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In memory of Elda Peralta

In 1954, Cinema Reporter 832, in the "Reporteando" section written by the magazine's director Roberto Cantú Robert, mentioned Luis Spota as a regular visitor to producer Pedro Galindo's forums: “Sure, you can see Elda Peralta's angelic face over there”. He was referring to the filming of Pecado mortal directed by Miguel M. Delgado and inspired by the radio soap opera by Caridad Bravo Adams. In it, Elda Peralta (1932-2024) played a sort of rural femme fatale, seductive, ambitious, and unscrupulous, alongside a cast that included the blind heroine Gloria Marín, her daughter Silvia Pinal, who is unaware of her relationship, Marín's evil husband Víctor Junco and the romantic hero who restores her sight Ramón Gay. By then, the great writer and screenwriter Luis Spota and Elda Peralta would end up being one of the model couples in a fascinating and cruel environment such as the Mexican cinema of that time, where machismo and a strong patriarchal vision prevailed and somehow skewed the career of a beautiful, intelligent, elegant and sensitive actress, such as Elda Peralta, who passed away last week.

Elda Peralta

María Elda Peralta Ayala was born in Hermosillo, Sonora in 1932. She came from a family of distinguished ancestry that lost its property in the years following the Revolution. Like her sisters, she studied English in the United States and later the family moved to Mexico City. As a splendid tennis player, she met Spota, with whom she began a relationship that would last until the writer died in 1985. Thus, after appearing fleetingly in Cinco rostros de mujer (1946) and Soledad (1947), it is said that, determined to make a career as an actress, Spota had gotten her a main role in which she would make her big debut; however, the director of the film tried to make a pass at her and she refused. She would have a small cameo in the film, but at the moment of her performance, Spota entered without permission to the forum, and the director, annoyed, commented to the nervous Elda that a young actress should not have “boyfriends”. The writer clarified that he was not there for her, but for him, since he intended to become a director.

In 1949, Elda started her career as a supporting actress in films like El charro del Cristo, Hipócrita —plot by Spota— and La Negra Angustias. In the latter, she portrayed the girlfriend of an engineer facing execution, while María Elena Marqués played an arrogant revolutionary troubled by her skin color. These films were directed by Matilde Landeta, one of the few female directors who challenged the male-dominated film industry. It would be Landeta who would give her a greater opportunity in Trotacalles (1951) in the role of María, a prostitute who pays for the sin of her naivety and sister of Elena, the protagonist played by Miroslava, besieged by the exploiter of women played by Ernesto Alonso, who ends up murdering Peralta's character.