Archivo de la categoría: Películas silentes extranjeras con temática mexicana

Películas extranjeras que contienen referencias a México o a lo mexicano.

Conferencias magistrales en la Cineteca Nacional

La Cineteca Nacional presenta en colaboración con la Academia Mexicana de la Historia un ciclo de conferencias magistrales donde el hilo conductual será el séptimo arte y su relación con aspectos históricos. Las charlas se llevarán a cabo todos los miércoles de junio en la sala 4, Arcady Boytler a las 18:00 hrs. | ENTRADA LIBRE

Conferencias magistrales en la Cineteca Nacional, 2014
4 de junio:
Del cine mudo al cine sonoro
Impartida por el Dr. Aurelio de los Reyes
Película: Programa III: La revolución armada, exhibido en Pordenone, Italia.  A las 19:00 hrs. en la sala 1 habrá una función musicaliza en vivo por el pianista, José Serralde.

11 de junio:
La adolescencia
Impartida por María Paula Noval
Película: Voy a explotar (2008), de Gerardo Naranjo

18 de junio:
La cultura hispano-americana en películas norteamericanas, 1907-1920
Impartida por Alejandra Gómez Camacho.
Película: Ramona (1928), de Edwin Carewe.

25 de junio:
Transición del cine sonoro
Impartida por Eduardo de la Vega Alfaro.
Película: Águilas frente al sol (1932), de Antonio Moreno.

A Mexican Spy in America (1914)

No confundir esta cinta con The Mexican Spy o Girl Spy in Mexico. Esta cinta de la compañía 101 Bison es un caso único donde los mexicanos son representados por hawaianos, pues la cinta se filmó en Honolulu y según la nota ello abona a las similitudes entre Hawaii y Mexico para crear un atmósfera adecuada.

La nota sobre esta cinta se publicó en The Motion Picture News  de julio 18, 1914 (Vol. X, No. 2, p. 56):

«A Mexican Spy in America.» (101 Bison. Two reels. Saturday, July 18.)—This picture was photographed in Honolulu and, due to the similarity between Mexico and Honolulu, the Mexican atmosphere is uppermost in every foot of the picture.

The part of the action that transpires in the United States is supposed to take place on the border, and here, too, the atmosphere is predominant. The Mexicans that appear in the picture, other than the principals, are Hawaiians and these hitter make ideal Mexicans. The drill scenes on the border are most realistic, partly because they are real. Besides these valuable elements of the picture the drama has a new turn to affairs when, in the finale, the hero turns from the heroine even after she has proved herself worthy of him.

The Mexican spy is a friend of the son of the commandant of the United States fort, and when war is declared the spy is commissioned to procure the signal code. He is found out and apprehended before any harm occurs. Marie Walcamp and William Clifford are the principals.

Restauran versión de Ramona (1928) con Dolores del Río

Nota publicada por Angela Aleiss el 27 de marzo de 2014 en La cinta se proyectará el 29 de marzo en el Billy Wilder Theater de UCLA.

Recovered and Restored: Ramona, Silent Movie by Chickasaw Filmmaker

The recently restored 1928 version of Ramona will have its world premiere on March 29 in Los Angeles. Based on a weepy, once-popular novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona tells the story of a mixed-race (Scottish and American Indian) girl who is raised by a Mexican family and suffers racial discrimination. The 1928 film version features internationally acclaimed Mexican actress Dolores del Río in the title role and non-Native actor Warner Baxter as her ill-fated Indian husband Alessandro.

Dolores del Río in 'Ramona' (1928). Photo Courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives
Dolores del Río in ‘Ramona’ (1928). Photo Courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

The lead actors may not have been racially authentic, but the man in the director’s chair was certainly well suited to the material: Edwin Carewe, a Chickasaw filmmaker who directed dozens of films in the silent era.

“Most people don’t realize that Edwin was an American Indian,” says Diane Allen, granddaughter of Carewe. Allen’s grandmother was actress Mary Aiken, who had married Carewe twice, in 1925 and 1929. “Even though he didn’t make films portraying Indians, he chose movies and cast roles that promoted the underdog, especially the female character,” Allen adds.

Ramona has been performed on stage annually since 1923 in Hemet, California — the website of the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater touts the play as both «America’s longest running drama» and the «Official California state outdoor play.» Carewe’s film was the third screen version of Jackson’s novel; the movie is silent with a running time of approximately 80 minutes.

