The Gay Desperado

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Pablo Braganza (Leo Carrillo) is a Mexican bandit who leads a band of rogues, but he wants to make his men a little more organized. After he watches an American gangster movie, Pablo sees what he wants and decides to turn his band into a well oiled machines, much like the Chicago mobsters seen in the picture. He also wants to have his own personal singer, so he kidnaps a young opera singer named Chivo (Nino Martini), who is performing as a cowboy of late. This seems like a strange and unusual plan, but it seems to work out well enough, until Pablo forces Chivo to take on a mission, which involves taking a young couple hostage. The target of this plan is the son of a wealthy American man, which should yield a good price in ransom, but also involved is the man’s fiancee, Jane (Ida Lupino). As you can imagine, Chivo is unable to carry off the mission as planned, but in the end, perhaps he will discover just how glad he is to have been chosen for the plan, thanks to the lovely Jane’s companionship.

I had heard a lot about this film before, but this was the first chance I’ve had to sit down and watch The Gay Desperado. I knew it was a comedy of errors and on the silly side, so I wasn’t expecting a serious movie by any means. I think a lot of flack is given to this flick because of the outlandish humor at times, but I found The Gay Desperado to be hilarious and if silly, only in a very good fashion. This is by no means a classic, but I think it is a memorable and very fun movie, which can be more than enough reason to like a picture. I really loved the performance of Ida Lupino also, who shines in her role here and really lights up the screen. After this, I am sure I will look into even more of her efforts. This is a madcap romp of a movie, filled with strange twists, outrageous moments, and a lot of laughs thrown in, I loved every second of it and as such, am giving it a good recommendation. This disc is bare bones, but features a restored visual presentation and the film alone makes this worth a rental, at the very least.

I haven’t seen as many of her films as I’d like, but I have seen more than a few of them and I think Ida Lupino is a terrific performer. Of course, her innocent good looks add a lot to her turns, but she also had a good sense of timing and delivery, which shows in this film. I’m by no means an expert on cinema from this time period, but I favor Lupino as one of the better workers, in terms of females within this type of role. Her comic sense is excellent, but even in more dramatic moments, she never misses a mark. Other films with Lupino include Yours For The Asking, Let’s Get Married, High Sierra, Pillow To Post, The Man I Love, and Artists & Models. The cast of The Gay Desperado also includes Nino Martini (Here’s To Romance, Music For Madame), Mischa Auer (Bachelor In Paris, Naughty Girl), Harold Huber (Charlie Chan In Rio, A Gentleman After Dark), and Leo Carrillo (Satan’s Cradle, American Empire).

Video: How does it look?

The Gay Desperado is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. This transfer features a restored image, which was handled by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. As this is my first time seeing the film, I can’t comment on the work done, but I was pleased with the transfer, in all respects. The source print shows some debris and damage, but not that much and some scenes look excellent. The black & white image looks sharp and well defined also, thanks to accurate black levels that allow for a strong level of detail. I was unsure of what to expect with this transfer, but I have to say, I think this is a solid visual treatment, although I can’t say for sure what impact the restoration efforts had.

Audio: How does it sound?

A basic mono track is used here and while it isn’t that special, it handles the basics and that proves to be enough. There is minimal hiss or distortion present, which means the elements can surface in clean, fine form. I suppose the music is the most limited of the elements, but it sounds clean and never muffled, so no complaints there. What sound effects are present also sound good, while dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. I doubt many will find this track to be that memorable, but the basics are covered and that’s enough in this case.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc contains no bonus materials.

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