1934, July 4 – PREMIERE OF “RIACHUELO”

Producer Angel Mentasti took a big gamble on “Riachuelo”…to complete the film, he had to liquidate his own assets…to his relief,  Riachuelo was a big success; it cost 80,000 pesos to make and in the first year alone grossed 1 million pesos…Riachuelo was the third film of an innovative trilogy concept that Mentasti had come up with…film making from the  beginning was a roll of the dice; expensive to produce and dependent on the tastes of a fickle public…Mentasti’s idea was a three film project which would pool costs, minimize risks, attract investor and appeal to distributors…part of the strategy was to market the first film only at the production inception of the second and thus hopefully stoke the sense of expectation…the first film “Tango” which premiered in 1933 was not only successful but would create a model for popular tango films which would be seen all over the world…

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However the second film “Dancing”, in which dancing legend Tito Luisardo debuted, was a commercial failure and his investors diappeared…”Riachuelo” was directed by Jose Moglia Barth and starred renown comic actor Luis Sandrini…the music was composed by the mythically absent-minded Edgardo Donato, composer of the immortal “A Media Luz”…in the film Sandrini plays “Berretin” a clever pickpocket, a loveable rascal who lives on an old tug boat on the river….eventually he robs a poor family but when he returns the money, the young and lovely daughter gives him a kiss which inspires him to mend his ways; eventually he marries the girl…the film was a critical success and it helped to launch Sandrini’s career as a beloved comedic actor…Sandrini came from a family of actors, immigrants from Genova, Italy…he began to learn his craft working as a clown with his parents in the circus…it is on the set of “Tango” that he first met Tita Merello; he would become the great love in Tita’s life but he would eventually leave her for a younger woman

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