EL CALLAO PAGE 2

 

Plot synopsis:

            El Callao, El Mudo, and El Perfumito rob a delicatessen at gunpoint.  At the same time, Catholic priest Padre Morán arrives in the USA to take up a new post.  A gypsy cab-driver stops but refuses to take the fare since Morán's destination is the town of West New York, over 50 miles away.  However, when Morán is knocked down by another taxi, El Gitano relents.  Morán: "May God repay you, my son."    El Gitano: "No, you'll pay me, Father."

 

            El Callao, his girlfriend Blanquita, and El Mudo are joined in a nightclub by El Perfumito, who hands over some drugs to his boss.  Later, in bed, Blanquita worries about the next crime planned by her lover: "[if you're caught,] this time you'll go to jail, to a very dark dungeon."  However, the next day the plan works perfectly: El Callo and El Perfumito pretend to be police detectives and offer to "protect" a businessman and his bodyguard who have made a large withdrawal from a bank.  Instead, they hijack the man's car.  [There is a suspenseful scene in which the auto stops at traffic signal and a policeman strolls across the street in front of the car, but he notices nothing wrong.]  El Mudo is waiting with a stolen car: as they leave with the money, a smiling El Callao (unseen by his accomplices) murders the unconscious businessman and his bodyguard by shooting them in the head.   At another location, the criminals dump the stolen auto and are picked up by Blanquita, who drives to the airport.  El Callao arranges to meet El Perfumito and El Mudo in a few days to split up the loot, then he and Blanquita prepare to depart in a light plane.

 

            Blanquita: "You didn't kill anyone, right?
             El Callao: [shakes his head, looks at El Mudo and El Perfumito driving away] "Goodbye, idiots!  Goodbye forever!"

            Blanquita: "What?"

            El Callao: "This money is all ours.  This plane isn't going anywhere, it's just for show."

            Blanquita: "And your friends?"

            El Callao: "Friends?  Screw them!  This [he indicates the money] is my friend."

 

            A "shopping" montage in which Blanquita and El Callao purchase new clothes, etc., is followed by an amusing scene in a hotel room.  Blanquita models a fur coat, as El Callao barks like a dog and then meows like a cat, before biting her ankle and pulling off her coat.  [Blanquita is nude underneath, but the scene cuts after a split-second shot of her nude butt.]  Later, the couple strolls through New York at night (El Callao is wearing a cape), past the Metropolitan Opera, Lindy's, the Metropole Cafe, the Winter Garden (where "Mame" is playing). 

 

            Meanwhile, drug addict El Tecato (earlier seen as a lookout when El Callao and his friends steal a car for their robbery), brings a teenage girl to the hotel room where El Mudo and El Perfumito are holed up.  El Perfumito says "I have to see the material" before he'll pay, so El Tecato strips the glum girl to her black underwear and receives his money.  Disappointed at the pay-off (he really needs a fix), El Tecato is mollified when he's allowed to take the room's television set as well!  Another abrupt cut ends the scene as El Perfumito yanks off the girl's bra.

 

            Later, El Mudo and El Perfumito return to the nightclub shown in the earlier scene to wait for El Callao.  [The same two dancers are performing.  This time, Linda Boyce--earlier shown wearing pasties and a g-string--is completely nude.  Her blonde companion sheds a coat to reveal that she is also nude.  However, as the blonde takes the stage, the lesbian (?) number is cut (just as the two women prepare to kiss) and the scene quickly cuts to their exit?!]  El Perfumito realizes "El Callao betrayed us."  He and El Mudo try to mug a drunk and his escort as they leave the club, but a policeman shows up and fatally shoots the fleeing El Mudo.  El Perfumito returns to his fallen friend and is arrested.  "It's El Callao's fault."

 

            The "Daily Tribune" headline reads "Confesses $70,000 Murders in N.Y.C."  El Callao and Blanquita decide to leave the city.  Meanwhile, in West New York ("A Good Place to Live and Shop" as the sign says), Padre Morán is cheerfully strolling through the streets when he's spotted by a shoeshine "boy" (actually, he looks 30 if he's a day) who does a double-take after comparing the priest to the police sketches of El Callao in the newspaper his client is reading. ["Le Busca Policia de 50 Estados"]  Grabbing the paper out of his client's hand, bootblack Andy races to the police station and reports the sighting (in English):

 

            Andy: "I'm telling you, Lieutenant, it's him.  I just saw him going up the street and get into a taxicab...Same face, weight, height.  It's got to be him."

            Lieutenant: "You've got to be kidding, Andy.  Do you know what you're saying?  That I should go out there and arrest a priest.  Because you say he looks like a thief or a murderer?  No, I'm sorry.  You better stick to shining shoes."

            [Good work, Lieutenant.  No need to even go check, right?  Note: the sign on the officer's door reads "Lt. R.T. Warnock," who I would not be surprised to learn was a real West New York cop.  In the film, of course, he's played by "The Singing Policeman" Johnny H.]

 

            As coincidence would have it, El Callao and Blanquita are driving through West New York and stop for gasoline.  El Callao displays a large roll of bills when he pays, which attracts the attention of a highway patrolman who is chatting with the pump jockey.  The policeman follows El Callao's car down the highway, but eventually passes them and disappears, as Blanquita and El Callao heave a sigh of relief.  [This is another suspenseful sequence.  The cop arrives at the gas station while El Callao is in the men's room and Blanquita has no way to warn him.  However, they would probably have avoided suspicion if El Callao hadn't flashed the wad of cash.]  But the cop has merely pulled ahead so he can wave El Callao's car over.  When the officer approaches the auto, El Callao shoots him.  They speed off, leaving the wounded officer signaling for assistance. 

 

            Newspapers in 1969 must have been awfully efficient, because in the very next scene El Callao and Blanquita stop at a roadside restaurant and get a newspaper with the banner headline "Patrolman Killed; Search for Suspects."  No indication is given as to how much time has elapsed, but the viewer gets the impression that only a little time has passed, since El Callao decides to "stay" and hide in West New York (meaning they could not have driven far since the roadside shooting).  Blanquita wants to go out on her own and asks for her share of the robbery money, but El Callao compells her to stay with him.  They steal another car to throw the authorities off the trail (producer José Antonio Torres makes a cameo appearance as the man whose car is stolen).

 

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