“I think he’s underappreciated,” Allen says of her grandfather. “Really, he was a bit ahead of his time. He was obsessed with the female character and women in general.”

Tinted still from 'Ramona' (1928) with Dolores Del Rio and Warner Baxter. Photo Courtesy Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division
Tinted still from ‘Ramona’ (1928) with Dolores del Río and Warner Baxter. Photo Courtesy Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division

Carewe is known as the director who discovered actress Dolores del Río in Mexico and convinced her to move to Hollywood. He was hoping to transform Del Río into a star to match the appeal of silent screen “Latin Lover” Rudolph Valentino.

“[Carewe] had a passion for women and their beauty and their talent,” Allen says by phone from her home in Los Angeles. In fact, Del Río made at least seven pictures with the director.

Edwin Carewe’s real name was Jay Fox, and he was born in Gainesville, Texas, in 1883 and died in Los Angeles in 1940. His brothers Finis (1881-1949) and Wallace (1885-1958) were both accomplished Hollywood producers and screenwriters. All three brothers appear on the 1907 Chickasaw rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes.

Spanish language poster from 'Ramona' (1928). Photo Courtesy Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division
Spanish language poster from ‘Ramona’ (1928). Photo Courtesy Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division

Today, few are aware of Carewe’s rather prolific Hollywood career. According to, he directed 58 films, produced 20, acted in 47, and wrote screenplays for four. Older brother Finis had written Ramona’s screenplay and created its intertitles.

But for decades, Ramona was thought to be lost until archivists rediscovered it in the Národní Filmový Archiv in Prague. (Studios distributed their movies overseas, and many have since surfaced in Eastern Europe’s hidden vaults.) The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress later transferred Ramona’s highly flammable original nitrate print to acetate safety stock.

The job of translating the Czech intertitles into English was especially challenging. “To us, the key was trying to get the [English] words back in there,” says Rob Stone, the Library’s Moving Image Curator.  He adds that Ramona “is a downer of a story, but it’s a great movie.”

The UCLA Film & Television Archive will premiere Ramona in its Billy Wilder Theater with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.  The Archive’s Head of Public Programs Shannon Kelley says the opportunity to screen Carewe’s restored film at UCLA “represents a tremendous honor.”

Edwin Carewe in 1928. Photo Courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives
Edwin Carewe in 1928. Photo Courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

Visit for more information on Carewe’s life and career.

Ramona (1928) Preserved by the Library of Congress (Rob Stone, Mike Mashon, Lynanne Schweighofer) in association with Národní Filmový Archiv.

Directed by Edwin Carewe

Ramona, the young, half-breed ward of an oppressive California sheep rancher, realizes that her indigenous blood has impeded her life’s happiness. Eloping with Indian chieftain Alessandro, Ramona seeks a new life embracing her heritage, but endures tragedy and loss before tenderness and affirmation re-emerge as possibilities.

Inspiration Pictures, Inc. Screenwriter: Finis Fox, based on the novel by Helen Hunt Jackson. Cinematographer: Robert Kurrle. Editor: Jeanne Spencer. Cast: Dolores del Río, Warner Baxter, Roland Drew, Vera Lewis. Michael Visaroff. 35mm, b/w, silent, approx. 80 min.

Their Lives by a Thread (1913)

The Moving Picture World del 22 de marzo de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 12, p. 1222):


Some big things are in store for exhibitors using Warner’s Features. Down in Austin Texas, the Satex Film Co. is turning out some wonderful three-reel productions, featuring Miss Martha Russell, formerly Essanay’s leading lady. The first picture, «Their Lives by a Thread,» has been confiscated by the Mexican Government because it contained some striking scenes taken across the border in which real untamed Mexicans are shown attacking Americans. But the second release [“Mexican Conspiracy out Generaled”], more thrilling than the first is on its way North, and will be ready for booking this month.

The Moving Picture World del 26 de abril de 1913 (Vol. XVI, No. 4, p. 429)
The Moving Picture World del 26 de abril de 1913 (Vol. XVI, No. 4, p. 429)

The New York Clipper del 3 de mayo de 1913 (Vol. LVI, No. 12, p. 16):

Martha Russell, star of the Satex Film Co., of Austin, Texas, late of the Essanay Co., has never appeared to better advantage than in her latest releases controlled by Warner’s Feature Film Co. They are: “Mexican Conspiracy out Generaled” and “Their Lives by a Thread.”

