AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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El caballero de la noche
Alternate Title: Tu amor o la vida
Director: James Tinling () (Dirección de [Directed by])
Release Date:   1932
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 19 Nov 1932
Production Date:   Aug--Sep 1932
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   José Mojica (Dick Turpin)  
    Mona Maris (Lady Elena)  
    Andrés de Segurola (Conde Churlton)  
    Romualdo Tirado (Barón Fenwick)  
    Manuel París (Tom King)  
    Lita Santos (Mary)  
    Blanca Vischer    
    Carmen Rodríguez    

Summary: In eighteenth century England, a crowd, including Barón Fenwick and Conde Churlton, has gathered to witness a hanging. Dick Turpin, who is a masked bandit wanted by the monarch, rides in a disguise though the crowd singing a song which mocks the wealthy. When guards chase after him, the crowd comes to his rescue and allows him a safe getaway. On the highway, he robs Fenwick and Churlton of a bag of gold and Churlton's snuffbox, which is carved with the likeness of his fiancée, Fenwick's niece, Lady Elena. Dick gallops away and arrives at a tavern, where he is a well-loved guest. He shows the barmaids the snuffbox and proclaims Lady Elena to be his new love, just as she comes into the inn. She angrily takes the box from him and goes to her room. Churlton and Fenwick arrive to meet Elena, and while Fenwick goes to speak with her, Churlton boasts of having cheated a robber out of a bag of gold, and Dick overhears him. Churlton joins Fenwick and Elena, interrupting her protests against her intended marriage. Dick, in his mask, robs the trio of their last bag of gold, yet pointedly, does not take the snuffbox. He escapes from the room, and the men chase after his companion Tom, believing him to be Dick. He then re-enters Elena's room and asks her permission to take the snuffbox. Without waiting for an answer, Dick grabs the box, as Churlton and Fenwick return, and escapes. That evening, Dick, Tom and a group of their followers overtake a group of soldiers on their way to guard Churlton's castle during the wedding festivities. Disguised as Lieutenant Barclay, Dick is ordered by Churlton to guard Elena. The next morning, Churlton and Elena, guarded by Dick, ride in the countryside. Wishing to be alone with Elena, Churlton sends Dick away, only to be accosted by the masked bandit, whom he soon finds locked in an embrace with Elena. Dick escapes and returns disguised again as the lieutenant to guide them back to the castle. Elena receives a letter from Dick asking her to meet him in the evening on her balcony. At the rendezvous, they kiss and Elena asks him to remove his mask. Meanwhile, the real lieutenant informs Churlton of the ruse, and they rush to Elena's room. Dick is alerted by Tom, and he hurries from the room, telling Elena where his campsite will be, but forgetting to collect his mask, which Churlton secretly finds and pockets. Later that evening, believing that she has snuck off without being noticed, Elena inadvertently leads Churlton's men to Dick's campsite, where they arrest him. Before Dick is to be hanged, Tom gets the hangman inebriated to the point of unconsciousness. He then takes the hangman's hood and parades to the gallows. Dick is led into the square singing, and when Tom fakes a struggle with the noose, Churlton and Fenwick are tricked, and the men are able to elude the soldiers and escape to Elena's awaiting coach. As they pass the tavern where Elena and Dick first met, the barmaids throw flowers in their wake. 

Production Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Director: James Tinling (Dirección de [Directed by])
Writer: Paul Perez (Adpt)
  William Kernell (Adpt)
  José López Rubio (Spanish version by)
Photography: Sidney Wagner (Photog)
Country: United States
Language: Spanish

Songs: "El día de la ejecución," "Es un ladrón," "Brindemos siempre," "La miniatura," "Jai-jo, jai-jo (Canto de los cazadores)," "Amame," "Unidos siempre (Siempre unidos)," "El caballero de la noche" and "Canción del bandolero," music and lyrics by William Kernell, José Mojica and Troy Sanders, lyrics in Spanish by José Mojica.
Composer: William Kernell
  José Mojica
  Troy Sanders
Source Text: Based on the film Dick Turpin by Charles Darnton and Charles Kenyon (Fox Film Corp., 1925).
Authors: Charles Darnton
  Charles Kenyon

Physical Properties: Sd:

Genre: Musical
Subjects (Major): Adventurers
  Great Britain--History
  Masked bandits
Subjects (Minor): Barmaids
  Impersonation and imposture
  Officers (Military)
  Snuff boxes and bottles

Note: Working titles of this film were Dick Turpin and Tu amor o la vida . The plot summary was based on a screen continuity in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, and the onscreen credits were taken from a screen credit sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, both of which are in the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library. This film was based on the 1925 English-language film produced by Fox entitled Dick Turpin , which was directed by John G. Blystone and starred Tom Mix and Kathleen Myers (see entry).        The historical character Richard "Dick" Turpin (1706-1739)was an English highwayman whose exploits have inspired popular legend throughout the centuries. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
CM   Jan 1933   p. 4.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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