SANTO: LA LEYENDA DEL ENMASCARADO DE PLATA

Santo: la leyenda del Enmascarado de Plata [Santo: the Legend of the Silver-Masked One]

(Televicine, 1992)

Exec Prod: Gabriela Obregón; Dir/Scr: Gilberto de Anda; Photo: Francisco Bojórquez; Music: Jorge Castro; Prod Mgr: Jaime Alvaro; Asst Dir: José Amezquita; Film Ed: Enrique Murillo; Camera Op: Alejandro Martínez; Action Co-ord: Alfredo Ramírez; Makeup: Guillermina Oropeza; Sound Eng: Miguel Sandoval

CAST: El Hijo del Santo (himself), Ernesto Gómez Cruz (Lucas Pereda López), Tony Bravo (Marcos Arriaga), Daniela Castro (Martha), Carlos Suárez (himself), Erik Sánchez (Benito), José Carlos Ruiz (don Severo), Luis Guevara (licenciado), Rojo Graw [sic] (Santito), Gilberto de Anda (arena cop), Alfredo Ramírez (projectionist), Daniel García (Santo); WRESTLERS: El Tirante, Espanto Jr., Blue Panther, Tornado, Cobarde

NOTES: This is an interesting, if not completely successful film which combines some factual elements with a lot of fiction. The first section of the film alternates two separate stories: in a provincial town, the greedy don Severo attempts to obtain the farm owned by Marcos Arriaga, a widower with a young son (Benito), who is a big fan of El Santo. Meanwhile, in the capital, El Santo suffers a heart attack and dies. His son, who has been wrestling as El Hombre Rojo, meets with his father's manager Carlos Suárez. Carlos takes the young man to a house owned by El Santo, and gives him a key to a box that holds the "original" silver mask. Carlos says it has "special power," and urges El Hijo to put it on. However, El Hijo does not feel worthy to assume his father's position, and continues to wrestle as El Hombre Rojo.

Meanwhile, Marcos is arrested at the behest of don Severo, and Benito leaves for the city to ask for El Santo's help. The boy arrives and is befriended by streetcleaner Lucas, who introduces him to "Santito," a sort of gangster. When Benito explains that he wants to see the famous wrestler, the men tell him that El Santo is dead, but his son is alive. Benito sadly gets on a bus to go home. Back in the countryside, Marcos has holed up in his house with a shotgun. Don Severo gives him 24 hours to vacate or else.

El Hijo, through the machinations of Carlos and the other wrestlers, has finally decided to put on a silver mask (but not THE mask) and wrestle as El Hijo del Santo. He wins the bout and dons the "magic" mask. Benito gets home in time to see don Severo and his thugs besieging his father's house. He runs inside. As the house starts to burn, El Hijo del Santo (wearing a full silver costume, rather than the bare-chested look his father preferred) drives up in his fancy car and blasts a hole in a wall with laser beams so Marcos and Benito can escape. His metal wristbands deflect bullets; one of the bands, when tossed, causes don Severo's car to crash. Don Severo: "Who are you?" El Hijo: "Your worst nightmare." Don Severo renounces his claims to the farm.

Back in his father's house, El Hijo speaks to the full-length portrait of El Santo on the wall: "From now on, the responsibility will be mine. And I accept it--with pride." The film ends with a printed title: "This is not the end...it is the beginning of a new era. The adventure has just begun."

Santo: la leyenda... is a well-mounted film that is not as good as it could have been: too much footage is spent on Benito and his problems (indicating that the film was trying to capture the juvenile audience), and El Hijo has only a brief flurry of action in the final moments, although there is a fair amount of arena wrestling footage. The scenes with El Santo (played--uncredited--by Daniel García, who wore the mask of "Huracán Ramírez" in most of the films featuring that wrestling hero character) are good, and El Santo's secret hideaway (filled with memorabilia and crime-fighting equipment) is pretty neat. There is even one clever dialogue exchange: Martha, the girlfriend of Marcos, tells the greedy don Severo, "I hope you rot in your money." Don Severo blithely replies, "It would be a nice way to die."

The death of El Santo is recreated in fairly realistic fashion, but the film deviates from the facts in its depiction of El Hijo's reluctance to wrestle wearing the silver mask. In reality, El Santo had (several times) publicly designated his son as his heir (one such ceremony was even shown in Chanoc y el Hijo del Santo contra los vampiros), symbolically handing over his mask.

Unfortunately, despite the printed epilogue, it appears that this film was not successful enough to warrant a series starring El Hijo del Santo (or else El Hijo wasn't interested in continuing as a film "actor").


dw45@umail.umd.edu