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The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales
El Esqueleto de la senora Morales
Arturo de Cordova, Amparo Rivelles
Directed by Rogelia A Gonzalez
Black and white
Spanish with English subtitles
Mexico 1960
Facets 2006

The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales / El Esqueleto de la Senora Morales is the Mexican adaptation of a British gothic short story, The Islington Mystery, by Arthur Machen. Gonzalez has put together an interesting mix of dark comedy that veers into an original will he get away with murder mystery halfway through.

Pablo Morales (Arturo de Cordova) is a taxidermist married to a hypochondriac self-pitying church mouse of a woman (Amparo Rivelles). Though he tries hard to get along, there is no pleasing her. She eventually pushes one button too many and Pablo decides to get rid of her as he has figured out how to commit the perfect murder. He is also aware that the hitch to a perfect murder is the criminal always forgets one small detail.

Arturo de Cordova and Amparo Rivelles are great in the leading roles. Morales is a knowledgeable director who can balance comedy, the odd horror movie shot that adds to the comic aspect, and the usual ingredients of a good mystery.

There is a lot of dark humor in The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales / El Esqueleto de la Senora Morales. The short trial scene at the end is superb, showing how well Morales has set up the ingredients to his perfect murder. Another good bit is associated to the confirmation of Mrs. Morales' suspicions about the relationship between her husband and the servant girl.

The DVD features the original Spanish soundtrack with very good English subtitles. The blacks and whites do sometimes darken and lighten from scene to scene but not enough to bother the average viewer.