5 Films to Remember Cantinflas 30 Years after his Death

The Mexican icon passed away on April 20th, 1993, at 81 years old, leaving a legendary filmography with over 50 titles. We recommend five films to meet or remember the man who changed the history of Spanish-speaking cinema.

Mario Moreno 'Cantinflas'

Photo: File

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Andrés Rodríguez

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Leer en español: 5 películas para recordar a Cantinflas 30 años después de su muerte

Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno was born in Mexico City on August 12th, 1911. The sixth of fourteen children born to Pedro Moreno and María de la Soledad Rey, a middle-class family, he began working from a very young age, trying his luck at trades such as bolero, taxi driver, boxer, bullfighter, and even soldier. He enlisted in the army at 16 years old, pretending he was 21 until he was discharged by a letter from his father.

All these experiences would prove helpful when he decided to dedicate himself to the artistic world, beginning as a dancer and actor in the circus with comedy presentations that in the 1930s caught the attention of Santiago Reachi, a Mexican film producer. His intuition did not fail, and in a few years, Moreno starred in the highest-grossing films in the country under the pseudonym Cantinflas. This character represented the country's working class. The origin of the name remains a mystery and generates a debate with many theories but no certainty.

The tangled way of speaking and full of neologisms, known as the "cantinfleada," a big smile, and outlined eyebrows made his face unforgettable. Above all, that incomparable charisma made Cantinflas an icon of world comedy. His work was revolutionary at the time, and three decades after his death, it remains valid due to its quality and bold social criticism.

Among so many great titles, we have chosen five so that, regardless of whether it is the first or the tenth time, you can enjoy the genius of the man who transformed Spanish-speaking cinema with laughter.

"You're Missing the Point" (1940)

A classic comedy from the golden age of Mexican cinema. Cantinflas is an irresponsible man who takes advantage of a mix-up to impersonate Leonardo del Paso, the brother-in-law of an old millionaire, which results in a series of misunderstandings involving scams, love affairs, and even murder. Directed by Juan Bustillo Oro, this film revealed to the world who the actor was, showing for the first time his talent for physical comedy and witty jokes, the product of his constant improvisation because he considered that the script was poorly written. Available on YouTube.

"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956)

Winner of five Oscars, including the Best Picture award, this adaptation of Jules Verne's novel, directed by Michael Anderson and produced by Michael Todd, was one of the few forays Cantinflas made in Hollywood cinema. In it, he plays Passepartout, the faithful assistant of the knight Phileas Fogg (David Niven), who has bet half his fortune that he can cross the world by sea, sky, and land in 80 days.

The Mexican actor came to the project after Todd's insistence, a critical task for the American producer. Several changes were made to accommodate the character to Cantinflas's comic style, and he was presented as the protagonist in Latin countries. For this role, he received a Golden Globe nomination. Available on Claro Video.

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"The Extra" (1962)

In this comedy, directed by his regular collaborator Miguel M. Delgado, he plays Rogaciano, an extra in various productions of a Mexican film studio, who is always looking to stand out in the hope that one day he will be cast as the lead in a big movie. movie. The meta cinema was a characteristic element of Cantinflas' filmography. In many cases, he played actors eager for fame or incorporated references to directors and films into the narrative, thereby criticizing the film industry, its treatment, and the construction of the imaginary. About the working class. Available on YouTube.

"Your Excellency" (1967)

Political satire is an engine of cantinflesco cinema; this film exemplifies par excellence. Directed by Miguel M. Delgado, this time Cantinflas plays López "Lopitos," an employee of the Los Cocos embassy in Pepeslavia, who, as he rises in the diplomatic career finds himself involved in power struggles when his nation falls apart. The deciding vote returns in the battle between "green" and "red" states for world control.

The tape is an allegory of the cold war and the clash of positions between socialism and capitalism. For this reason, it has been studied to understand the political part of the artist. The experts consider that the final speech is a sample of a conservative position that the actor exacerbated in his last years, the most controversial stage of his career. Available in Claro Video.

"The Street Sweeper" (1982)

For his latest film, Cantinflas chose to play Napoleón Pérez García or "Don Napo," a street sweeper from Mexico City who is unfortunately involved in the theft of a valuable piece of art when thieves hiding the painting in an amount of garbage that is up to you to collect. Immediately, he becomes a target for criminals and the police. Available in Claro Video.

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