Noirvember 2021, Episode 13: The Beast Must Die (1952)
The Beast Must Die (La bestia debe morir, 1952) directed by Román Viñoly Barreto
Based on the 1936 novel by Nicholas Blake (pen name for Cecil Day-Lewis, father of Daniel Day-Lewis), The Beast Must Die finds mystery writer Felix Lane (Narciso Ibáñez Menta) mourning the death of his nine-year-old son, killed in a hit-and-run accident. Lane doesn’t even wait for the authorities to investigate. He changes his identity and searches for the killer himself. Yet Lane’s investigation takes him to some places he isn’t prepared for.
If you’ve read Blake’s original novel (and you should), you’ll immediately recognize that the film doesn’t follow the book’s sequence of events, which results in a rich, mysterious journey allowing its characters to develop in a unique way.
I don’t want to tell you much more about this picture, other than to say you should see it. If you’re a hardcore noir fan, you’ll want to own it, and it’s worth a blind buy.
This release includes an introduction by Eddie Muller, a conversation between Argentine film archivist and historian Fernando Martín Peña and Daniel Viñoly, son of visionary director Román Viñoly Barreto, a profile of actor Narciso Ibáñez Menta by film historian Fernando Martín Peña, an audio commentary by author and film historian Guido Segal, a souvenir booklet with an essay by Segal as well as rare, original photos, posters, lobby cards, and advertisements.