Tigresa [Tigress] (Premiere Pictures, 1970?) Exec Prod: Ray Wells; Assoc Prod: Antonio Velázquez, Manuel Cruz; Dir: Glauco del Mar; Scr: no credit; Photo: Peter Palian; Music/Dubbing: Laszlo Haverland; Prod Chief: Luis Linolium; Asst Dir: Raúl Rodríguez; Film Ed: César Cruz; Costumes-Makeup-Hairstyles: Kaly Karlos; Songs: Carmen Iraida (theme song), Johnny H. ("I'll Be Waiting")
Cast: Perla Faith (Patricia Martínez), Ángel Ramírez (Mafioso), Johnny H (Jimmy), Cindy Lee (María?), Raúl Rodríguez (Patricia's father), Don Roque, Guillermo Crespo (Héctor, detective), Edelmiro Borras, Jimmy Vázquez, Michael Dumont, Luis Linolium, Richard Linch, Joe Dones (Patricia's bodyguard), Trivilin, Trujillo, Iris the Body, Nilda Alvarado, Diana Pabón, Many Pagán, Rafael Vásquez, Carlos Hidalgo
Notes: Love After Death may be Glauco del Mar's best-known movie, and El Callao is probably his most technically-accomplished film, but Tigresa combines the outrageous twisted-sex aspects of the former with the crime-genre attributes of the latter in a delirious but entertaining manner.
Tigresa (not La Tigresa, despite the title on the DVD case) has some direct connections with Glauco del Mar's earlier movies, Love After Death and El Callao. Ángel Ramírez, Guillermo Crespo, the actor who played "Arturo" in LAD (he's the Mafia boss here), and the unnamed transvestite dancer from LAD all reappear, both movies were shot by Peter Palian, and Antonio Velázquez--who wrote LAD--receives associate producer credit here (he may have also written the script, although no writing credit appears at all). Ramírez, Raúl Rodríguez, Joe (= José) Dones, and Johnny H. were also in El Callao. Johnny H, also known as "the Singing Cop" or "the Singing Policeman," was allegedly a real-life policeman (he appears as a member of the West New York force in El Callao) and sometimes rockabilly singer. He can be heard on the soundtrack of Tigresa doing one country-flavored song (in English), "I'll Be Waiting."
The 1970 date given above is the earliest this picture could have been made, and is based on a movie poster for Cycle Savages which appears in one scene (that movie was released in New York in April 1970) and a theatre marquee advertising The People Next Door (released in NY in August 1970). Some of the film's scenes were shot in the winter and others in warmer weather, so it's possible production went on for a number of months. I suppose someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles could do something with the film's cars to verify this date...[apropos of this, note that the fancy car "Patricia Martínez" drives after she gets rich has vanity front license plates reading "PF"--as in "Perla Faith," so this was probably her personal vehicle!]
The Miracle Pictures DVD of Tigresa suffers from a faded, soft picture and muffled sound, but is mostly free of the technical defects present in some of their other NY-PR releases (notably El Callao).
At a NY swim club, teenager Patricia is forced to change into a revealing bikini by some hostile schoolmates (including one lesbian who ogles Patricia and licks her lips!). Horseplay in the pool results in a near-drowning, and muscular lifeguard Jimmy is forced to administer artificial respiration to save Patricia's life. Later, Patricia is attacked on the street by the same group of girls, who rip up her schoolbooks and notebooks.
Patricia works part-time in the store owned by the kindly Mr. Goldberg; her meager wages support her widowed father, an alcoholic who is alternately abusive and apologetic. In a nicely-conceived scene, Patricia finds her drunken father on the floor, and he mumbles that he can see her (dead) mother. Later, Patricia herself gets drunk and tells her father, "I just wanted to see my mother, too."
One night, while her father is out boozing, Patricia is assaulted in her apartment. [Although the director takes pains in this scene to not reveal the rapist's face, immediately before this sequence we see Jimmy and the gang of schoolgirls participating in a drug-fueled orgy.] She is unable to see her attacker's face, but she does feel a scar [which looks like a caterpillar made of gray Playdoh] on the muscular man's back. Her father, stumbling into the apartment, is struck and killed by the rapist, who escapes.
Héctor, a sympathetic police detective, starts searching gyms for the scarred rapist bodybuilder. [At this point, brief shots of a blonde hooker strolling New York's streets begin to be periodically intercut with the other action. These are not explained until the end of the movie, but sharp-eyed viewers will figure it out earlier.] Meanwhile, Patricia tries to get on with her life, but is struck another blow: Mr. Goldberg has a heart attack and dies in his store ("Harry's Bargain Center"). However, every cloud has a silver lining: the elderly man leaves Patricia $500,000 in his will.
Patricia, now a platinum blonde, returns to the swim club and orders one of her former persecutors--María--to change into a more conservative bathing suit (the kind Patricia was wearing before her earlier ordeal) and then instructs María to "kiss my feet" at knifepoint! The two women engage in a frenzied catfight before several men carry the kicking and screaming Patricia away.
