El Vampiro negro (The Black Vampire). 1953. Argentina. Directed by Román Viñoly Barreto. In Spanish; English subtitles. 90 min.
Screenplay by Alberto Etchebehere, Román Viñoly Barreto, based on the film M, written by Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang. With Olga Zubarry, Roberto Escalada, Nathán Pinzón, Nelly Panizza, Pascual Pelliciota. For decades one of the great “missing” films in the noir canon had been Joseph Losey’s 1951 remake of Fritz Lang’s classic 1931 German masterpiece M, which transposed the tale of a Dusseldorf child killer to Los Angeles. Now that Losey’s film has finally been restored by The Library of Congress, it’s time to reveal an even more mysterious and virtually unknown second remake of Lang’s seminal thriller: The Black Vampire, a startlingly revisionist take on the dark fable, made in Buenos Aires in 1953. Argentine beauty Olga Zubarry stars as a cabaret performer trying to protect her young daughter from the mysterious murderer while parrying the advances of the investigator in charge (Roberto Escalada). Popular character actor Nathán Pinzón gives an against-type performance as the disturbed pedophile hiding in plain sight. Sensational cinematography by Anibal González Paz helps make this film every bit as worthy as Losey’s American remake, and the script’s inventive proto-feminist reimaging of the storyline confirms The Black Vampire as a major rediscovery. Presented in a new subtitled 35mm print from the Film Noir Foundation Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive