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The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 11 February 1944 (USA)
A rope bridge over a gorge in the Peruvian Andes snaps, sending five people plunging to their deaths. A priest sets out to find out more about the life of each of the victims.

Director:

Rowland V. Lee

Writers:

Thornton Wilder (novel), Howard Estabrook (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lynn Bari ... Michaela Villegas
Akim Tamiroff ... Uncle Pio
Francis Lederer ... Esteban / Manuel
Alla Nazimova ... Doña Maria - The Marquesa (as Nazimova)
Louis Calhern ... Don Andre - The Viceroy
Donald Woods ... Brother Juniper
Blanche Yurka ... The Abbess
Barton Hepburn Barton Hepburn ... Don Gonzalo
Joan Lorring ... Pepita
Emma Dunn ... Doña Mercedes
Abner Biberman ... Maita
Antonio Triana Antonio Triana ... Dancer at Viceroy's Party
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Storyline

An ancient Inca rope bridge spanning a chasm in the Peruvian Andes collapses, sending five travelers to their deaths in the gorge below. A monk who was nearby, Father Juniper, decides to investigate the lives of those who died in order to see if the tragedy was a result of chance or some divine plan. Written by duke 1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

And they called her The Perichole! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El puente de San Luis Rey See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Hypercube restored) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The identity of several of the victims of the tragedy are changed. See more »

Quotes

Michaela Villegas: [to Uncle Pio] Don't try to make me feel sorry. I have no heart for the theater. I am what I am. I must be what I must be.
See more »


Soundtracks

Poor Poor Mama
(uncredited)
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Frederick Herbert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Talky Character Study Slow Going But Ultimately Rewarding
31 January 2011 | by oldblackandwhiteSee all my reviews

Thorton Wilder's novel of 18th Century Peru, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, translates to the screen as a rather slow moving, talky picture. Certainly not amongst the best examples of the 1940's classic period, but not as bad some critics have made it out. Production values are mediocre, and the story more philosophical than exciting. It is worth sticking with, however, for the acting and the intelligent script. An Accademy Award nominated score by the superb Dimitri Tiomkin helps out immensely.

The importance of old silent movie has-been Alla Nazimova in the scheme of this picture has been rather exaggerated by her ardent fans. She is good in a supporting role, but she hardly dominates the movie. Lynn Bari, the leading lady, is excellent as the social-climbing actress Michaela, around whom most of the plot revolves. Francis Lederer, who in the next decade would take a turn at the Dracula role, carries a big load in a dual role as twin brothers, one a dashing sea captain, the other a depressed scribe. But this movie really belongs to veteran character actors Louis Calhern as the Viceroy who is in love with Michaela, and Akim Tamiroff as Uncle Pio, Michaela' manager and the Viceroy's confidant-spy. The witty, literate exchanges between these two is the most amusing aspect of the movie.

Admittedly this movie is not for every taste. The dialog is going to be too literary and too self-consciously philosophical for most viewers. Every character in this story is a prodigy of philosophy, continually thinking on and talking on what his or her life is all about and what God must think of it. Some find the futility of seeking after life's treasures, other find redemption. The story is structured entirely in flashbacks starting from the tragic collapse of a bridge in the opening reel and the efforts of a faithful monk to learn why God willed it so. Flashbacks, though a tried and true story-telling device probably predating literature, seem to irritate some people, but the structure works well in this one. The story picks up steam in the second half, then neatly folds the end into a resolution which satisfies both drama and philosophy.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey is not top-notch entertainment, but has its rewarding moments if you are in the right mood.


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