Archivo de la categoría: Venganza de Pancho Villa, la (1930-34)

Pancho Villa, líder de la Revolución Mexicana y estrella de cine. La Calle de diciembre 10, 2012

El conflicto de Viet Nam fue considerada la primera guerra televisiva, transmitiendo escenas de las batallas directamente a los hogares de la población americana. Pero la primera guerra cinemática puede ser considerada la Revolución Mexicana de 1910-1921, tragedia épica que dejó un mínimo de un millón de muertos y desplazados. Su gran “estrella” fue Pancho Villa, el brillante estratega de la División del Norte que logró controlar todo el norte de México y la frontera con Estados Unidos.

La curiosa simbiosis de un bandolero y agiotista convertido en comandante militar con la industria fílmica norteamericana es el tema central de un documental de Gregorio Rocha, Los rollos perdidos de Pancho Villa de tan solo 49 minutos de duración que junto con La venganza de Pancho Villa (The Vengeance of Pancho Villa), un semi-documental en blanco y negro filmado durante los años 30 del siglo pasado por los cinematografistas trashumantes Edmundo y Félix Padilla, padre e hijo nos muestran cómo fue la relación entre Hollywood y El centauro del norte.

Los rollos perdidos de Pancho VillaUn fascinante e irónico diario que recrea las vicisitudes quijotescas que vivió Rocha durante la búsqueda de cintas que recrean las hazañas de Villa, Los rollos perdidos de Pancho Villa es un misterio cultural detectivesco. En otro nivel, es una meditación muy personal sobre las relaciones entre política, los medios masivos de comunicación y la fabricación de identidad de figuras públicas.

Es del conocimiento común entre estudiosos del cine que Villa, un personaje consciente de su personalidad e identidad popular, firmó un contrato con un estudio de cine norteamericano, la Mutual Film Co. para filmar segmentos de sus batallas contra las tropas federales para una película muda de larga duración, The Life of General Villa. Para ese momento, Villa ya había cautivado a las audiencias americanas; era descrito en los noticieros cinematográficos norteamericanos como un audaz y agresivo líder militar a la par que un Robin Hood local, quien robaba a los barones del dinero para dar a los pobres.

Las evidencias muestran que la compañía cinematográfica suplió a Villa y a sus hombres con vistosos uniformes militares para reemplazar las paupérrimas vestimentas que utilizaban las tropas villistas, además de requerir que los ataques se efectuaran durante el día, porque durante la noche era sumamente difícil filmar los combates. En Los rollos perdidos de Pancho Villa, hay un historiador que refuta esto último.

Estas escenas iniciales reflejan y hasta cierto grado, conforman y describen la política exterior oficial del gobierno de Estados Unidos hacia Pancho Villa y sus rebeldes durante su levantamiento contra el gobierno del despótico Porfirio Díaz, dictador mexicano que estuvo en el poder más de 30 años.

“Resulta muy interesante cómo Washington y Hollywood iban de la mano,” comentó Gregorio Rocha. “Hollywood interpretaba lo que Washington decidía.”

Durante la investigación, tanto en archivos europeos como norteamericanos, Rocha descubrió un sorpresivo número de filmes olvidados que muestran a Villa durante el conflicto bélico revolucionario. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial (1914-1918) que se desarrolló en Europa, el público norteamericano se maravilló con la sangrienta guerra que se llevaba a cabo al sur de su frontera. “Creo que fue la proximidad a Estados Unidos lo que causó que se convirtiera en un circo mediático,” manifestó Rocha en alguna ocasión.

Al combinar pietaje documental con escenas de ficción de la biografía de Villa, The Life of General Villa es un curioso melodrama híbrido que utiliza escenas documentales y de ficción. Se estrenó en Nueva York en el Lyric Theater durante la primavera de 1914. El dinero que ganó Villa como pago por la película lo uso para comprar implementos militares para su tropa.

Para 1916, la administración del presidente Woodrow Wilson apoyó a Venustiano Carranza y Villa lanzó su ataque a Columbus, Nuevo México. El complejo político y de entretenimiento, así como el público en general le dieron la espalda. La Mutual llegó al grado de utilizar segmentos de los filmes de Villa combinados con nuevas escenas protagonizadas por Raoul Walsh, quien interpretó a Villa en la película de 1914, para estrenar una nueva cinta, The Outlaw’s Revenge, donde se muestra a Villa como un forajido.

