The Bitter Stems

Type: New Blu-Ray


 This rarely seen 1956 film was lauded in its day but only recently rediscovered, hidden away in a private collector’s home outside Buenos Aires.

Blu-ray/DVD Dual-Format Deluxe Edition

Alfredo Gasper, a dissatisfied Buenos Aires newspaperman (Carlos Cores), partners with Paar Liudas, a clever Hungarian refugee (Vassili Lambrinos) who needs money to bring his family from Argentina. Together they create a bogus correspondence school, exploiting the hopes of would-be journalists. As their scheme succeeds beyond their wildest dreams, a mystery woman from Liudas’ past sparks Gasper’s suspicion: his charming colleague may be playing him for a sucker. Soon Gasper finds himself plotting the perfect crime – but fate has many twists in store.

This adaptation of journalist Adolfo Jasca’s award winning novel was acclaimed upon its release, earning top prizes in 1957 from the Argentine critics association for Best Picture, with Fernando Ayala named Best Director. The innovative and evocative score, combining elements of tango, jazz, and classical music, is one of the first film scores by legendary composer Astor Piazolla.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Film Noir Foundation and Argentine cinephile Fernando Martín Peña, a gorgeous new print of The Bitter Stems (Los tallos amargos) was created, by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, from the reconditioned original negative, now presented in its first ever home video release–with special thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust.

Special Features Include:

Introduction by author, film historian, and “noirchaelogist” Eddie Muller.

A newly recorded conversation with Argentine film archivist and historian Fernando Martín Peña.

Profile of legendary composer Astor Piazzolla by author and film historian Steven C. Smith.

Audio commentary track by author and film historian Imogen Sara Smith.

Souvenir booklet featuring rare photos, posters, etc., with an essay by María Elena de las Carreras.