Thunder Among the Leaves

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Thunder Among the Leaves
Original 1958 theatrical release poster
Directed by Armando Bó
Produced by Nicolas Bó
Written by Augusto Roa Bastos
Based on La hija del ministro
by Augusto Roa Bastos
Music by
Cinematography Enrique Walfisch
Edited by Roselino Caterbetti
Distributed by Films AM
Release date
October 2, 1958
Running time
99 minutes
Country Argentina
Language Spanish

Thunder Among the Leaves (Spanish: El trueno entre las hojas) is a 1958 Argentine drama film directed by Armando Bó, starring himself, Isabel Sarli, Ernesto Báez and Andrés Laszlo. The screenplay by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos was based on his short story La hija del ministro.[1][2] Set in Paraguay, the story is about a strike at a sawmill.[3]

The first film to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema, Thunder Among the Leaves scandalized audiences and became a major box office success in the continent. It rocketed Sarli to stardom, and is now considered a cult classic.[4]


The arrival of the young wife of the boss to the workshop where they are exploited unceremoniously naked in the workers the accumulated tension after so many years of deprivation.[5]


  • Armando Bó as Julio Guillén
  • Isabel Sarli as Flavia Forkel
  • Andrés Laszlo as Max Forkel
  • Ernesto Báez as Capanga
  • Félix Ribero
  • Luis Leguisamón
  • Eladio Martínez
  • Leandro S. Cacavelos
  • Roque Centurión Miranda
  • Aníbal Romero
  • Matías Ferreira Díaz
  • Javier Franco
  • Alejo Vargas
  • Nieves Esquivel
  • Tabú
  • Adolfo Cuellar
  • Luis Guastalla
  • Kika Da Silva
  • Manuel E. B. Argüello
  • Guillermo Ketterer
  • Rafael Rojas Doria
  • Amador García
  • César Alvarez Blanco


Authors have described the aesthetics of the film reminiscent of those by Hugo del Carril and Mario Soffici because of its social commentary.[6] Some have described Bó's work as feuilleton, as he regained its generic guidelines described by Arnold Hauser: a predilection for the exaggerated, crude and exotic; in the case of Thunder Among the Leaves in a scene in which Julio (Bó) rapes Flavia (Sarli).[6] It is said that Sarli's inclusion in the film was inspired by Brigitte Bardot's role in And God Created Woman.[6]

Initially, Bó didn't wanted Sarli for the role, because "she was not an actress"; But producer, Nicolas Bó, who put the budget for the film, insisted and Isabel was cast.

The bath scene[edit]

During principal photography, Bó convinced Sarli to be naked in a scene in which she bathed in a lake, although she was previously told she would wear a flesh-colored bodystocking.[7][8] Although Bó told Sarli they would shoot from afar, the camera had magnification.[7]


The film was a highly controversial box-office success; it has been described as a "boom" and "scandalous" and shocked the mostly Catholic Argentine society.[9][10] Argentine newspaper La Nación wrote in 1969 that "[t]he film had an extraordinary international impact, thus constituting in Argentina, one of the biggest blockbusters registered over the last years."[11] In November 1958, The News and Courier reported "[a] saucy Latin lass has smashed South American box office records with the most daring dunking since Hedy Lamarr disrobed to fame in Ecstasy."[12] The movie's premiere in Montevideo, Uruguay broke box office records, and Sarli's bath scene "rocked some Latin American capitals".[12] In April 1959, Brian Bell of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote "[t]here was nothing particularly exciting about the movie except Miss Sarli, in a birthday suit swimming scene. It was a smash in South America."[13] However, Sarli was panned by fellow filmmakers for the nude scene.[12]

Cultural impact[edit]

Movie audiences have discovered that a dip in the nude can be extremely refreshing. [...] ... bathing sequences in Isabel's first movie, The Thunder Among the Leaves, made the film an instantaneous box-office smash and Isabel a star. In pointed contrast to the Bardot school of scenery, it is interesting to note that there is virtually nothing childlish about Isabel's charms.
Playboy Magazine, April 1960[14]

The film featured the later sex-symbol Isabel Sarli in her first starring role, and marked the beginning of her partnership with future husband Armando Bó, which would span almost three decades and made numerous sexploitation films.[9][15][16] Now considered a classic,[7][9] the bath scene was the first one to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema.[8][16]

The News and Courier wrote "[t]he opening in Buenos Aires was hailed as the start of a new era for Argentina's movie industry" after the end of Juan Perón's service as President, and thus his propaganda techniques.[12] Thunder Among the Leaves was the star vehicle for Sarli, and made her and Bó internationally renowned.[17] The nude scene, particularly, is said to have "[sparked] her star phenomena".[15]

The film had made her so popular, that in the premiere of her second film with Bó, Sabaleros (1959), a crowd of young fans mobbed her, ripping her dress and breaking through a police cordon as she got to the cinema, causing Sarli to faint twice.[18] The Star-Banner reported "Buenos Aires moviegoers could not remember a more surprising and delirious reception for an Argentine movie actress."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marín, Ricardo (12 June 2007). "Roa Bastos: su obra cinematográfica". La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Augusto Roa Bastos y la literatura de América latina" (in Spanish). 28 April 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Sadoul, Georges (1983). Historia del cine mundial: desde los orígenes. Siglo XXII. p. 386. ISBN 978-9682305337. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "La Coca Sarli y Armando Bo vuelven al cine". 26 Noticias (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Arnaud, Charlotte; Collectif; Courtemanche, Philippe; Fernandes, Carla; Morsch Kihn, Eva (1999). Cinémas d'Amérique latine N° 7/1999. Presses Univ. du Mirail. ISBN 978-2858164479. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Papic, Diego (1 October 2008). "La noche en que nació el mito". Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "La saga de los Bó". Rolling Stone Spain (in Spanish). 24 July 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "A 50 años del debut de Isabel Sarli en el cine". Perfil (in Spanish). 1 October 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Vallejos, Soledad (2001). "La Coca y nada más". Página/12 (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "La belleza y talento de Isabel Sarli". La Nación (in Spanish). 14 December 1959. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Summerlin, Sam (9 November 1958). "Stardom Follows Nude Movie Bath". The News and Courier. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Bell, Brian (9 April 1959). "Girls Chase Him; He Chases Them". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Wild Belle of the Pampas". Playboy. 7 (4): 64–67. April 1960. 
  15. ^ a b Ruétalo, Victoria; Tierney, Dolores (2009). Latsploitation, Exploitation Cinemas, and Latin America. Routledge. pp. 201–213. ISBN 9780203878927. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Papic, Diego (26 October 2008). "El tronar de la Coca en Mendoza". Estilo (in Spanish). Los Andes. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mar del Plata Fest gears up for new edition". Buenos Aires Herald. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Giraldez, Veronica (8 April 1959). "Argentine Finds Answer To Brigitte". Star-Banner. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 

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