Monday, June 2, 2008

From the Lucha Diaries vaults: Un Rosa Sobre el Ring (Mexico, 1973)

Welcome to a new feature of 4DK in which I repost some of my favorite reviews from my site The Lucha Diaries -- which in most cases are those that make me look the most like a clueless idiot. If this strikes you as just a lazy way for me to generate new content on this blog without having to actually write anything new, you would be right on the money. But, if it's new to you, what the hell are you complaining about? Anyway, if you enjoy this type of thing, be sure to check out the site, because there are dozens more similarly cloudy-minded and stubbornly uninformative reviews of Mexican wrestler movies to be found there.

Una Rosa Sobre el Ring is a straight up melodrama, a soap opera set in the world of lucha libre. Mil Mascaras appears in it, but it's really no more than a cameo, and he doesn't venture outside of his professional wrestling role to right any wrongs, heal the sick, or hurl any vampire midgets into other vampire midgets. In short, I have absolutely no business writing about this movie. Sure, I did watch it, but I've also watched open heart surgery on the Discovery Channel, and I don't feel like that makes me any more qualified to comment on the quality of its execution.
The problem is that the dvd of Una Rosa Sobre el Ring, like about half of those that I've watched in connection with compiling these diaries, has no English subtitles, so I had no idea what was being said, and wasn't entirely clear on all of the relationships between the characters. If the cast of characters had included a mad scientist, or a mini-skirted femalien, or a werewolf, or a diabolical criminal mastermind, or an evil, disembodied brain, it would have been a different story, because those, for me, are part of a universal language. If you at least give me a mad scientist and a burly guy in a wrestling mask, I can pretty much put all the rest of the pieces in place. But the trials and tribulations of everyday life? The vagaries of the human heart? Come on! I'm a guy! I need you to spell that shit out for me! Don't make me guess at it, otherwise I'm just going to get it wrong and piss you off.
Anyway, the little that I can with certainty tell you about Una Rosa Sobre el Ring is that it stars Crox Alvarado as an aging luchadore haunted by the death of an opponent in the ring. But, hold up; now that I've said that, I realize that I can't really say with certainty that his role was that of an "aging luchadore". It may have just been age inappropriate casting, with his obviously very advanced years not intended to be a focus of the story. In any case, I definitely can say that a remarkable effect is achieved at the film's conclusion when Alvarado dons his mask and enters the ring against Mil Mascaras. His formerly pendulous man-maries are suddenly rock hard, and he seems to gain a few inches in stature. It's almost as if it's an entirely different person in the role.
Una Rosa Sobre el Ring also features a lady who becomes a nun, an impoverished orphan who gets slapped upside the head a lot by a mean guy who takes his panhandling money, and a guy in a suit who is repeatedly shown punching a buff guy with a club foot in the face and knocking him out, which I think is meant to be comical. I could further pad this review by mentioning that its an Agrasanchez production and then go on to enumerate all of the technical failings that go hand in hand with that - but I just got finished jumping all over Agrasanchez in my review of El Hijo de Alma Grande and I'm exhausted from the effort.
Well, almost exhausted. The sound looping in this film is really atrocious, giving us a 10 year old newsboy who has the voice of a 35 year old man, a crowd of people who visibly applaud yet emit no sound, and physical blows that sound full seconds after they're landed. As far as the onscreen production values go, the fact that the film focuses a lot on people who are desperately poor works well within the typical Agrasanchez film's budgetary restrictions. They're not so good at realizing a super villain's high tech lair, but a squalid hovel they can do.
As far as the story goes, as I said, I really can't say. But there's a lot of exaggerated gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair going on that suggests to me that, were its dialog understandable, Una Rosa Sobre el Ring might just be a lot of fun to watch. Not fun enough to prompt me to invest in those much needed Spanish lessons, mind you, but fun nonetheless.

No comments: