Virginia Serret. Produced by Alexander Salking for Alsa Film. IMDb score: 4.5

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Buster Keaton and Angel Garasa in the abysmal El Moderno Barba Asul, or Boom in the Moon.

Potentially this film could have been awesome. 1. You’ve got one of the powerhouses of Mexican comedy during the so-called golden days of Mexican cinema, Jaime Salvador Valls as both writer and director. Spanish-born Salvador might not ring many bells with international viewers, but this was the man who made close to 20 films with the legendary comedian Cantiflas, a man who on the US game show What’s My Line was called ”the greatest Mexican actor alive”, and whom Charlie Chaplin himself called ”the greatest comedian in the world”. International audiences may know him best from his portrayal of Passepartout in the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days, a role that was reprised in the infamous 2004 remake by Jackie Chan (where he actually did some pretty awesome Buster Keaton impersonations). The lead in Boom to the Moon is played by an actor who is by many considered to have been the greatest US comedian of all time (Charlie Chaplin fans may disagree): Buster Keaton. And last but not least: the film sets it up to be the first ever full length feature film made in the whole continent of America about a trip to the moon.

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