Julián Barsky

La Loba: The movie that Gardel never shot

n 1917 Carlos Gardel was requested to appear in the shooting of the motion picture “Flor de durazno” on which he was to have a leading role. The movie, directed by Francisco Defilippis Novoa (a man who came from theater), narrated a melodramatic story with a criollista style. It was based on the novel with the same name by the widely known Hugo Wast. “Flor de durazno” starred a group of actors who would later have an interesting career in the incipient local industry, such as Argentino Gómez, Rosa Bozán and, mainly, Ilde Pirovano.

For a long time people thought that Carlos Gardel had also appeared in the second silent movie, entitled “La Loba” and directed by the same Defilippis Novoa. A film apparently lost which, according to the historian Roberto Di Chiara in his book “El cine mudo argentino” (Argentine silent movies): «We may hazard a hypothesis about the disappearance of this tape based on the poor treat the films underwent by that time, added to the frequent fires that happened at the film libraries due to the combustion of the silver nitrate of the tapes. It might have also been because of Gardel’s decision that, unsatisfied with the movie, he may have ordered to take it out of circulation».

That motion picture, in fact, existed. Based on the theater play (a three-act dramatic comedy) which in 1920 was premiered by the Ángela Tesada company, the movie was premiered in Buenos Aires on April 14, 1924, at the Callao Theatre (27 Callao Street), later switched to The American (Córdoba and Callao) and, finally, to the Cristal Palace (1550 Corrientes Street).

On Tuesday, April 15, in the section “Películas Nacionales” of the La Nación journal, the following commentary appeared: «The Brisset Film yesterday premiered “La Loba”, a national movie based on the theatrical play with the same name, whose author is D. F. Defillippis Novoa. [...] The main characters of “La Loba”, played by the actresses Gloria Ferrándiz, Nelly Olmos and Consuelo Glad, carry out, like the actor Argentino Gómez, a praiseworthy labor, that deserves applause».

As we can see, the presence of the same director and of several of the actors of “Flor de durazno” had led to this mistake, which has been repeated in many studies about Gardel.