Mexico (1914)

La cinta es de las pocas que se filmaron en Estados Unidos donde no aparecieran norteamericanos. La historia se desarrolla entre federales y villistas. Poco aporta sobre esta cinta Emilio García Riera en su obra México visto por el cine extranjero salvo que:

En total, fueron trece los medios y largometrajes norteamericanos de 1914 dedicados a la revolución…

Lo malo fue que de las trece películas, sólo una, México, cinta de cuatro rollos, favorable a los villistas y de director y actores desconocidos, prescindió de héroes norteamericanos. (p. 70)

Anuncio publicado en The Moving Picture World del 7 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. XIX, No. 6, p. 698)
Anuncio publicado en The Moving Picture World del 7 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. XIX, No. 6, p. 698)

Margarita de Orellana en La mirada circular: el cine norteamericano de la Revolución mexicana 1911-1917 comenta sobre esta cinta:

En estas películas se muestra al amor norteamericano lleno de delicadeza, buenos sentimientos y cierta castidad. El mexicano aparece como un ser dotado de una sexualidad incontenible, rasgo que no parece fácil contener, por lo que vemos cómo este desenfrenado amor mexicano se manifiesta muchas veces a través de la violación… ; en México (1914), un soldado federal mexicano intenta violar a la esposa de uno de los hombres de Villa… (p. 171)

Ambos dan una breve sinopsis, muy similares, en las filmografías que acompañan sus respectivas obras. Transcribo la de De Orellana:

López, un joven mexicano, decide unirse a los revolucionarios. Los federales avanzan y Pancho Villa pide a López que se una a sus fuerzas. López deja a su esposa y a su hija a cargo de su suegro, que es médico. Los federales llegan a Ciudad Juárez y entre la tropa viene el brutal teniente Toro. Los federales buscan conscriptos y llegan a casa de López. A Toro le gusta Rosa, la esposa, pero la llegada de un oficial superior evita que le haga daño. Por otra parte, un espía revolucionario es atrapado por Toro y promete a éste conseguirle a la mujer si no le hace daño. Rosa es raptada después de que queman su casa, pero Toro la deja libre por miedo a la corte marcial. El espía regresa al campo revolucionario y le dice a López que su esposa le es infiel. López abandona sin permiso el campo y se encuentra con un centinela federal a quien arroja a un precipicio. Al regresar a casa se da cuenta de que Rosa no le es infiel. Llegan los hombres de Toro y López logra escapar por la ventana. Mata al espía mentiroso pero luego es capturado por los federales y enviado a una corte marcial. Es condenado a muerte pero logra escapar de prisión con ayuda de su suegro. En la última parte de la película los federales son vencidos por los rebeldes. (pp. 192-193)

Anuncio de The Motion Picture News del 14 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. IX, No. 6, p. 9)
Anuncio de The Motion Picture News del 14 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. IX, No. 6, p. 9)

La película tuvo dos anuncios de página entera; uno por semana durante la primera quincena de febrero de 1914. El primero en The Moving Picture World y el segundo en The Motion Picture News.

Sobre esta cinta, los mismos semanarios norteamericanos publicaron dos breves crónicas donde una de ellas está firmada por Hanford C. Judson. La primera, publicada en The Motion Picture News del 21 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. IX, no. 7, p. 35) es, como se acostumbraba en esa época, un boletín de la casa productora, pues era común que se enviara una breve sinopsis de las películas previas a su estreno para ser incluidas en las diversas publicaciones para interesar al público en ellas.

“MEXICO.” (Al Dia Company. Four reels.) — This picture is a drama, a good strong play in which there is a great amount of action. There are numerous fighting scenes which have been directed in a very capable manner. The atmosphere is probably the most noteworthy part of the film and there is hardly a doubt but that the picture was taken in that land of revolution. The story is as follows:

The Motion Picture News del 21 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. IX, No. 7, p. 35)
The Motion Picture News del 21 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. IX, No. 7, p. 35)

Lopez, a youthful farmer, tells his wife, Rosa, that he has been ordered to the front with the Constitutionalist army to which he has sworn allegiance. Toro, a lieutenant in the Federalist army, arrives just after the departure of Lopez, and is struck by the beauty of Rosa. Not finding any conscripts in the house except her old father, he forces him to join the Federals as a surgeon. His attempts to steal Rosa are frustrated and so he calls on a spy he has caught for assistance.

