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Tintorera poster.jpg
US theatrical poster
Directed byRené Cardona Jr.
Produced byGerald Green
Written byRené Cardona Jr.
StarringSusan George
Hugo Stiglitz
Andrés García
Fiona Lewis
Jennifer Ashley
Music byBasil Poledouris
CinematographyRamón Bravo
Distributed byUnited Film Distribution Company
Release date
  • April 7, 1977 (1977-04-07) (Mexico)
  • August 10, 1977 (1977-08-10) (Sweden)
Running time
  • 126 minutes (Mexico)
  • 85 minutes (Sweden)
United Kingdom

Tintorera is a 1977 Mexican-British[1][2] horror film directed by René Cardona Jr. and starring Susan George, Hugo Stiglitz, Fiona Lewis and Andrés García.[3] It is based on the novel of the same name by oceanographer Ramón Bravo, who studied the species of shark known as 'tintorera' (a 19ft shark) and discovered the sleeping sharks of Isla Mujeres. The film, along with many monster movies of the 1970s and 1980s, is very similar to Jaws.[4] It is also known by the alternative title Tintorera: Killer Shark.

Quentin Tarantino paid tribute to this movie at the 8th Morelia International Film Festival, showing a copy from his private collection.[5][6]


Steven (Hugo Stiglitz) a U.S.-born Mexican businessman, arrives in a Mexican resort village on a yacht anchored off shore. One of the local fishermen and the caretaker of the yacht, Colorado (Roberto Guzmán) takes Steven with him when he goes to haul in the sharks he's caught - and he's annoyed to find that another shark has taken a huge bite out of one of them.

Steven then sets his sights on Patricia (Fiona Lewis), an Englishwoman on vacation. They have a whirlwind romance but break up when Steven can't decide if he's in love with her. Steven is extremely jealous, however, when she begins a relationship with Miguel (Andrés García) a womanising swimming instructor at the nearby resort hotel. While Steven stews on the yacht, Patricia and Miguel have sex. Then she goes skinny-dipping in the ocean and is eaten by a large, apparently emphysemic,19-foot-long (5.8 m) tiger shark.

The next day, Steven confronts Miguel in the hotel bar. Miguel tells Steven that Patricia was in love with Steven but she must have returned to England. Neither man ever learns of her true fate. Miguel introduces Steven to two sisters, American college students Kelly and Cynthia Madison (Jennifer Ashley and Laura Lyons). They go on a double date and, at the sisters' suggestion, swim to the yacht for some skinny-dipping. The shark's heavy, labored breathing can clearly be heard but they make it to the boat safely. Kelly and Cynthia then hop back and forth between Miguel's and Steven's beds. They all swim back to shore the next morning and the submerged tiger shark again chooses not to bother them. When Miguel and Steven start a shark hunting business, Miguel tells Steven that if a tiger shark ever appears, they must immediately get out of the water.

One night, Miguel and Steven meet Gabriella (Susan George) a young English tourist. Miguel and Steven take Gabriella shark hunting with them. She's appalled by what they do, but admits her feelings for them have become powerful. The three of them decide to have a triangular relationship; she'll be sexually involved with both of them, but they won't fall in love with her or she with them. They tour the local Mayan archaeological sites together, then retire to the yacht for sex. The next time they go shark hunting, a shark appears and rips Miguel in half.

Gabriella is so upset that she decides to return to England. Steven, meanwhile, vows revenge on the shark, enlisting the local coastguard and fishermen in a campaign to kill the tiger shark and seemingly every other shark in the area. "I hate the bastards", Steven tells the troubled Colonado, who in turn assures him that so many sharks have been killed, the tiger shark must have been one of them. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Steven or Colonado, the tiger shark attacks another small fishing boat and eats two fishermen.

Steven goes to a nighttime beach party with Kelly, Cynthia and two other American women (Priscilla Barnes and Pamela Garner) after the party ends, Kelly and Cynthia suggests more skinny-dipping. This time, the tiger shark attacks, ripping Cynthia from Steven's arms as he tries to make out with her in the water, as well as injuring the other two women, both of whom safely make it ashore. Steven vows to kill the shark himself.

That evening, Steven lures the shark with a devilfish he's speared for the occasion, and when he hears the shark's rasping approach he shoots it with a speargun with an explosive charge. The shark rips off Steven's arm but it's finally destroyed by the explosive. Steven awakens in a hospital room, minus his right arm, thinking happy thoughts about his ménage à trois with Gabriella and Miguel.



Priscilla Barnes, unknown at the time, appears towards the end of the film as a party girl who encounters the shark during night swimming.

The shark in the film was a Tiger shark. Locations were filmed at Isla Mujeres, a resort island near Cancún. All the underwater scenes were filmed with live sharks using the submarine expertise of Ramón Bravo.[7]

Due to the censorship imposed by the Mexican government at the time, there were two versions of the film prepared - the so-called uncut version, with plenty of explicit nudity, for foreign markets, and a cut version for domestic (Mexican) exhibition. It's now possible to find both versions on DVD.

The original English dub in theatres and on video featured the voices of Susan George and Fiona Lewis, who played the two British tourists in the film. However, this dub was later lost and a new one was created with American voice actresses, which is the one used on the DVD.

Release Dates

Some international release dates:

See also


  1. ^ Denis Gifford (April 2016). British Film Catalogue: Two Volume Set - The Fiction Film/The Non-Fiction Film. Routledge, 2016. ISBN 9781317740629.
  2. ^ John Pym (2002). Time Out Film Guide. Penguin Books, 2002, p. 1229. ISBN 9780140294149.
  3. ^ John Kenneth Muir (22 November 2012). Horror Films of the 1970s. McFarland, 2002, p. 513. ISBN 9780786491568.
  4. ^ Amber E. George; J. L. Schatz (27 April 2016). Screening the Nonhuman: Representations of Animal Others in the Media. Lexington Books, 2016, p. 124. ISBN 9781498513753.
  5. ^ "Quentin Tarantino Presents". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  6. ^ "Quentin Tarantino presenta "Tintorera" en el 8° FICM". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Victoria Ruétalo; Dolores Tierney (7 May 2009). Latsploitation, Exploitation Cinemas, and Latin America Routledge Advances in Film Studies. Routledge, 2009. ISBN 9781135848767.
  8. ^ a b Mexico City - Rene Cardona's "Tintorera". Variety. March 16, 1977, page 36.
  9. ^ Emilio García Riera (1992). Historia documental del cine mexicano: 1974-1976 (in Italian). Universidad de Guadalajara, 1992, p. 290. ISBN 9789688956618.
  10. ^ Cronache della Liguria - Prime visioni Savona. La Stampa. August 25, 1977, page 11. (in Italian)
  11. ^ "Tintorera! Meeresungeheuer greifen an (1977)". (in German). Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  12. ^ F Maurice Speed, Film Review 1978-1979, London 1978
  13. ^ "Index to Motion Picture Credits - Tintorera". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  14. ^ Theaters Phoenix - Tintorera - Starts Today The Arizona Republic. June 7, 1978, page 57.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 March 2021, at 19:22
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