The film stars Carlos Cores as a journalist with an inferiority complex who partners with a Hungarian immigrant, played by Vassili Lambrinos, in a fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme that leads to crime and tragedy. Aída Luz, Julia Sandoval, and Pablo Moret also play major characters.
The film's cinematographer, Ricardo Younis, studied under Gregg Toland, who shot Citizen Kane. American Cinematographer magazine named Los tallos amargos one of the “50 Best Photographed Films of All-Time”. Of note is a surreal dream sequence that merges noir photography with elements of German expressionism. The film was scored by Astor Piazzolla.
Los tallos amargos won Silver Condor awards for Best Picture and Best Director in 1957 but was considered lost until it turned up in a private collection in 2014. A 35mm version was subsequently restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, with funding provided by the Film Noir Foundation and Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust, and premiered in February 2016 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When the film played at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood later that year, the presenter noted that while the 35mm negative was rediscovered, the soundtrack remained lost, so the restoration used the track from the director's 16mm print.
- "Los tallos Amargos". TCM Classic Film Festival. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Los Tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems). 1956. Directed by Fernando Ayala". MoMA. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
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