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Alternate Title: Block Party
Director: Charles Lamont () (Dirigida [Dir])
Release Date:   1939
Premiere Information:   Panama opening: 13 Dec 1938; Los Angeles opening: 7 Mar 1939
Production Date:   May--Jun 1938
Duration (in mins):   85
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Fernando Soler (Mateo Vargas)  
    Luana de Alcañiz (Blanca [Vargas])  
    Juan Torena (Claudio)  
    Pilar Arcos (Mamita [Vargas])  
    Cecilia Callejo (Lola [Vargas])  
  y el niño [and the boy] Jorge Mari (Pepito [Vargas])  
    Carlos Villarías (Manuel)  
    Romualdo Tirado (Pérez)  
    Sergio de Karlo (Luis)  
    Danton Ferrero (Doctor)  
    Leonor Turich (Tensita)  
    Lou Hicks (Pat [the policeman])  
    Carlos Ruffino (Tomara)  
    Israel García (José)  
    Fred Gonzalez (Ventura)  
    Pedro Viñas (Vendedor de globos [salesman])  

Summary: In New York's Spanish neighborhood, residents happily prepare for a festival on the eve of Columbus Day. The friends and family of boxer Mateo Vargas, who have missed him over the past eight months, are eager for his return after serving a term in jail for striking a policeman. When Mateo receives a parole and arrives unexpectedly at his apartment, his mother, Mamita, little brother Pepito, and sister Lola prepare a celebration. His wife Blanca, however, faints when she sees her husband. After a worried Mateo summons a doctor, he learns that Blanca is a few months pregnant. Mateo is shocked at the news and, knowing that he cannot be the father, he becomes bitter and suspicious. He asks the doctor not to tell anyone about Blanca, then goes to a friend's tavern to drink. His manager, Manuel, wants Mateo to go back into training for a shot at the championship, but Mateo is too preoccupied with Blanca's infidelity to concentrate on his career. During Mateo's absence, Blanca had secretly been seeing Claudio, Lola's fiancé. Though they have tried to hide their relationship, Lola suspects that Claudio is more interested in Blanca than her, but when she tells her mother, Mamita slaps her. Later that day, Mateo confronts Blanca about her pregnancy and demands to know who is responsible. Though he tells Blanca that he feels partially responsible for her infidelity, she will not reveal the name of her lover. As the evening approaches, Mateo drinks more and becomes obsessed with discovering his wife's lover's identity. When he runs into Claudio on the street, he demands to know who has been seeing Blanca, but a frightened Claudio tries to tell him that his suspicions are groundless. Claudio then secretly goes to the Vargas apartment to see Blanca. Claudio convinces her to meet him in the basement later by riding down on the dumb waiter. When Claudio enters the basement, he is secretly observed by Lola, who sees him checking the ropes on the dumb waiter. Lola then runs upstairs and confronts Blanca. As they argue, a very drunk Mateo comes home Lola and tells him that Claudio is Blanca's lover and that she was just about to leave on the dumb waiter. He runs to the dumb waiter shaft and yells for Claudio, but Claudio, concerned that Blanca has taken too long to meet him, goes up to the apartment, unaware that Mateo is there. When Claudio arrives, the two men have a violent argument. Fearful, Claudio moves to the fire escape, but is followed by Mateo. As the festival revelers dance on the street, they see the men on the fire escape just before Mateo strikes Claudio, causing him to fall to the pavement. Because Claudio dies in the fall, Pat, the neighborhood policeman is summoned. As Pat takes Mateo away, Blanca screams that she is responsible and still loves Mateo, but he will not listen. Just before he leaves the building, she tells him that she will always love him. Finally, when Mamita comes, she comforts Blanca, who says that she will spend the rest of her life repaying Mamita's kindness. 

Production Company: Cantabria Films  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Charles Lamont (Dirigida [Dir])
  Ralph Slosser (Ayundante director [Asst dir])
Producer: Jaime Del Amo (Producida [Prod])
Writer: Jean Bart (Argumento original y adaptación cinematográfica [Orig story and scr])
  Miguel de Zárraga (Versión española [Spanish version])
Photography: Arthur Martinelli (Fotografía [Photog])
Art Direction: Edward Jewell (Escenografia [Art dir])
Film Editor: Guy V. Thayer hijo (Compilación [Ed])
Music: Lee Zahler (Supervisión musical [Mus supv])
Sound: William R. Fox (Sonido [Sd])
Production Misc: Frederick A. Spencer (Gerente de producción [Prod mgr])
Country: United States
Language: Spanish

Songs: "El patrón" and "El coronel," words and music by Sergio de Karlo; "Gitanerías," words and music by Pilar Arcos.
Composer: Pilar Arcos
  Sergio de Karlo

PCA NO: 4425
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Sound System
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Boxers
  Family relationships
  Hispanic Americans
  Infidelity
  Jealousy
 
Subjects (Minor): Columbus Day
  Drunkenness
  Dumb-waiters
  Engagements
  Fire-escapes
  Imprisonment
  Manslaughter
  New York City
  Police
  Hotels

Note: According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the English-language title of the film was Block Party . The Hays Office issued a certificate to the film's producer after a warning that the subject of adultery should be given "proper treatment." Although there is a copyright statement in the film's opening, it is not listed among copyright records. Opening credits list the actor portraying Pepito as Jorge Mari, while the end credits list him as George Mari. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
CM   Nov 1938   p. 560.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Aug 1938   p. 3.
Imparcial Films   5 Aug 1938   
New York Times   13 Mar 1939   p. 12.

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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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