The Moving Picture World del 10 de mayo de 1913 (Vol. XVI, No. 6, p. 604):

Martha Russell, in “Their Lives by a Thread”

The Moving Picture World del 10 de mayo de 191 (Vol. XVI, No. 6,  p. 604)
The Moving Picture World del 10 de mayo de 1913 (Vol. XVI, No. 6, p. 604)

Lovers of the sensational will find in “Their Lives by a Thread,” a three-reel Warner’s Feature, some startling incidents. Martha Russell, as the daughter of a prosperous American living in Mexico, who has defrauded his life insurance company out of $100,000 by a fiendish plot, falls in love with the president of the insurance company and saves him from death at the bottom of a deep excavation.

To accomplish this, she climbs inside an ore-bucket and with a Mexican girl at the throttle of the hoisting engine, is carried five hundred feet in the air, then lowered to the spot where her admirer has been thrown by half-crazed strikers who believe him to be a strike-breaking leader.

Miss Russell is supported by Robert Kelly, leading man of the Satex Film Co., of Austin, Texas.

Emilio García Riera en su obra México visto por el cine extranjero (p. 51) relata:

En Their Lives by a Thread (1913), unos norteamericanos eran atacados en la frontera por “salvajes mexicanos verdaderos”, según The Moving Picture World (22 de marzo de 1913); se decía en la nota dedicada por la revista a esa película que Their Lives by a Thread fue confiscada por el gobierno mexicano, pues varias de sus escenas habían sido filmadas indebidamente en México.

Ficha filmográfica de Their Life by a Thread. También conocida bajo el título de Their Lives by a Slender Thread. (1913) Norteamericana. B&N: Tres rollos. Drama. Producción: Satex Film Company. Distribución: Warner’s Features, Incorporated. Estrenada en abril de 1913. Drama. Intérpretes: Martha Russell y Robert Kelly.

Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife (1912)

De Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife (1912), Emilio García Riera anota lo siguiente en México visto por el cine extranjero (vol. 1, p. 24):

Pero esos mexicanos de las películas de Broncho Billy, los buenos y los malos, eran prerrevolucionarios. Pocos años después, algo debió contar la revolución para que Broncho Billy and the Greaser (1914) y Broncho Billy’s Greaser’s Deputy (1915) indicaron desde sus títulos un antimexicanismo sin matices. En Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife (1912), Anderson propuso un caso ambivalente: si una esposa mexicana traicionaba al héroe norteamericano, éste acababa bendiciendo la unión en la muerte de la traidora y su también mexicano amante, como si la pasión amorosa justificara todo.

Más adelante, García Riera en la misma obra (p. 55) remata:

Las mexicanas «de moral dudosa» – bailarinas, cabareteras, prostitutas – no fueron todavía abundantes, por lo visto; proliferarían en el cine futuro y, sobre todo, en el sonoro, que les permitiría lucir habilidades musicales. Hubo de cualquier modo bailarinas mexicanas virtuosas como la de Mexican Crime (1909), y aun la de Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife (1912), que traicionaba a su marido norteamericano, era capaz del amor verdadero.

The Moving Picture World del 30 de noviembre de 1912 (Vol. XIV, No. 9, p. 835)
A brilliant Western dramatic study, beautiful in point of perfect photography, and excellent in plot strength. Mr. G.M. Anderson featured in the character he has made famous throughout the world. Don’t fail to book this superior attraction! The Moving Picture World del 30 de noviembre de 1912 (Vol. XIV, No. 9, p. 835)

The Cinema News and Property Gazette del 22 de enero de 1913 (Vol. II, No. 15, p. 63) publicó una breve sinopsis de la cinta:


Broncho marries a Mexican girl at the earnest entreaty of her dying father. Later a Mexican singer wins her love, and, to get Broncho out of the way, she has him arrested and gaoled on the charge of having assaulted her. In a frenzy of rage, Broncho secures the sheriff’s revolver, escapes from gaol, and tracks the pair to his shack. Meanwhile, the Mexican singer’s sweetheart, jealous of his attentions to Broncho’s wife, reaches the shack first, and when Broncho bursts in, gun in hand, he finds the pair dead on the floor, her knife having found both their false hearts.

