“There are wonderful films waiting to be discovered from all over the world. And in the case of Skeleton of Mrs. Morales, you don’t have to travel that far from Hollywood to find a classic.”
by Martin Hafer
I love films from all over the world and I understand that this makes me kind of weird–particularly here in the United States where most folk have little tolerance for subtitles. Perhaps it’s because I have seen and reviewed so many films that I often look for something different–and Skeleton of Mrs. Morales certainly fits the bill–and in a very good way.
In the past, I’ve written some articles about cheesy Mexican films–such as the Aztec mummy films and the luchador (masked wrestler) films of the 60s and 70s. These films are pretty bad, but also are wonderful for a good laugh. But this does not mean that all Mexican films of yesterday are bad or silly–there are plenty of wonderful older Mexican movies that I’ve seen and I hope to see many more. For examples, the comedies of Cantinflas are quite charming and Pedro Infante’s musicals are quite enjoyable–plus I am always hopeful that readers will write to me to recommend their favorites (hint, hint–please send me the names of your favorites at email@example.com)!
Skeleton of Mrs. Morales is an interesting tale because it’s one of the few older films I’ve seen that would seem to endorse murder! Like the wonderful Hollywood film The Suspect (with Charles Laughton), the story is about a nice man who is married to a truly horrible woman. However, Mrs. Morales is unusual in her awfulness because she is two-faced.
To her many friends in the local church and her extended family, she is a virtual saint who is forced to live with a terrible husband who drinks too much, abuses her and is irreverent. However, this is all part of Mrs. Morales’ sick personality disorder. He is actually a very good husband and tries to love her, but she is both frigid and very cruel towards him–and being married to her is impossible.
She wants others to think she’s a martyr for staying with such a monster and he just wants a wife who will love him and so he puts up with a lot during their long and very unhappy marriage. All the while, most audience members are hoping that Dr. Morales will either leave this woman or kill her. I was rooting for him to kill her–especially after she smashes the camera he saved up to buy for two years and then convinced her friends that he beat her! What’s next? Well, the word ‘skeleton’ is in the title…so you might be able to guess some of what will happen. However, like all wonderful dark comedies, guessing exactly what will happen is just about impossible! And it featured such a twist at the ending that it just kept me smiling.
The bottom line is that while the majority of people are more likely to watch a modern Hollywood movie, there are wonderful films waiting to be discovered from all over the world. And in the case of Skeleton of Mrs. Morales, you don’t have to travel that far from Hollywood to find a classic.