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Alfredo Ripstein (1916 – 2007). D.E.P.

23 January 2007

Parral, Chihuahua native son Alfredo Ripstein, whose career as a producer stretched from the 1930s into the new millenium died this weekend, after becoming ill during his 65th wedding anniversary party.  Like so many of his fellow movie moguls north of the border from his era, Ripstein was the son of Jewish immigrants.

Ripstein produced 100 films during his long career.  Though he worked with some of the best (Pedro Infante and Gael Garcia Benal) during his 70 year career, he also produced his share of “churros”:  Pantano de las ánimas (1957), released in English as “Swamp of the Lost Monsters”, which somehow combined your typical Mexican cowboy movie with a hardboiled mystery with a monster movie.  It was so bad, some critics aren’t sure to this day if the whole thing wasn’t a joke.   

In his old age, Ripstein was a major figure in the the new wave of Mexican cinema, producing the internationally acclaimed Callejón de los milagros (1995, released as both Miracle Alley and Midaq Alley in English) and, in 2002’s controversial el Crimen del padre Amaro.  Both these films were based on foreign novels (Miracle Alley on the contemporary Egyptian novel Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz and Padre Amaro on an 1875 work by Portugese novelist, José Maria Eça de Queiroz), recast as Mexican stories in contemporary Mexican settings. 

Ripstein was the father of director Arturo Ripstein. 

Here’s the trailer form Ripstein’s best known (and probably best overall) production:

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