I recently saw El vampiro negro on TCM’s Noir Alley. I really thought that it was going to be a cheap knock-off of Fritz Lang’s M. I was going to stay the course and give El vampiro negro a solid chance. I was glad I did. The newly restored print was spectacular. I was wowed by Olga Zubarry’s performance in this Argentinian unearthed film noir classic. The Film Noir Foundation really outdid itself with this beautiful restoration. Loaded with extras, this is a must for cinephiles who love film noir. You can buy it from Flicker Alley or popular movie sites.
A virtually unknown remake of M, Fritz Lang’s seminal 1931 thriller, El vampiro negro (The Black Vampire) is a revisionist take on the tale by Argentine director Román Viñoly Barreto. Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Film Noir Foundation, a stunning restoration of the film was created by UCLA Film & Television Archive, now presented in its first-ever home video release – with special thanks to Fernando Martín Peña and Argentina Sono Film.
Argentine beauty Olga Zubarry stars as a cabaret performer trying to protect her young daughter (Gogó) from a mysterious murderer while parrying the advances of the prosecutor (Roberto Escalada) pursuing the killer. Nathán Pinzón, who also appeared in Viñoly Barreto’s The Beast Must Die (La bestia debe morir) a year earlier, gives an impressive against-type performance as the disturbed pedophile hiding in plain sight.
This variation on Fritz Lang’s classic is a proto-feminist reimagining of the tale, focusing on the lives of female characters ignored in the earlier iterations. The film’s brooding cinematography (by Aníbal González Paz) enhances Olga Zubarry’s exceptional performance, which won her the Argentine Film Critics Association award for Best Actress. El vampiro negro (The Black Vampire) is a significant rediscovery in cinema history, and, thanks to the dedication of the Film Noir Foundation and its partners at UCLA Film & Television Archive, it is now available in a beautiful Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition packed with special features.
BONUS MATERIALS INCLUDE:
- Introduction to El vampiro negro (The Black Vampire) – by author, film historian, and “noirchaeologist” Eddie Muller
- The 3 Faces of “M” – a critical comparison of the three versions of M, produced by Steven C. Smith and writer/film historian Alan K. Rode, and featuring interviews with writer/film historian Imogen Sara Smith, biographer Patrick McGilligan, biographer Stephen Youngkin, film critic Beth Accomando, Eddie Muller, and Alan K. Rode
- Art in the Blood – an interview with visual artist Daniel Viñoly, son of visionary director Román Viñoly Barreto
- Audio Commentary– by Argentina’s leading film archivist and cinema historian Fernando Martín Peña
- Souvenir Booklet – featuring an essay by Imogen Sara Smith, with rare original photographs, posters, and ephemera
- English Subtitles and Spanish SDH Subtitles