Anuncio de The Mutual Film Corporation de Nueva York en The Moving Picture World del 16 de mayo de 1914
Anuncio de The Mutual Film Corporation de Nueva York en The Moving Picture World del 16 de mayo de 1914

Por décadas, no se supo qué sucedió con The Life of General Villa y The Outlaw’s Revenge hasta que Gregorio Rocha hizo su investigación y algo de luz sobre los filmes ha salido a relucir.

Para Jesse Lerner, curador del REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Calarts Theater) junto con Steve Anker, “Gregorio logró juntar pedazos y claves cinematográficas para dar un gran paso hacia adelante para comprender el papel de Villa en el cine.”

Como se narra en Los rollos perdidos de Pancho Villa, la investigación de Gregorio Rocha lo llevó al archivo de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso y luego a casa de los descendientes de los cineastas Padilla. Ahí, Rocha encontró una versión de La venganza de Pancho Villa, cinta que los Padilla editaron al juntar escenas de filmes mudos originales. Rocha ayudó a restaurar la copia que posee la Library of Congress de Estados Unidos.

Entre las virtudes que posee el filme de Rocha, destaca la conciencia de la enorme cantidad de filmes mudos que han desaparecido o fueron destruidos a través de los años. Cuando llegó la era sonora del cinematógrafo, miles de películas fueron derretidas para recuperar la plata y otros metales valiosos.

“Esta continua búsqueda de datos históricos previene que las personalidades y los eventos del pasado se conviertan en meros ‘monumentos congelados’. Al final, si no compartes tus descubrimientos, éstos se pierden,” manifestó Gregorio Rocha.

Para ahondar en el tema les recomiendo un par de obras: la biografía en dos volúmenes de Friedrich Katz, Pancho Villa y Con Villa en México: Testimonios de camarógrafos norteamericanos en la revolución de Aurelio de los Reyes.

DF: estrenan filme mudo ‘La venganza de Pancho Villa’, hallado en 2001

Realizado entre 1930 y 1934, desde 1985 estaba en la Universidad de Texas*

Notimex
Publicado: 16/04/2011 13:08

México, DF. El filme mudo La venganza de Pancho Villa (México/Estados Unidos, 1930-1934), de Edmundo y Félix Padilla, fue proyectado por primera vez en el país, luego de haber sido descubierto en 2001.

La producción de 50 minutos cerró el ciclo de cine ocho largometrajes, en el marco de la muestra CRISISSS, América Latina, Arte y Confrontación 1910-2010, con la curaduría realizada por el investigador cinematográfico Jesse Lerner.

La proyección se efectuó la víspera en la Sala Adamo Boari, del Palacio de Bellas Artes, ante una mediana audiencia que escuchó los pormenores del descubrimiento a cargo de Gregorio Rocha, curador e investigador fílmico.

Rocha señaló que él encontró por casualidad La venganza de Pancho Villa, en el 2001 en el acervo de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de El Paso, Texas.

El filme fue restaurado en Estados Unidos y en una institución en Italia, dado que estaba muy dañado, por lo que hubo que someterlo a un proceso especial y copiarlo al formato digital.

Dijo que todo sucedió de manera fortuita, pues él buscaba afanosamente la película que en 1914 había rodado el Centauro del Norte. “Yo andaba de tiempo completo de un país a otro, iba por donde salían pistas y encontré fragmentos de dicha producción, pero al llegar a El Paso descubrí ‘La venganza’”.

Subrayó Gregorio Rocha que el filme original, en 35 milímetros, no tiene música y que él se la añadió de los discos que los productores tocaban durante las funciones que efectuaban en rancherías y poblados en Ciudad Juárez.

Reveló que Félix Padilla, padre de Edmundo, un empresario de la región, fue pionero de la exhibición en Estados Unidos y que La venganza de Pancho Villa era la carta fuerte de ellos en ese negocio que llevaban por los estados de Chihuahua, Coahuila y Texas.

Fue en 1985, dijo Rocha, cuando la nieta de don Félix e hija de Edmundo donó la película a la Universidad de El Paso y ahí estuvo todo el tiempo.

El investigador comentó que fue gracias al apoyo de la institución estadounidense y a una parte del Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Conaculta) que logró el descubrimiento, pues él no iba a restaurar nada, sino que estaba haciendo su documental.

Aseguró que lamentablemente el cine mudo en el mundo, pero mucho más notable en México, ha desaparecido. Que sólo hay un tres por ciento de lo que se produjo, pero advirtió que a estas alturas encontrar cualquier vestigio, por muy mal estado en que esté, es sumamente valioso.

