(1964), Color/Scope, 87 minutes
Distributed by Trans-International Films
Presented by K. Gordon Murray
Produced by K. Gordon Murray
Sound Editor: J. R. Remy
Assistant Editor: Charles Gaunci
Sound Engineer: Thomas Finucane
Directed by Manuel San Fernando
Voices: Paul Nagel, Marge Nagel
Cast: Elmo Michel (el Lobo Feroz/the Big Bad Wolf), Rafael Munoz/”el Enano” Santanon (el Zorrillito Apestoso/Stinky the Skunk), Ariadne Welter (Princess Christiana), Alondra “nina Marina Torres Banquells” (Alondra), Ofelia Guilmain (Queen Cornelia the Cruel), Antonio Raxel (King Wilfred), Miguel Manzano (the Chancellor Belmar), Quintin Bulnes (Prince Michel), Xavier Loya (Prince Eugene), Antonio Brillas (the Chancellor Othon), Armando Gutierrez (Rubial), Elvira Lodi, Victorio Blanco, Edmundo Espino, Roberto Porter, Ruben Marquez, Rafael Munoz
THE QUEEN’S SWORDSMAN is an amazing and strange fairy tale, with action, humor, and a touch of the perverse, perhaps the most polished of all the Rodriguez fairy tales, and sadly, also the last.
The Ferocious Wolf (called “Big Bad” here)and Stinky the Skunk, beloved cohorts of Little Red Riding Hood in her three filmed adventures, are the stars of this very “Red”-like adventure-fantasy. And what stars! They play life partners who are bringing up a little Caucasian girl who sleeps with alligators! Here, the Freudian implications of the Caperucita series are taken to surreal levels, in a film that comes as close to shocking taboo in several areas (homosexuality, incest, single-sex marriage, bestiality) as any other film geared towards children. Some fans have even considered the film’s title to be code (“The Gay Phallus”) for the blatant sexual subtext.
For better or worse, we get to see more of Wolfie and Stinky’s domestic life than we had ever seen before (and perhaps would even care to), although much of the housekeeping ritual seems reminiscent of scenes in LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND HER FRIENDS. Basically, Stinky likes to sew while Wolfie beats him up.
Darker or cynical considerations aside, THE QUEEN’S SWORDSMAN is a great little fantasy, with fine action and wacky songs, a haunting score by Sergio Guerrero, and some truly memorable moments. In many ways it is the penultimate Rodriguez fairy tale.
This film is a real treat for Ariadne Welter fans; not only is she great as Princess Christiana, but we also get to see an eye-popping shot of her, dress ripped, bare thigh and hip exposed, as she awaits the torture chamber! This stunning shot is pure exploitation, something fun and rare to see in kiddie cinema.
The dubbed songs here are seriously bizarre. The lyrics are simply ridiculous, and the rhythm is all off. The resultant tunes come across as either very bad or very avant-garde, depending on your mood.
The middle portion of THE QUEEN’S SWORDSMAN weighs in as a predictable yet pleasant melodrama of the “Three Musketeers”-like variety. But the main plot, that of finding a good (human) home for our precocious little “wild child” Alondra, leads to some tear-jerking moments worthy of “legit” cinema.
The last reel returns us to a sense of great fun and adventure, along with a terribly sad ending, leaving us with the conviction that THE QUEEN’S SWORDSMAN is the crown jewel of Mexican fairy tales.
* (effective 05-01-03) After a very brief window of availability, this long-sought K. Gordon Murray title is once again out of print, due to international copyright issues. Used video tapes of this title may be found on online video dealers and auction sites. Stay tuned for further developments!
* According to the Azteca Films Database, LOS ESPADACHINES DE LA REINA was finished on January 16, 1961, and premiered on December 23, 1961.
* Murray released this great feature on the bottom of a kiddie matinee double-bill with the baffling short subject SANTA CLAUS AND HIS HELPERS, in the first of what would be several strange Murray double-bills for suburban kiddies.
* THE QUEEN’S SWORDSMAN is yet another Murray film which is considered lost in its US dubbed version, although the original Spanish production is still available on home video. Yet who knows? Something Weird could happen, and QUEEN might turn up when you least expect it…
* Although “the Dwarf” Santanon reprised his role of Stinky the Skunk (aka “el Zorrillito”) from the previous Caperucita films, notably absent is Manuel “Loco” Valdez, who left Ferocious Wolfian chores this time to Elmo Michel. (Hard to believe that a mere four years later, Santanon would play the junkie sadist pervert dwarf in Jack Hill’s incredible SNAKE PEOPLE! Go, Stinky!)
* Curiously, Murray chose to bill “el Loco Feroz” as “the Big Bad Wolf” in this film only, after having billed him as “the Ferocious Wolf” in the Little Red Riding Hood films.