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O Escorpião Escarlate

The Scarlet Scorpion

Brazil 1990
produced by
Ivan Cardozo, Luiz Gelpi, César Cavalcanti (executive), Maria Da Salete (executive), Luiz Paula Machado (executive) for Topazio Films
directed by Ivan Cardoso
starring Andréa Beltrao, Herson Capri, Nuno Leal Maia, Monique Evans, Susana Matos, Mário Gomes, Isadora Ribeiro, Leo Jaime, Roberta Close, Ivon Cury, Consuelo Leandro, Tiao Macalé, Zezé Macedo, Wilson Grey, Ankito, José Lewgoy, Cláudio Mamberti, Colé Santana, Vanusa Spindler, Christiane Torloni
written by Rubens Francisco Luchetti, music by Júlio Medaglia, Gilberto Santeiro

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rio de Janeiro, the 1950's: The radio serial Angel, in which a private investigator - Angel - and his girlfriend, a courageous reporter called Doris are chasing a hooded villain called the Scarlet Scorpion, is having the nation in its tight grip, especially Gloria (Andréa Beltrao), an unsuccessful fashion designer for whom the serial is the only escape from reality. But for her, the identification with the serial and its characters goes even further, as she is soon convinced that some real-life crimes remotely resembling those in the serial were actually committed by the Scarlet Scorpion himself. She is ridiculed when she tells this to the police, but her assumption catches the interest of a police reporter ... and after a real-life attempt is made on the author of Angel Aguiar's (Herson Capri) life, Gloria becomes a minor celebrity and even gets a job at the radio station that transmits Angel. There she meets Aguiar the author, and immediately falls in love with him. Reality and the fantasy world of the serial soon become intertwined though when Angel finally confronts the Scarlet Scorpion on radio while the Scarlet Scorpion comes after Gloria in the real world ... but suffice to say that everything ends happily, and in both fact and fiction the boy gets the girl, Angel Doris and Aguiar Gloria.

 

It's easy to spot the narrative inconsistencies in The Scarlet Scorpion, the plotholes and leaps of reason, the narrative threads that lead to nowhere and all that - yet in this film, that's completely besides the point, and I wouldn't even be surprised if at least ome of the sloppy writing was done intentional, as above all else the film is an hommage to old-fashioned pulp fiction, be it in form of radio serials, movies or magazines. Accordingly, a big portion of the film (the one depicting the radio serial) is made in the style of old genre movies and movie serials (and was even shot in black and white), and though throughout the film, the tongue is firmly in cheek, director Cardoso plays it straight in these scenes. The result is a simply wonderful, intentionally silly piece of film that's amazingly fresh despite its nostalgic premise and that's great fun without just making fun of its subject matter.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD