Gardel's final film is Piazzolla's first screen appearance.
Penumbra | Atlanta, GA USA | 03/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"According to biographers, of all the films Gardel made during his career "El Dia Que Mi Quieras" was his personal favorite. In 1935 he made both "Tango Bar" and "El Dia Que Mi Quieras" for Paramount in New York. The supporting players are the same and both films were written by Alfredo Le Pera, the lyricist with whom Gardel collaborated on dozens of tangos that have since become standards. The story, while a potboiler, has a more complex plot than usual.
In this story, Julio Argüelles (Gardel) is the scion of a wealthy Buenos Aires family. One dark night he packs his suitcase and runs away from home so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a singer. To avoid causing embarrassment to his family with a show business association, Julio changes his name from Argüelles to Quiroga. There are lots of challenges in Julio's career, notably the two buddies with whom he has formed a trio. As Julio tours the circuit, he meets and falls in love with a young dancer, Margarita (Rosita Morena). In a particularly memorable scene Julio and Margarita sit on a park bench and sing a lovely duet of the title song, "El Dia Que Mi Quieras."
When Julio decides he wants to marry Margarita, he goes to see his father who, among other things, objects to his son marrying a woman who is so far beneath them socially. Father and son break off all remaining ties; such things don't matter to a man in love. Julio and Margarita marry and have a little daughter, Marga. They should be perfectly happy and content, but Margarita has a mysterious illness that has left her weak and bedridden. Although Julio makes the rounds, he cannot find enough work to support the family. Margarita decides she will find work herself. The only thing she knows is dancing, so she drags herself off to an audition where she collapses. Desperate to find the money to buy Margarita's medicine, Julio tries again to speak with his father. When his father sends out a message that he is not at home, Julio breaks into his father's office to attempt to steal the money he needs for Margarita's medical bills. Unfortunately, Julio breaks a vase which rouses the household. A bullet barely misses Julio as he makes his escape through the window. He returns home to find that Margarita's condition has taken a turn for the worse and she is dying.
To escape his memories and the bad associations from his past, Julio decides to leave Argentina and make a tour of Europe. Naturally, he becomes a huge success in Paris. Now there is plenty of money and fame. Years pass. Julio's daughter is now an adult (also played by Rosita Morena). Marga joins her father on stage and is also quite successful. Marga and her boyfriend are planning to marry. As fate would have it, the boyfriend has a wealthy, socially ambitious father who doesn't want his son marrying a dancer. Can Julio finally put aside his grief and do what he must to ensure Marga's happiness?
"El Dia Que Mi Quieras" fulfills its primary function as a vehicle to showcase Gardel's range of talent as a songwriter, singer, and dancer. He also does a fine job as an actor, but that is incidental to his musical abilities. The big numbers here are "El Dia Que Mi Quieras" and "Volver" - two of the most beautiful songs written in the 20th century in any language.
Gardel's final film is also notable for the minuscule (if-you-blink-you'll-miss-him) role of newsboy given to future tango legend, Astor Piazzolla. Piazzolla was born in Argentina, but his family had moved to New York. The 13 year old expat was able to talk his way into a small part in the production and to meet Gardel. Gardel was impressed with Piazzolla and offered him a job on the upcoming tour. Fortunately Piazzolla's father thought he was too young to be on the tour and turned the job down, otherwise Piazzolla probably would have been killed in the plane crash that took the lives of Gardel and Le Pera. Years later, Piazzolla would say that had he taken the job with Gardel he would have ended up playing the harp instead of the bandoneon.
The print they used for this DVD could have been worse, I suppose. There are lots of scratches, dust and artifacts that pop up constantly. Characters mouths are often out of synch with the soundtrack. The DVD has a menu for subtitles in Spanish, English and Portuguese - none of them work. Extras include "Gardel In Color" a colorized collection of songs from other movies. The color here is quite garish and bright and the singing is badly out of synch with the lip movements. Still, it's interesting. There is a film trailer for "El Dia Que Mi Quieras" and trailers for four other films from this company.
There is so much to love about this film. It's a pity that this DVD release is so shoddy. Five stars for the film - but only one star for this careless DVD package. Recommended only for the music and the opportunity to see Gardel's final film (and Piazzolla's first on screen appearance). The bad quality of the print and soundtrack, in addition to lack of working subtitles, will make this difficult to understand - even for some Argentines. If you require subtitles, look for another release."
Two Great Tangos Sang When Gardel Was Nearing Immortality.
Maximiliano F Yofre | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""El Dia que me Quieras" (1935) ("The Day You Love Me") was filmed at NYC in January 1935. Later that year Carlos Gardel will die in an airplane accident.
The story is a classical melodrama scheme: young and rich aficionado singer, Julio, falls in love with beautiful professional dancer, Margarita. At the same time Julio's wealthy father is trying to create an economical alliance marrying his son an heir, to his competitor's daughter.
Obviously Julio will not comply with his father's plans and is expelled from his parent's house.
He marries his sweetheart but is unable to earn his life as a tango singer.
A girl is born to the couple but Margarita fells ill. Desperate Julio stole money from his father's coffer. Unfortunately this money is too late to save Margarita's life.
Around twenty years after Julio has attained fame and money and Marga his daughter is his partner and company's dancer.
As this IS a true melodrama a young and rich chap, Daniel, will fall in love with Marga and once again a strict father oppose the lover's plan.
Will story be repeated? Well let leave at least this little enigma to the viewers.
So the argument is not very original and the whole film is quite naïve, but ... there are two unforgettable Tangos sang by Gardel: the joyful love declaration "El Dia Que Me Quieras" and the mournful "Sus Ojos se Cerraron". Just those feature more than justify buying this DVD.
Gardel's fans and Tango lovers: do not let this musical time capsule go unnoticed!
Reviewed by Max Yofre