Flor de mayo poster

Beyond All Limits / Flor de mayo (1959); directed by Roberto Gavaldón; written by a raft of writers (two screenplays for two languages?); from the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez

A nice piece of Mexican melodrama with genuine movie star performances from María Félix, Pedro Armendáriz, and crazy-eyed Jack Palance. (Be prepared for his Speedo scene!)

Yet the top draw is really Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography, which must have been something else on the big screen. The Sinaloa locations, on both land and water, are stunning throughout.

Meanwhile, María Félix manages some pretty fantastic dresses, despite playing the humble wife of a local shrimper. She’s going to radiate glamour no matter what the role may be.

The movie starts off rather slow but the soap opera does work after a short while. The final scene, a communion, is syrupy and obvious, but effective and beautiful at the same time, making the best use of the color white I’ve seen in a long time. Gabriel Figueroa!

Note: I wonder if they shot this movie twice. I keep reading about Jack Palance delivering his lines in Spanish, but the actors are all speaking English here. Flor de mayo, the Spanish title of the film, is available as a dvd elsewhere, so perhaps Robert Gavaldón shot all the scenes twice for a dual language international release.