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Hardly a Criminal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apenas un delincuente
Apenas un delincuente afiche.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHugo Fregonese
Written byRaimundo Calcagno
Israel Chas de Cruz
StarringTito Alonso
CinematographyRoque Giaccovino
Edited byTulio Demicheli
Jorge Gárate
Release date
  • 1949 (1949)

Hardly a Criminal (Spanish: Apenas un delincuente) is a 1949 Argentine crime drama directed by Hugo Fregonese. It was written by Raimundo Calcagno and Israel Chas de Cruz. The film started the director's Hollywood film directing career. It was re-released in theatres a few times during the 21st century.

In a survey of the 100 greatest films of Argentine cinema carried out by the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken in 2000, the film reached the 10th position.[1] In a new version of the survey organized in 2022 by the specialized magazines La vida útil, Taipei and La tierra quema, presented at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the film reached the 27th position.[2]


After losing his money to gambling, José Moran decides to embezzle a large amount of money from the company that employs him. Moran thinks that he will only be locked up in prison for six years once his employer discovers the embezzlement. He plans to use the money after his term is finished. Six years later, the place where he hid the money is now gone which leads to both the police and criminals trying to find it.



It was mostly filmed on streets in Buenos Aires.[4] James Mason decided to act in Fregonese's 1950 film One Way Street, when it had the working title Death on a Side Street, once he watched Hardly a Criminal.[5][6]


The film's producers hoped that it would be successful in the United States with English subtitles.[4] After the film's 1949 showing at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the director and his wife Faith Domergue held a party for multiple guests.[7]

In 2014, the film and One Way Street was released at the Noir City: Hollywood, 16th Annual Festival of Film Noir program at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre.[8] It was a part of the Death is My Dance Partner: Film Noir in Postwar Argentina program, which had six features that were filmed within the time of Peronism (1949–1956), at the Museum of Modern Art in 2016.[9] It was released with 35 mm movie film and a new English dubbing by the UCLA Film and Television Archive's Film Noir Foundation Collection.[10] In 2020, the film was a selection at the 18th Annual San Francisco Film Noir Festival.[11]


Critics from Buenos Aires in 1949 said that it was Argentina's "outstanding film of the year".[4] The film started the director's Hollywood film directing career. The American Cinematheque said that the film is "the best Argentine noir of the 1940s" and that it "is an audacious blending of Naked City and Brute Force".[8] Nicolas Rapold of Film Comment wrote, "While lacking the snap of American counterparts, its laying bare of masculine pride and familial shame was hard to shake."[12]


  1. ^ "Las 100 mejores del periodo 1933-1999 del Cine Argentino". La mirada cautiva. Buenos Aires: Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken (3): 6–14. 2000. Archived from the original on 21 November 2022. Retrieved 21 November 2022 – via Encuesta de cine argentino 2022 on Google Drive.
  2. ^ "Top 100" (in Spanish). Encuesta de cine argentino 2022. 11 November 2022. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Hardly a Criminal". Moviefone. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "'Criminal' Film Boosted". Lexington Herald-Leader. Lexington, Kentucky. 2 November 1949. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  5. ^ Hopper, Hedda (22 November 1949). "In Hollywood". The Newark Advocate. Newark, Ohio – via
  6. ^ "One Way Street". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Here and there". Daily News. Los Angeles, California. 5 August 1949 – via
  8. ^ a b "Hardly a Criminal / One Way Street". American Cinematheque. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  9. ^ Pinkerton, Nick (10 February 2016). "Nick Pinkerton on "Death Is My Dance Partner" at the Museum of Modern Art". Artforum. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Apenas un delincuente (Hardly a Criminal)". MoMA PS1. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  11. ^ Rist, Peter (July 2020). "Noir City International: the 18th Annual San Francisco Film Noir Festival, 24 January – 2 February, 2020, "It's a bitter little world" Part 2". Offscreen. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  12. ^ Rapold, Nicolas (18 November 2015). "Festivals: Venice". Film Comment. Retrieved 26 March 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 November 2022, at 15:48
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