|Vintage Pulp||Dec 23 2022|
Montalbán makes his deepest fantasies come true.
Sombra Verde, aka Untouched, was a romantic adventure made in Mexico, based on a novel by Ramiro Torres Septien, and starring Ricardo Montalbán, who was establishing himself in Hollywood but also returned south for occasional productions. The promo poster is amazing, done in that particularly Mexican mid-century style that echoes art deco. In this example, you can see those elements most clearly in Montalbán's abs, the texture of the dress on the female figure, and the lines of the hammock in which she reclines. We've shared several of these masterful concoctions, and you can see them by starting at this page and following the links.
In Sombra Verde Montalbán plays a scientist dispatched to the state of Veracruz to search for barbasco roots used for pharmaceutical production. He hires a guide named Pedro, and the pair head into the trackless wilderness. Montalbán soon grows distrustful of Pedro, and when they get lost tensions rise. No worries, though—Pedro doesn't last long (though his death scene takes forever) thanks to a poisonous snake. After wandering alone for a period, Montalbán finally stumbles across some inscrutable villagers, including the beautiful Ariadna Welter, who instantly makes his little Mr. Rourke stand at attention. Montalbán is married, but with Welter flouncing about his vows become a secondary concern, and romance ensues. The father in this scenario, however, played by Victor Parra, is bent on keeping his daughter pure, so what you ultimately get is a star-crossed love story in the dripping jungle.
There are some moments that may verge on accidental comedy for modern viewers—Montalbán fruitlessly sucking poison out of Pedro's leg comes to mind, as does the scene where he looks to the sky and sees about thirty buzzards circling, but it all works fine because he's a born star who handles this adventure with ease and confidence. We can't help thinking it's a shame he got few leading opportunities in Hollywood. He surely made more money there than in Mexico, but on the other hand his countrymen knew top level talent when they saw it, and knew what to do with it. Sombra Verde, despite some melodramatic excesses, shows Montalbán's quality. It premiered in Mexico today in 1954.
MexicoSombra VerdeRicardo MontalbánVictor ParraAriadna WelterJorge Martínez de HoyosRamiro Torres Septienposter artcinemamovie review