Patricia now owns the "Chateau Caribe" nightclub [a real-life Manhattan spot], and, oddly enough, also performs there as an exotic dancer. Detective Héctor visits her dressing room but declines the offer of a drink. "You don't drink, you don't smoke...what do you do?" Patricia asks. "Love you, perhaps," he replies, before confessing he has no clues in her case. A short time later, a gangster introduces himself to Patricia and says his boss would like to use her as a numbers banker. Not wanting to deal with "the Mafia," Patricia refuses but changes her mind when the gangster offers to help her find the man with the scar on his back. [As they are talking, another woman is performing on stage, revealing "herself" to be a transvestite at the conclusion--this is the same guy in drag who dances in Love After Death.] This leads to a bizarre couple of scenes in which Patricia and the mafioso stroll into gyms and stare at the guys working out. The gangster even holds some bodybuilders at gunpoint (!) while Patricia embraces them and feels their backs to see if the scar (a surprising number of the men have back-scars) is the same as the rapist's. [In an amusing bit, both the bodybuilders and the gangster are turned on by this display.]
Driving home from one of these sessions, Patricia spots her school "friend" María being abducted by a couple of guys. After a car chase, Patricia confronts the men and frees María at gunpoint, then gives her a job as her personal assistant. Little does she know that this was all a set-up by Maria and her boyfriend Jimmy the lifeguard-bodybuilder-rapist.
Coming home, Patricia is ambushed in her apartment by the gangster, angry that she decided to break off relations with the Mafia (they wanted her to add prostitution and drugs to the deal). However, Jimmy comes to her rescue, thrashing and then ejecting the criminal. Patricia immediately falls in love with Jimmy. The next sequence is another jaw-dropper, a party in a rather bare NY apartment. As Jimmy and Patricia slow-dance, the other guests are shown in various fantasy scenes--first the (clothed) men see the women naked, then they all indulge in sex (including one lesbian couple), then the women reject the men, then everyone is fully-clothed once more! Meanwhile, Jimmy and Patricia continue to dance, sometimes appearing alone in the room (= the lovers are in their own world, I guess).
The romantic relationship between Jimmy and Patricia irritates María, but she doesn't blow his cover. [In fact, she later tells Patricia a lie about Jimmy's "lucky" presence in the apartment during the attempted Mafia "hit." This scene seems a bit out of chronological order.]
Patricia apparently agrees to go back into business with the Mafia after a meeting with their boss. In yet another shocking (and in this case, irrelevant sequence), the first gangster goes home and catches his wife (or girlfriend) naked in bed with another guy. The gangster cuts off the man's head (!) and places it on a bedside table, then drowns his wife in the bathtub! [Keep in mind that we never saw either of these people before. This is really the only extraneous sequence in an otherwise straightforward, if intrincately-plotted, movie.] Afterwards, the mafioso leaves to pick up a shipment of drugs and Patricia (who's been trailing him), shoots him to death.
Later, as María tries to crack Patricia's safe to get all of that sweet, sweet cash, Jimmy distracts the boss by sexing her up. Sadly, when Patricia embraces her new boyfriend, she fondles his back-scar and--"Hijo de puta!"--realizes he's the guy who raped her and murdered her father. Jimmy knocks Patricia out (he decides not to kill her, though) and flees. When Patricia wakes up, she and a bodyguard catch María opening the safe--the guard calls the cops while Patricia sets off to catch Jimmy, who's waiting for María to arrive with the loot. Patricia shoots Jimmy in the leg but doesn't finish him off. Héctor (phoned by the guard) shows up in time to kill a Mafia hitman gunning for Patricia. The film concludes with shots of a contemplative Patricia sitting on the shore, thinking about the romantic interludes she had with Jimmy?!
Tigresa includes lots of director Glauco del Mar's trademark giant closeups of people's faces. There is a lot of nudity and simulated sex, but this is much better integrated into the plot than it was in Love After Death. This time, in addition to straight sex, we get rape, two transvestites, several lesbian scenes, the aforementioned "fondling male bodybuilders," and a fairly explicit exotic dance (the only instance of full frontal nudity in the picture), another frequent del Mar motif. In the latter scene (actually the third number in the movie, after Patricia's act and the transvestite's dance), some amusing audience reaction-shots are edited in, including one of a man who is so transfixed by the dancer--a brunette who rubs up against a carved black column on stage--that his date waves her hand in front of his face to break the spell! [This is reminiscent of a scene in El Callao in which a man nearly "drinks" from an ashtray while staring fixedly at a stripper on stage.]
The lovely Perla Faith is not an especially animated actress, but she performs well in Tigresa, and is especially convincing as the rather down-trodden brunette Patricia. The scenes in which she is abused by the schoolgirl gang, exploited by her father, and befriended by the elderly Mr. Goldberg are particularly touching and effective. Cindy Lee (assuming she is "María") is also good, while the male performers are adequate.