Released February 9th. Length 990 feet.

The Moving Picture World del 30 de noviembre de 1912 (Vol. XIV, No. 9, p. 867)
The Moving Picture World del 30 de noviembre de 1912 (Vol. XIV, No. 9, p. 867)

Por su parte, The Moving Picture World del 30 de noviembre de 1912 (Vol. XIV, No. 9, p. 867) publicó una reseña de Jas. S. McQuade:

«Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife» (Essanay)

Reviewed by Jas. S. McQuade

BRONCHO Billy is still to the fore among Essanay’s releases, as «Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife” will prove. This tale of life on the Southwestern border, as told in pictures, affords some fine touches in character drawing, several strong situations that border on, but just avoid, the shedding of gore in view of the spectator, and settings about as appropriate as one could wish to represent the section in which the scenes are laid.

G. M. Anderson should please his multitude of followers in this exciting episode, in the life of Billy, for it reveals the latter as be appears under the -tress of injustice, in addition to his well-known resourcefulness and daring. A faithless woman is more than a match for the wisest man in cunning and, in this case. Billy’s Mexican wife makes him appear like a deuce spot, when he measures his craftiness against hers. By the way, the role of the wife is capitally played, and the young woman, whoever she may be, deserves praise for keen imaginative acting. The mocking, malignant sneer on the wife’s face, as she tantalizes her imprisoned husband by kissing her Mexican lover, while her maddened mate looks on through prison bars, expresses the lowest depths of woman’s self-abandonment and fiendish cruelty.

It would be impossible to enact this story, when men of red blood or women who have been betrayed are included, without a tragedy. The closing scene shows the reward of the unfaithful wife and her companion, but the act of punishment has been skillfully avoided in the pictures.

The photography deserves more than usual commendation. It is really a delight to view the pictures from this standpoint.

Broncho Billy is a great favorite of old Mexican Pietro, who has an only daughter Lolito. The latter is a beautiful girl, who loves a strolling musician, one of her own race. Pietro knows nothing of this attachment, and, on his deathbed, gets Lolito’s promise that she will marry Billy.

On the day of the marriage ceremony, a band of Mexican musician-, visits the small town Manuel, the lover of Lolito, is with them, ignorant of her marriage, he calls on her and is received with a show of great affection. They are interrupted by the appearance of Billy on the scene, and the Mexican slinks off after some sharp words from the man of broncho fame.

Later on, they are again discovered together by the sharpeyed husband, and Manuel is led to the wooden bridge leading from the town and warned never t» return on pain of death. While Billy is thus engaged, his unfaithful wife resorts to cunning to thwart his plan-. She inflicts a wound on her shoulder with a large knife, and hurrying to the Sheriff’s office, charges her husband with the (rime of attempted murder. Billy is arrested and imprisoned.

But Billy is not the only one in the story who has been betrayed. Anita, the sweetheart of Manuel and the dancer of the wandering troupe, has watched every movement of her lover, and is mad with jealousy. When Manuel and Lolito, free from the intervention of the imprisoned Billy, enjoy each other’s society without restraint, Anita is a silent and vindictive witness. She bides her time until the opportunity arrives, and both are discovered dying by the Sheriff and his posse. With her last breath Lolito declares Billy innocent of the charge made against her, and denounces Anita as the slayer of herself and companion.

Ficha filmográfica de Broncho Billy’s Mexican Wife (1912) Essanay, American. B & N: un rollo. Producción: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. Distribución: The General Film Company, Incorporated. / Productor:  Gilbert M. Anderson. Director: Gilbert M. Anderson. Guión: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson. Elenco: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson (Broncho Billy), Bessie Sankey (Lolita, la joven mexicana), Arthur Mackley (Pietro), Harry Todd (Perkins, el Sheriff), Fred Church (Manuel, el mexicano con la guitarra), Evelyn Selbie (novia de Manue)l, Victor Potel, Willis Elder, Texas George Briggs, Frank Pementel, Pat Rooney, True Boardman, Jay Hanna. Estrenada el 30 de noviembre de 1912. Existe una copia en el archivo fílmico de The International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House. Según una nota suelta se menciona a Reina Valdéz en el reparto, pero no aparece en las fichas filmográficas del IMDb y de Silent Era.