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  Tintorera Three's Company
Year: 1977
Director: René Cardona Jr
Stars: Susan George, Hugo Stiglitz, Andrés García, Fiona Lewis, Eleazar García, Roberto Guzmán, Jennifer Ashley, Laura Lyons, Carlos East, Priscilla Barnes, Pamela Garner, Erika Carlsson
Genre: Horror, Trash, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Steven (Hugo Stiglitz) has been recommended to take time off from work after a nervous breakdown, so after spending some time in a hospital to recuperate he heads down to Mexico and a private boat off the coast, near an island. Already there is Miguel (Andrés García) who is pretty much a gigolo, romancing the female holidaymakers and taking payment for it into the bargain. Steven doesn't know it yet, but he is about to become very close to Miguel - that is if a large tiger shark, known as tintorera in those parts, doesn't come between them...

Steven Spielberg's Jaws inspired a small tidal wave of imitations, and from all around the world. This one was a co-production between Mexico and Britain, but if you were hoping for some shark attack action, then you would be let down by a script, adapted from Ramón Bravo's novel by director René Cardona Jr, which appeared to think, ah, forget all that fishy stuff, what we really want to see is a prime slice of Mexican soap opera. And for ninety minutes, or over two hours if you were punishing yourself with the original version, that's precisely what was on offer.

Although she is top-billed here, and the biggest star name on the international stage, Susan George didn't appear until the film was around halfway over. Before that stage the love interest for Steven and Miguel was played by Fiona Lewis as Patricia, apparently, like the rest of the cast, simply there to soak up the sun on a holiday that so happens to be paid for. At first there is a macho rivalry between the two men, but when Patricia mysteriously disappears they find common ground. Not because they're mourning her loss, no, she barely gets a mention for the rest of the film, but because the story is working up to a twist.

What happened to Patricia? Well, she's one of the victims of that shark, but don't kid yourself this is some kind of tightly-plotted gorefest as there are about three attacks in total throughout the running time, they last about twenty seconds each, and simply seem to have been included to get rid of awkward characters. Mainly this all gets worked up about a novel theme, the three way relationship, not so much a love triangle as a romantic arrangement. So who is the lucky girl in the middle of these two he-men? Why, it's Susan, playing Gabriella and finally turning up at the point where we'd almost forgotten about her.

The only real connections to Jaws are that there is a lot of this spent by the sea and there's a shark in it - apart from that it really does look like the cast and crew fancied a sunkissed vacation and went for it. Gabriella walks into the two heroes' lives and they all come to an understanding which sees her shared between them, making Tintorera one of the few films that sees this kind of relationship successful. There are no thrills here, even the attacks on people are far outnumbered by people's attacks on fish, prompting one to wonder if this is perhaps Jaws rewritten for marine life to watch. Never mind that it's difficult to work up much sympathy for anyone in this, so flimsy are their personalities, it doesn't take the advice of any shark you'd care to ask: if you stop moving, you die, and Tintorera does exactly that. Music by Basil Poledouris.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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