Vargas: This could be very bad for us.
Susan: For us?
Vargas: For Mexico, I mean.
The "us" of his statement is revelatory, for Vargas is a man of international repute, a man who one might describe as caring more for his causes than for the cause of love. Indeed, studio execs complained to Welles and changed some of his scenes on account of what they saw as the unbelievability of Vargas' quick abandonment of his brand-new wife for the chase of the murderer. In a 58-page memorandum, outlining his disagreement with their reediting of his film—a problem Wells would face on nearly every one of his movies—the director explained Vargas' character this way:
an incident which, although it had no personal bearing on
either one of them, the man considers as a matter of his
urgent professional concern. This feeling of responsibility
by Vargas is, of course, an expression of the basic theme
of the whole picture; further, his wife (stet) resistance to such
masculine idealism, her failure, and even refusal to understand,
is human and very feminine reaction which any audience can
grasp easily and sympathize with. She is, after all, in a foreign
country and has been subjected to a series of indignities which
irritate and bewilder her, and which her husband fails to
completely appreciate. Vargas' behavior and her reaction, make
it necessary to dramatize and underline this temporary misunder-
standing between them. By minimizing it; by sweetening their
relationship at the wrong moment, and warming it up at
precisely where the distance separating the man and woman
should be at its greatest, there is a sharp loss in dimension, and
both Vargas and Susan emerge as stock characters - the sort
of routine "romantic leads" to be found in any programme
Schwartz: Well, Hank was a great detective all right.
Tanya: And a lousy cop.
Schwartz: Is that all you have to say from him?
Tanya: He was some kind of man... What does it matter what
you say about people?