Friday, February 19, 2021

Deep Diving into "Tintorera"

Quite a few years back, a good friend of mine went on a binge of shark-related movies. In the wake of Jaws (1975), there were scads of them (and they saw something of a revival when the inane Sharknado,  2013, unexpectedly scored with some viewers.) He e-mailed me to say that I really needed to see one called Tintorera (1977) because it had a level of homoerotic flavor to it and featured lots of footage of men wearing skimpy Speedos. While my interest was indeed piqued over that, I never found myself in a position to see the movie... until recently. To say that it instantaneously became my very favorite shark movie is an understatement. I don't want to take anything way from the expertly crafted and highly suspenseful Jaws, but I would re-watch that one a lot more often if it had the benefit of not only a tidal wave of Speedos in it but also the stunning charms of one Andres Garcia. Garcia was utterly new to me before this, but I will certainly never forget him now.

The structure of Tintorera is unusual (and the film was edited into a plethora of versions, making it hard to ever see the whole thing just the way it was intended and with all the desired moments intact.) There was a 126-minute release and an 83-minute one - and apparently the content can differ even within these renditions. Also, though the movie is principally about a vacationing man played by Hugo Stiglitz, top-billing goes to someone who only appears in part of the story. The movie, it must be said, caused a bit of a stir over the fact that any time a fish is killed in the film, it is real and not simulated. I have to say I barely allowed any of the fish (or even shark!) sequences to register as I was generally distracted by other things as I watched... Now we will embark on a photo essay. Not every picture will have (or need!) a caption as I work through the highlights of this eye-popping flick.

Stiglitz arrives on board a large luxury yacht anchored on the eastern coast of Mexico. Not the bleached houseboy in impossibly short shorts...

Things are snug in the galley, and not just the working space.

After decades of observing and documenting countless bulges of TV and the cinema, I may have found the most pronounced one ever...! I mean, his balls are one cough away from coming out the bottom of these minuscule shorts!

His houseboy, by the way, sort of resembles a less-handsome, badly-dyed Javier Bardem.

Stiglitz heads to the beach in a flimsy red Speedo and begins trying to woo Fiona Lewis, who's there vacationing and in no mood for commitment.

His offering of a huge tray of drinks does the trick!

There is gorgeous scenery highlighted throughout the movie, which helps make the most out of the limited budget. (It's also very attractively photographed.)

Despite his having made an impression on Lewis, Stiglitz soon finds himself alone.

It looks like she has moved on to what's behind Umbrella #1...

An indignant Stiglitz comes ashore to see what it is she's been doing with her free time.

He's not happy at all to seem to have been tossed aside for a Mexican beach bum.

This is when we are introduced to the glorious face of one Andres Garcia! Sadly, Stiglitz doesn't let that stop him from socking Garcia right in the kisser over his possessiveness towards Lewis!

Nevertheless, Lewis continues to see Garcia - and who can blame her?! He's sex on a stick.

For reasons known only to her, she gets out of bed the next morning, leaving Garcia this way. (You'd have to use a stick of TNT to evacuate me from there...)

He awakens to find her not only gone from their love bed, but gone from Mexico, with him getting stuck with the hotel bill!

Later, Stiglitz runs into Garcia again at an outdoor cantina and they nearly come to blows, though Garcia uses his charm to win the man over.

He also offers to share two slutty sisters he's been chatting up that afternoon. I love, love, LOVE his l'il swimsuit here.

A recurring image when it comes to Garcia is his handling of various bottles which was strategically placed.

Can you see the tip of his Corona? LOL

That evening, the foursome is strolling back to Stiglitz's yacht and - after Garcia takes a quick pee in the water - they decide to swim to the vessel rather than take a smaller craft. Naturally, this requires getting naked. An excited Garcia literally hops out of his pants.

"Hello, Allegiant? How much is one-way fare to Cancun? Yes, I'll hold..."

On board the yacht, Garcia locates some champagne. Note the positioning of the bottle. He even reaches down to adjust the tip...!

Everyone is naked and the couples take turns with one another. ("I love the seventies..!")

The gals have jumped ship and swum back to shore, but Garcia and Stiglitz indulge in some male bonding.

Again with the position of the bottle.

The newly-formed buddies decide to dive overboard and race to shore.

Stiglitz wins, prompting Garcia to refer to him as having duck feet.

Garcia is revealed to be a scuba instructor who manages to engage in some mouth-to-mouth underwater with his trainees. I loved this suit on him, too.

Now the dynamic duo is on the prowl again and they see something they both like...

This time it's vacationer Susan George, the top-billed star of the film. She puts up precious little resistance and, in fact, can't make up her mind who she likes more.

So why choose at all?! She ends up in the same bed with both men. A little nibble of Garcia...

...followed by a slurp of Stiglitz!

The next morning she finds a bare-assed Garcia getting the breakfast table ready. (And, yes, he does have fleeting frontal nudity here as well.)

