The Pearl (film)

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La perla
The Pearl (1948 three sheet poster).jpg
U.S. theatrical release poster
Directed byEmilio Fernández
Produced byÓscar Dancigers
Screenplay byJohn Steinbeck
Emilio Fernández
Jack Wagner
Based onThe Pearl
by John Steinbeck
StarringPedro Armendáriz
María Elena Marqués
Fernando Wagner
Charles Rooner
Music byAntonio Díaz Conde
CinematographyGabriel Figueroa
Edited byGloria Schoemann
Águila Films
RKO Radio Pictures
Film Asociados Mexico-Americanos
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Películas Mexicanas (Peli-Mex)
Release date
  • September 12, 1947 (1947-09-12) (Mexico)
  • February 17, 1948 (1948-02-17) (United States)
Running time
85 minutes
United States
Languages2 versions:

La perla (The Pearl) is a 1947 Mexican-American film directed by Emilio Fernández. It is based on the 1947 novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

In 2002, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Plot summary[edit]

In a fishing village in La Paz, Mexico, pearl fisherman Kino (Armendáriz) and his wife Juana (Marqués) are in anguish because their infant son Coyotito was stung by a scorpion. The nearest doctor, a foreigner, refuses to treat him without adequate payment and he is taken instead to a traditional healer (curandero). Later, the doctor and his brother (Wagner), a loan shark, meet Kino after he finds a valuable pearl and they decide to steal it from him.



Spanish-language poster

Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New York Times, liked the film, writing, "An exceptional motion picture, both in content and genesis, is the beautiful and disturbing filmization of John Steinbeck's novelette, The Pearl, which reached an appropriate showcase at the Sutton Theatre yesterday. Exceptional it is in genesis by virtue of the fact that it was made in Mexico by a Mexican company with Mexican actors who speak English throughout. And extraordinary it is in content through the benefit of a story of primitive power, told with immaculate integrity through an eloquent camera."[1]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review and wrote, "Though the film is clumsy in its characterizations, the shimmering gorgeous black-and-white photography by cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa makes the film seem potent."[2]



  1. ^ Crother, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, February 18, 1948. Accessed: June 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, May 18, 2005. Accessed: June 29, 2013.

External links[edit]