Lopez, hearing from this man that his wife is not true to him, leaves his regiment without permission and goes to his home to ascertain the truth of this assertion. Here he finds out that it is ungrounded, but is captured on his way back to join his regiment. After a trial he is found guilty of being a spy and sentenced to be shot. His old father-in-law manages to free him in a miraculous manner, and after much wandering he rejoins his army.

Together with them he marches against the Federal troops, and after a decisive battle forces them to break and run. Toro, the villain, is killed and steals away to the woods to die.

La segunda, la firmada por Judson, fue publicada en The Moving Picture World del 28 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. XIX, No. 9, p. 1091), cuando ya se había estrenado el filme y los múltiples halagos que prodiga el reseñista, que no crítico, considera entre varios aspectos, que la película es “una bien actuada historia sobre la revolución”; “que proyecta una atmósfera en la pantalla que no se ve muy seguido”; “que el productor tuvo conocimiento de primera mano para la realización del filme” o “que se recrea de forma veraz un campamento revolucionario”, para terminar con una sinopsis de la cinta:

“Mexico”

Well-Acted Story of the Revolution in Four Parts by the Al Dia Feature Film Company

Reviewed by Hanford C. Judson

A touch of real Mexico will be found in the four-part feature of the Al Dia Company. This will set it off as different from many American made pictures dealing with incidents of a somewhat similar nature. Then the story is better than usual. It is a romantic, military melodrama with its main incident sincerely set forth and quite believable. It is helped greatly by many small episodes, bits of business and the like that not only ring true but are filled with suggestions of things different from what we have been used to. It has an atmosphere that has not been on the screen very often. In getting glimpses of Mexican nooks and corners, in seeing what looks like a true revolutionary camp, etc.; the spectator feels that he is getting instruction. The producer of the picture seems to have had a first-hand knowledge of things that went into the making of his story. The acting is natural and effective in portraying the story’s emotions to us.

As it opens we find a young Mexican, Lopez, living in Juarez. He has joined the revolutionary party. The Federals advance toward the town and Lopez receives an order from Villa to join the forces. This he does leaving his wife Rosa, and baby in the care of her father, a doctor. The Federals arrive and with them is Lieutenant Toro, a brutal officer. He breaks into Lopez’s home searching for conscripts and takes a fancy to the wife; but the arrival of his superior officer keeps him from doing her any injury. In a convincing series of scenes a revolutionary spy is now caught on the outskirts of the town. This spy is to be Toro’s agent and is set free after giving a promise to help in capturing Lopez’s wife. An attack is made on the cabin; it is set on fire and Rosa is carried away; but Toro, in fear of a court martial, sets her free and she takes refuge with her father.

The Moving Picture World del 28 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. XIX, No. , p. 1091)
The Moving Picture World del 28 de febrero de 1914 (Vol. XIX, No. 9, p. 1091)

Toro’s next move is to decoy Lopez to the town and destroy him. The spy is sent back to the revolutionary camp and tells Lopez that Rosa is unfaithful. Lopez leaves camp without permission, has a brisk encounter with a Federal sentry whom he throws over a cliff, and finds Rosa still true to him. There is very commendable art in this meeting of wife with husband, and the acting conveys the changing emotion of it to us with justice and sense of proportion. It is followed by the attack of Toro’s men on the house. Lopez is surprised, but makes his escape through the window and as those waiting outside give chase he fires killing the spy; but is himself captured. The court martial scene that follows also evidences the pleasing human qualities of the story that are found all through. Lopez, though defended by a Federal officer as his counsel, is found guilty of being a spy and condemned to death; but is helped by his father-in-law to escape.

The fourth reel is a battle reel and deals mostly with an attack of a band of Federals under Toro and their repulse by the revolutionary forces. The story drags a bit, since only its ends are left to account for; but the action is brisk. The two little armies are well handled and make a good show as they deploy over the hills or collect for a last stand together. Then the fine gallantly ridden horses of the revolutionary cavalry are worth seeing. The offering on the whole will, we think, make a favorable impression on the public. It has been cheaply staged, but even its worst scene set is enough to set the story out and the story is good. One other good point in the story is its directness. The main characters are few and readily distinguished and all is carried through without complications so that one even half-asleep could understand it.

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