Prisoner Number 13 | Chicago Reader

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Mexican director Fernando de Fuentes first made his mark with this 1933 melodrama, the first in a trilogy that addressed postrevolutionary Mexico's social problems. An embittered, alcoholic army officer (Alfredo del Diestro), haunted by the desertion of his wife and only child, rises to prominence but never abandons the search for his son; a roundup of alleged antigovernment conspirators triggers further corruption among the power elite and pulls the son, now a promising young man, into a snare of his father's devising. The story makes an abrupt turn late, which might seem like an O. Henry-style twist but was actually dictated by the military censors, who disliked the original ending. In Spanish with subtitles. 74 min.

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