Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Window Gossip.

If you've been living under a rock or just had never given it a thought; Christian Gonzalez's Mujeres De Medianoche (1990) is a remake of an old comedy movie from 1956 entitled “El Chismoso De La Ventana” (aka "The Window Gossip"). It took me a pretty long time to watch it considering it never got a home video release (at least to my knowledge) and TV airings of the movie are scarce. Finally though, I was able to watch the movie earlier this year via one of the platforms from Olympusat. In HD at that. Wow.

El Chismoso De La Ventana tells the story of a quirky jokester named Anacleto (Antonio Espino "Clavillazo"), who cleans at a luxurious antique shop. At work, he’s liked by his co-workers except his boss Atenogenes (Michel Grayeb), who always catches Anacleto slacking off & breaking things in the shop. It also turns out that they had grown up together and Atenogenes’ wife still fondly mentions Anacleto since they used to date. Anacleto has issues back home where he’s backed up on rent and his landlady Doña Pancha always hassles him for it. Lucky for him though, he’s close friends with Pancha’s husband Don Leandro (Oscar Pulido) who is always kind to him and cuts him slack on the rent situation. 

When the shop owner is to return from a vacation; Antenogenes’ wants to gift him something fabulous, so him and the other employees of the store put together money to buy him the gift. Antenogenes also uses this as a way to prank Anacleto by having him receive a “fake” gift, but this of course backfires when the shop owner receives the fake gift and Anacleto receives the real gift which is a high-end telescope. Anacleto and Don Leandro set up the telescope and rather than watching the stars up in the sky, they watch the apartment building windows from across. They watch beautiful women entering their homes and undressing, having male company over & they even watch a woman dance away to the cha-cha-cha. As the silliness goes on, women on the streets are being kidnapped & killed by a maniac (Yerye Beirute). The police have no trace of the killer, but perhaps Anacleto knows who the killer could be since he sees a scary looking sculptor through the telescope! 

I had originally thought Gilberto Martinez Solares was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window; but from what Gilberto’s son Adolfo Martinez Solares had told me, Gilberto thought up the plot for El Chismoso De La Ventana several years before Hitchcock’s epic. Gilberto Martinez Solares was fascinated by astronomy and it came to him one day that a man had accidentally acquired a telescope and rather than watching the moon & stars, he was instead watching the attractive lady from the apartment building across the street. Producer Jesus Grovas originally wasn’t interested in Gilberto’s script for El Chismoso De La Ventana, but several years later with an urge to make a new film and wanting to cash-in on the now famous Hitchcock epic;  El Chismoso De La Ventana was made after all. Gilberto was hesitant at first since he didn’t want to be accused of ripping-off Hitchcock, but Grovas assured him it would not happen.  

Gilberto had worked heavily with famous comedy actor German Valdes “Tin Tan” back in those days, but there was another comedy actor around that time as well and that was Clavillazo. After many times with Tin Tan, it was time for Clavillazo to shine in this rather unique Martinez Solares production and while Clavillazo was not as big as Tin Tan, but he was still very well-known by then and it was only natural for Gilberto to work with another top comedy actor. For me, El Chismoso De La Ventana is the movie where we get everything Clavillazo offers in all his roles which is over the top silliness, annoyance, saying his famous catch-phrases such as “pura vida” & “mendigo!”, wearing excessive baggy clothing & wearing that familiar weird hat. Clavillazo is the ultimate fool, but no matter the situation, he always succeeds and gets the girl.

El Chismoso De La Ventana to my surprise is very much forgotten and it shouldn’t be that way since this movie is actually pretty damn good and charming. El Chismoso De La Ventana does however get a tad too silly, but this is the type of silliness that is always in early comedy movies and it’s humor I am not very familiar with, but more than likely my grandparents and other older relatives would find very amusing. As very silly as it is though; it’s an enjoyable movie with a fun plot & wacky characters you’ll like. Anacleto can be quite irritating at times, but he is charming overrall & honest. The killer with his broad appearance & evil demeanor are enough for me to find him fascinating. Anacleto’s love interest played by the beautiful Martha Mijares also fascinates me since she’s so dreamy looking & takes a liking to Anacleto right away since he is so kind to her. The surreal dream scene where Anacleto watches her sing in a French cafe is my favorite scene of the movie. As she sings a song of searching for love in the cafe, everyone there is acting goofy & Anacleto claims his girl right away with a dance and a big ol' smooch.

It is a blessing to have experienced El Chismoso De La Ventana and I could only hope others can as well. This is a movie worth looking into and while it can be labeled as just another old comedy from the 1950’s; for me it’s something more that. It’s an interesting forgotten gem that the great Gilberto Martinez Solares had made in his long & successful career. He brought us so many gems through out the years and Chismoso is one that should stand out as much as any other comedy he had made. Clavillazo, as peculiar & even irritable he can be; he can still put a dumb little smile on our faces just as any other comedy actor (big or small) can do.