Mexico is marking the centenary of the birth of comedian Mario Moreno, better known throughout Latin America as Cantinflas - a shabby, rambling droopy-pants underdog.

     Cantinflas, who died in 1993, made more than 50 films in a career spanning the 1930s to 1970s. He essentially played the same character in a variety of roles, from bullfighter to teacher to musketeer. But the common theme was the triumph of the little man whose convoluted turn of phrase confused the wealthy and powerful and got him out of endless scrapes. His fame and impact was such that his name has become a verb in Spanish - cantinflear - meaning to ramble absurdly but without really saying anything.

      Cantinflas cultivated his image as a lowly peladito, or slum dweller, and has been seen as a symbol of Mexican national identity. A photographic exhibition in Mexico City celebrates his work, while his films, box office hits in their day, have been showing on television and in cinemas. Cantinflas, whose films remain popular to this day in the Spanish-speaking world, also enjoyed Hollywood success. He won a Golden Globe for his role in the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days, alongside British actor David Niven.

    Charlie Chaplin was a Cantinflas fan, reputedly calling the Mexican the greatest comic alive. For his millions of followers, Cantinflas is definitely in the pantheon of all-time comic greats.


photo posted 2 years ago with 31 notes
tagged: Cantinflas Mexico Mario Moreno Around the World in 80 Days David Niven Charlie Chaplin comic
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