EL ENMASCARADO DE PLATA (1952 MEXICO) D/W: RENE CARDONA W: RAMON OBON/JOSE G. CRUZ P: ANTONIO DE CASTILLO/GREGORIO WALERSTEIN (uncredited)
The legendary masked wrestler El Santo (the real "enmascarado de plata", or silver-masked man) started life as a bad guy wrestler, but with the help of Jose G. Cruz's hugely popular comic books, became a household name hero of the ring, a living icon (not to mention, movie star). But when it came time for the original masked wrestler-as-action hero movie (discounting HURACAN RAMIREZ earlier in the year, more of a wrestling drama), Santo wasn't interested (his debut wouldn't be until 1958's BRAIN OF EVIL). Enter El Medico Asesino, another masked wrestler (in a surgeon's smock!). He rides a motorcycle, hangs out in a Strickfaden-like lab and battles trouble-making gangsters who take orders from another villainous masked wrestler (!) with a closed-circuit tv, some kind of storm machine and groovy thunderbolts on his costume and mask. But the most stylish wrestler (yes another one) here is El Tigre, with his black-and-white-striped mask, and matching gloves! This b/w rarity was originally shot as a serial for the U.S. Market, but there is no evidence that it played north of the border. The Mexican feature version runs an ungodly 122 mins, and has some cliffhanger moments, like an escape from an electric chair. The acting is awful. All of this background is much more interesting than the actual film, a real bore from beginning to end unfortunately. A teen Rene Cardona Jr. (the Director's son, whose first Santo entry as Director, in collaboration with dad, was 1967's OPERATION 67) is a homeless orphan. With Victor Junco, Crox Alvarado, Luis Aldas, Aurora Segura, Carlos Muzquiz, Guillermo Hernandez, Jose Puido, Julio Ahuet, Roberto G. Rivera, Felipe Montoya, Ignacio Peon and musical turns (in a club) from Hermanitas Julian (a female singing trio) and Cuco Sanchez. El Medico returned in 1970's THE CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE.

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