Perfect Crime

Knowing the truth, no one could blame Pablo for snapping and murdering his wife. In 20 years of marriage, she turned into a frantic hypochondriac, faked illness, and gave herself bruises to implicate Pablo. So her kills her, acidifies her bones, and displays then in the window of his taxidermy shop. No, Skeleton of Mrs. Morales is not fond of light humor.

Sadistic, even twisted comedy plays in front of the camera, expertly shot and composed too. It’s beautiful in a gruesome way. In a sociological twist unlikely to stick with modern audiences, Skeleton of Mrs. Morales sides with Pablo (Arturo ds Cordova) entirely – he’s flawless, the absolute victim, and the woman screaming abuse the actual abuser. Now, this feels like a cruel mockery, if at the time, satirizing weepy Spanish dramas.

Key to defending Skeleton of Mrs. Morales is the Catholic presence. A priest and a congregation visit almost daily, empathetic to Gloria (Amparo Rivelles) as she feigns various sickness, posturing for their pity in a bed surrounded by religious symbology. It’s a ludicrous act, yet the church – literally – envisions her as a saint. Meanwhile, Pablo is outside playing with kids, puppies, and working during the day. The contrast is hilariously skewed. The religious hypocrisy? Ceaseless.

a brutally morbid, comically ironic twist ending solidifies Skeleton of Mrs. Morales as a gem

Cordova’s performance creates a man content and happy. His taxidermy work brings him joy. While flawed (he has hots for the maid), his genial demeanor turns him into an instant working class hero. Rivelles then plays things to extremes, mocking dramatic tropes. The two divergent sides make for easy (if pitch black) laughs.

Midway through, in a bar conversation with friends, Pablo casually discusses murder. He’s confident; he knows the mistakes happen after the act when stress and anxiety take hold. Yet in Pablo’s case, killing his wife removes those jitters. He’s better off, and so arrogant as to confess his crime post-acquittal.

Skeleton of Mrs. Morales does make a point though – no crime is perfect. Pablo let a detail slip his mind, setting up a brutally morbid, comically ironic twist ending that solidifies Skeleton of Mrs. Morales as a gem. After belittling religion as a joke and warnings that God will judge, Pablo’s oversight comes at a cost. Amoral as Skeleton of Mrs. Morales seems, the final moments bring judgment to all, and a cap to a death-focused farce that feels righteous.

Video

VCI debuts a 4K scan to US Blu-ray, the resulting imagery inconsistent if, more often than not, richly detailed. Facial definition and texture rise to dazzling levels. Sharp cinematography looks fondly at close-ups, creating consistent results. With few anomalies, grain holds true, resolved by the encode.

Gray scale is punctuated by weightiness on both ends. Black sinks to occasional crush, contrast mild clipping. In-between shades tend to fall to the wayside, if enough to maintain dimension. Clean-up contains most print damage. Marginal dirt, a scratch here and there, and some flicker add limited age.

If there’s any great concern, that comes back to sharpening. Hard edges produce halos, certainly a digital artifact on an otherwise organic print. That’s unnecessary, and unfortunate on such a gorgeous presentation.

Audio

A light static runs along the PCM mix, but only occasionally. The mono track nicely handles dialog, decades taking only slight fidelity.

The small score holds up. Highs and lows perform well, pure enough to match other classics on Blu-ray.

Extras

Nothing, sadly.

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The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales
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Movie

Dark, satirical comedy takes the lead in The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales, leading to an unforgettable finale that brings the themes together.

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