Stiglitz isn't exactly overdressed for the occasion either, wearing only an apron as he scrambles their eggs.

After breakfast, George is about to go for a swim... whether she likes it or not! (Don't worry. She will!) Garcia has more brief frontal nudity here. Strangely, it is snipped from the "uncut" version of the movie and only appears in the shorter version...!

You know, I like the movie Summer Lovers (1982), but the MMF dynamics here are more my speed than the triangle found in that film.

George has some ground rules.

She wants there to be no love between them, but also no jealousy. And also no other women. (How convenient!)

An example of the beautiful setting for the film (if you can see past Stiglitz' wedgie...)

Just another evening of strumming his instrument...

..while Garcia prepares to pop his cork!

The four S-es of this movie: Smoking, Swilling, Swimming & Screwing!

It is now their one-month anniversary and they toast to the occasion. George has also bought them each a wedding ring to wear.

Decisions, decisions.

Smooth & light or dark & hairy. I have my own mind made up, but Susan doesn't have to pick!

It all seems like bliss. But unfortunately nothing lasts forever.

As the film wears on, Stiglitz finds himself alone again. He desolately roams the beaches looking for love while forever having a lengthy cigarette ash dangling precariously.

One of the gals who may be a potential datemate is non other than Priscilla Barnes in one of her earliest roles.

Within three years, she'd be a replacement cast member on Three's Company. She does have a flattering topless scene in Tintorera (at 23 it could hardly be anything but!) I won't go on any further with the plot (was there one??) But this post is not yet through. 

Everything you've seen above is from the 83-minute version of the film I watched. But I later got a gander at the 126-minute version. Some of the additional content is dull footage of Stiglitz being sick in a hospital bed, which is what had prompted him to take this extended vacation in the first place. And some scenes were slightly extended or in a different order.

We see a lot more of Stiglitz' green gingham suit (with coordinating sun visor!)

We also discover how the previously naked Garcia wound up with a blue swimsuit on the morning after that foursome with the sisters. He borrowed it from Stiglitz (and I dare say filled it out a heck of a lot better.)

After their little race to shore, there is an extended scene between them which is not in the shorter version.

This bulgy scene with Garcia's white pants is also absent in the abbreviated version.

The breakfast scene begins first with George seeing Stiglitz in his apron before coming upon Garcia.

There's also this moment when George expresses to the men that she wants to give birth to the first baby born born of two fathers. (I take it she didn't pay all that close attention during high school science class.)

This refers to the difference in color and framing. The shot above is from the widescreen 83-minute movie, just after Garcia notices that Lewis has disappeared on him. Note the stunning colors of the sunrise and the cropping.

This is the same moment in the cropped (VHS) version. Not as nice colors, but we get to see that Garcia was actually naked as he walked outside to look for Lewis.

But the real thrill of the longer version of the film was a lengthy prologue featuring Garcia, making his part about a big as Stiglitz'! He's shown cavorting in the resort swimming pool and staking out his prey as a gigolo.

He's in the right place at the right time to rescue a wealthy woman's hat which has blown off.

Never does he wear more than this in the opening sequence!

He uses his underwater wiles on her whenever her older husband isn't looking

At night he skulks along the fountain's edge...

...scales the hotel architecture (without benefit of a stunt double!) and gymnastically hurls himself onto her balcony.

I mean....

Once he's done his good deed, he snatches payment and proceeds to exit.

Brazenly, he slithers out past the woman's husband and out the front door!

But there, a surprise awaits him in the form of a hulking bodyguard!

He deftly weasels his way out of getting caught in the act of adultery. This whole sequence, especially as I am now such a fan of Garcia, was a delightful surprise to see. There are other subtle differences in the versions. (And some NOT so subtle. For some reason, the audio track for the uncut length one was lost. Hence the recognizable British voices of Lewis and George are replaced with flat American ones!)
:::::::VIEWER ALERT - Tintorera (83-min) is airing on TCM tonight/tomorrow at 3:45am EST:::::::

The name Hugo Stiglitz does not trip off the tongue of very many U.S. film fans, but the Mexican-born actor has led a busy, busy career in movies and television projects from 1969 up to the present day. Nearly 20 of his credits are for this film's director Rene Cardona Jr. Several of Cardona's movies made their way (usually dubbed) into American theaters in the 1970s including Survive! (1976), The Bermuda Triangle (1978) and Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1979) - all of these featuring Stiglitz. Now 80, he continues to act in various movies in his homeland. By the way, his name was used by fan Quentin Tarantino for a character in 2009's Inglourious Basterds.

As for Garcia, I was obviously quite taken with the utter hunk. One year younger than Stiglitz, and born in The Dominican Republic to Spanish parents, he began working on screen in 1967. He eventually became a highly popular sex symbol and eventually emerged as a sought after performer on soap operas, in action movies and as a model in photo-romance novels.

Those lips, those eyes.

As you can see, he aged into a handsome silver daddy!

The End!