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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Crying Woman")

 

Directed by Ramón Peón
Mexico 1933

 

An early horror classic drawn from Mexico’s rich tradition of folklore, La Llorona recounts the chilling tale of the ‘wailing woman’ who kills herself and her child before returning to haunt the living.

Expressionistic, lyrical and atmospheric, Ramón Peón’s film draws on the influence of Universal Pictures’ contemporaneous horror cycle and incorporates elements of period melodrama and romance. This landmark production in the evolution of Mexican cinema has been newly restored from the only surviving film elements, and is presented here with a selection of essential extras.

***

Llorona is a figure unique to Mexican folklore -- the wailing spirit of a woman who lost or killed her child and now returns to seek revenge and haunt the living. With its framing story and flashback structure, this film sets forth a couple of variations of the story.

Posters and a Book Cover

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1933

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

or buy from INDICATOR:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:10:18.839         
Video

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,980,830,574 bytes

Feature: 19,974,135,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.69 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio Spanish 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, English (SDH) None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,980,830,574 bytes

Feature: 19,974,135,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.69 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary with genre-film experts, critics and authors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman (2022)
• ‘La Llorona’: Ghosts of the Past (2021, 17:01): documentary by Viviana García Besné, the producer’s great granddaughter, relaying a personal history of the film
• Transcending Time (2022, 17:49): Abraham Castillo Flores, head programmer of Mexico’s Mórbido Film Fest, explores the myth and the film
• Lunas y estrellas (2022, 1:38): short compilation of the source print’s distinctive cue marks, which were removed during the restoration
Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Emily Masincup, an archival article on the legend of La Llorona, Valeria Villegas Lindvall on the many cinematic interpretations of La Llorona, an archival newspaper report on the film’s premiere, an overview of contemporary critical responses, Peter Conheim on the restoration of La Llorona, and film credits


Blu-ray Release Date: March 21st
,
2022
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (February 2022): Indicator have transferred Ramón Peón's La llorona to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "New 2K restoration from the only surviving film element by the Cinema Preservation Alliance".

An opening text screen states: "This restoration of LA LLORONA (1933), the first Mexican horror film production made in sound, is based on the sole surviving 16mm projection print and soundtrack of the film known to exist, as all original 35mm materials are thought to be lost or destroyed. The project was completed in 2021 by Permanencia Voluntaria as a collaboration with Filmoteca UNAM, Academy Film Archive and Cinema Preservation Alliance."

The original print required extensive work but I love the heavy textures. Ramón Peón's La llorona had been considered lost for over 1/2 a century. From the liner notes; "La Llorona exists solely in a highly compromised element: a 16mm print, which, itself, was at least three generations removed from the primary source, and suffered from poor lab work. In addition to being generally lacking in fine detail and having a very badly printed soundtrack that made voices difficult to discern, quite a bit of physical damage was 'baked in' from earlier generations of abuse to the source materials." So, I applaud the difficult decisions that had to be made to create this 1080P presentation. They removed the cue blips - saving them as an extra in the supplements. It is certainly worn but the film's impression remains in-tact with the long hours put into the restoration. Hopefully you can embrace the final product as I did as an amazing artifact or art of a film almost lost to time.

NOTE: We have added 46 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original Spanish language. La llorona suffers from it's age and production limitations, and being such and early sound effort, but my buddy Peter Conheim has done wonders to stabilize and make the sounds as consistent as possible. There are occasional examples of hiss and scattered dialogue, but all things considered this audio transfer should be regarded as quite a triumph. There is a score by Max Urban (Dos Monjes), and the film has a prevalent haunting atmosphere with screams and an eerie aura. It works well for a restored film more than 90-years old - especially noting the quality of the only remaining source. Indicator offer optional English and English (SDH) subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Indicator Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Stephen Jones (author of The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror: Evil Lives On in the Land!) and Kim Newman (author of Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s.) They discuss the heavy religious motifs of La llorona, the many unique interpretations of the legend - always told slightly differently - and how men characters are usually corrupt, inept or villainous - among many other details. The commentators are very enthusiastic seeming to gain energy for each other comments. There is so much to unearth in that they had plenty to fill the 1-hour 10-minutes with insightful observations and keen comparisons to modern films - even Universal's early Horror cycle. There are some video supplements as well. ‘La Llorona’: Ghosts of the Past is a new 17-minute documentary by Viviana García Besné, the producer’s great granddaughter, relaying a personal history of the film. Transcending Time is also new running a shade longer and has Abraham Castillo Flores, head programmer of Mexico’s Mórbido Film Fest, exploring the myth and the film. He's quite interesting - perhaps Mexico's version of Kim Newman? Lunas y estrellas is a short compilation of the source print’s distinctive cue marks (cigarette burns) - stars and moons etc. shapes, which were removed during the restoration. It was put together by Michael Brooke. The package has a limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Emily Masincup, an archival article on the legend of La Llorona, Valeria Villegas Lindvall on the many cinematic interpretations of La Llorona, an archival newspaper report on the film’s premiere, an overview of contemporary critical responses, Peter Conheim on the restoration of La Llorona, and film credits. 

Ramón Peón's La llorona is a wonderful step back in time with curious cultural motifs and effective horror conventions. I hope this is a new trend to delve deeper into early Mexican genre cinema. We should feel quite privileged in two ways - to simply see 1933's La llorona and that Indicator and their passionate staff have brought it to Blu-ray. The commentary and extras provide an edifying context to appreciate this rarity in one complete package (limited to 4,000 copies.) Don't hesitate.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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