The Pearl

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The Pearl (Engl. The Pearl ) is a based on a Mexican Sage amendment to the writer John Steinbeck from 1947.


Near the city of La Paz on California Golf lives of poor Indian fishermen Keno (in English. Original movie ) with his wife Juana and her son Coyotito. One morning Coyotito is stung by a scorpion. When Keno visits a white doctor, he does not want to treat the financially poor son. The next day, Keno and Juana go out to sea and Keno finds a large oyster with a huge, beautiful pearl inside . The news about the find spreads and now the doctor is ready to help, who is supposed to be paid the next day after the pearl has been sold. Keno wants to marry his wife in a church with the money he is hoping for, with new clothes, maybe buy a gun and Coyotito should be able to go to school. During the night someone tries unsuccessfully to steal the pearl. When Keno, his family and a few neighbors tried to sell the pearl together in town, they were told by the pearl buyers that the pearl was too big or "fool's gold", a curiosity, and offered him a relatively small payment of between five hundred and fifteen hundred pesos on.

The angry Keno goes back and is attacked in the evening, this time in front of his hut. While Juana implores him to throw away the pearl, which he doesn't want, Juan Tomas, Keno's brother, is also worried. Just before dawn, Juana wants to throw the pearl into the sea. Keno follows her and stops her, but kills an approaching thief. He finds his boat smashed; Finally, his hut burns down, whereupon he and his family find shelter with Juan Tomas for a day. Several people are now looking for her. The next night, Keno and Juana, who is wearing Coyotito in a cloth on their back, set out north to go to another large city and sell the pearl there. They walk through the night, then stop in a cave and notice three trackers who are obviously following them. So they go on into a mountain range and rest on a hill in the evening. Finally, Keno kills the pursuers, but accidentally, with a rifle shot, his son Coyotito as well. Keno and Juana return to the coast, exhausted, with their dead son. Keno throws the pearl back into the sea in a wide arc.


The story was filmed in 1947 under the name La perla by the Mexican director Emilio Fernández with Pedro Armendáriz and María Elena Marqués in the leading roles. Besides Fernández, Jack Wagner and Steinbeck themselves were involved in the script .

La perla received several awards, was nominated for a Golden Lion in Venice (1947) and won a Golden Globe (1949) and in 1948 a Premio Ariel for Best Picture .

In 1950 it was released in German cinemas under the title Mexican Romance , and in 1964 in the GDR under the title Die Perle .


  • John Steinbeck: The pearl , from d. Americ. by Felix Horst, dtv, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-423-10690-5