La Banda De La
A young priest would do anything for charity and justice, even infiltrating the underworld to stop a band that disguise in cassocks to commit their crimes.
The film was written and directed by José Loza, who started on his career as a teen actor in Los olvidados (Luis Buñuel, 1950). Loza was a prolific screenplay writer and director.
La banda de la sotana negra was based on the namesake corrido, written by Cándido Rodríguez Patiño.
The movie was shot in Mexico City and in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. A few sequences were taken at the resaca in the Agrasánchez family’s backyard in Los Fresnos, Texas. That resaca substituted the Rio Grande in this movie, as in several others produced by the Agrasánchez company.
The story is about a young Catholic priest that arrives in Matamoros to serve in a very poor parish. He is willing to do anything to improve his parishioners’ wellbeing. When a ‘cholo’ and his band steal the cassocks from the church and begin to use them as disguise to commit their crimes, the young clergyman decides to pose as a tough guy to infiltrate the underworld and stop the gang.
Edgardo Gazcón is excellent as the priest; a character that combines faith and a truthful intention to help his community with the audacity of youth. Gazcón comes from two families that have been in the Mexican film industry for three generations. He started on his cinematic career as a child actor. A few years ago, he quit acting and became a renowned journalist in Los Angeles.
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez is the ‘cholo’, the leader of the cassock-clad band. Rodríguez is a famous action film actor. His performance in this movie is outstanding; he is ruthless, but not brutal, and engages in crime in sort of a cheerful manner. His use of the ‘cholo’ slang is quite good.
Álvaro Zermeño is another criminal that runs a cabaret to hide his main business: drug trafficking. Lyn May is the star performer at the night club, and Gallardo’s live-in girlfriend. Ms. May does a pair of exotic, risqué dance numbers in the movie.
René Cardona Sr., a legendary and prolific filmmaker/producer/actor has a relevant role as the elderly curate at the parish that supports the young priest’s efforts.
Though there is violence in the movie, it is rather mild, and profanity is scarce. The movie is somehow lighthearted, and in the end criminals are defeated, and the curate and priest are able to complete their most cherished project: a home for abandoned children and elderly people.
‘Los broncos de Reynosa’ and ‘Los Troqueros’ perform the songs in the movie, while renowned Ernesto Cortázar Jr, son of the famous namesake composer, was the musical director.
Corrido de la Banda de la Sotana Negra – anonymous
Corrido de Cándido Rodríguez – anonymous
De Tijuana a Matamoros – Cándido Rodríguez Patiño