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Quino is a Mexican diver who discovers a pearl at the bottom of the sea. He and his wife Juana, and their son have just taken possession of a pearl that is worth thousands. Everyday people try to get in on the cash, even Pearl Dealers try to rip them off. When Quino is attacked one day, he kills his attackers in self defence. His brother suggests their only hope is to leave the village. But on their journey to give their son an education they never had, someone may just do anything to prevent it.Written by
This is a story that old men tell to children. They aren't sure where it happened or when.
The Pearl is directed by Emilio Fernández and John Steinbeck co-adapts his own novella of the same name with Fernández and Jack Wagner. It stars Pedro Armendariz, María Elena Marqués, Fernando Wagner, Gilberto González, Juan García and Charles Rooner. Music is by Antonio Díaz Conde and cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa.
We are in La Paz, Mexico, and when Quino and Juana's son is stung by a scorpion the couple are anguished by not having the finances to pay for medical treatment. Hope springs eternal when Quino discovers a large pearl, something which is seemingly the answer to their prayers - is it?
What we basically have here is a morality play about the corruption of greed. Once the pearl of the title is discovered the ugliness of mankind rears its vile head. People around Quino and Juana - a homely honest but poor couple - suddenly have designs on the financial gains that the pearl can bring - with some of them willing to commit cardinal sins to achieve their aim. The pearl also begins to drive a wedge between the loving couple, and thus we are held enthral of the story to see exactly where this will all end up?
Though it's not very subtle in the telling, with Steinbeck's literary bent often as heavy as a sledgehammer, this is undeniably compelling stuff. That it's also a visual delight also considerably aids the viewing experience. Fernández and Figueroa bring truly atmospheric cinematography into play as a key character of the piece, with kinked frames and low level shots perfectly embracing the discord of the troubling human conditioning on view. Come 1947 what we would come to know as the film noir style of film making was in full effect, fans of such should for sure add The Pearl to their must seek out lists. 8/10
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