Por otra parte, cabe señalar que en el programa de mano del ciclo llevado a cabo, se indica que las producciones “surgieron de una diáspora, entendida como la emigración de los pueblos. En contraste con los movimientos y las tecnologías cinematográficas del llamado ‘Primer mundo’, el Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano ofrecía un modelo listo para la exportación”.

El teórico Teshome Gabriel escribió que la principal característica del “Tercer cine” en realidad no es tanto dónde se hace o quién lo hace, sino la propuesta ideológica y de conciencia.

Por lo que se refiere a la Revolución Mexicana, se establece en el programa de mano que fueron numerosos los directores de cine, tanto nacionales como extranjeros, que la documentaron.

Este suceso coincidió con lo que los historiadores de cine han identificado, por un lado, como un periodo de transición entre el falso documental (actualités) y el primer cine; y por otro lado, con el surgimiento y la codificación las normas narrativas del cine clásico.

A menudo, “las miradas” de la Revolución se reunieron posteriormente en el cine de compilación, como es el caso de la Historia completa de la Revolución Mexicana (Salvador Toscano entre 1912 y 1930) o La historia de la Revolución (Julio Lamadrid, 1928).

En la explicación documentada se establece que, sin embargo, ninguna de esas recopilaciones es tan anárquicamente improvisada como lo es La venganza de Pancho Villa (1930-1934), una película ensamblada con distintos materiales.

La producción de los Padilla, fragmentos de películas de Hollywood ambientadas en la Revolución, tiene tomas sacadas de El nacimiento de una nación (DW Griffith, 1915), y tomas originales de los Padilla, en la que actúan familiares de los propios realizadores.

Los Padilla, resume el documento, trabajaban como proyeccionistas itinerantes a lo largo de la frontera México-Estados Unidos, mostrando su única película en continua evolución, puesto que integraron imágenes reales de la Primera Guerra Mundial que se reeditaron para representar la ocupación estadunidense en Veracruz. Además, utilizaron diversos actores que interpretaron a Villa, incluyendo al mismo general revolucionario.

*Artículo tomado de http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2011/04/16/estrenan-filme-mudo-la-venganza-de-pancho-villa-descubierto-en-2001

La venganza de Pancho Villa (a lost and found border film)

La venganza de Pancho Villa (The Vengeance of Pancho Villa): A lost and found border film*

Gregorio C. Rocha

On January 5, 1914, Frank N. Thayer, representing Mutual Film Corporation and General Pancho Villa, head of the Constitutionalist army in the Mexican revolution, gathered in the office of attorney Gunther Lessing in El Paso, Texas, to sign a contract.

In it, Pancho Villa agreed to give exclusive rights to Mutual to film the triumphant campaign of his army on its way down to Mexico City. As a result of this contract, the film The Life of General Villa was made, becoming perhaps, one of the first biographical films ever made and “…one of the oddest episodes in film history”, according to film historian Kevin Brownlow.1

The Life of General Villa opened its commercial run in the Lyric Theater in New York, in May, 1914 and afterwards, once World War I had started, the film was apparently junked by the same company that produced it, becoming another lost film, but quite a legendary one.

After an exhaustive two-year search, digging in the film archives in Amsterdam, London, New York, and Mexico City, while looking for film materials for my documentary The Lost Reels of Pancho Villa, I stumbled into one of the most precious treasures a film researcher may aspire to find: dozens of nitrate film reels from the 1920’s, lobby posters, photographs, film artifacts, glass slides and memorabilia, which had been sitting in the basement of the house of the Padilla family in El Paso, Texas, since the late 1930’s.

The amazing find followed an earlier one: while visiting the Special Collections in the library of the University of Texas at El Paso, a set of photographs was put in front of me. To my surprise, the photographs showed many unknown scenes from The Life of General Villa, showing Raoul Walsh, Teddy Sampson and other players hired by Mutual Film Corporation. Since this film was the ultimate goal of my quest, my pulse accelerated with the belief that I was getting close to it, if there was a surviving print. Along with the photographs, there were copies of exhibition leaflets announcing the film La venganza de Pancho Villa, (The Vengeance of Pancho Villa), a title of which I had never heard before. Since the leaflet was dated 1937, my first thought was that they were announcing a talkie film, but small letters at the bottom of the page read: “We will soon count with sound equipment!” Then, I was positive that they were referring to a silent film, but there was only one film made about Pancho Villa in the silent era, The Life of General Villa. Where and what was this new “lost” film? It happened to be very near, in the vault of the library, nested in a metal container, since 1985, when it was donated to UTEP ( University of Texas at El Paso).

Raoul Walsh as young Villa in The Life of General Villa, 1914

La venganza de Pancho Villa had been slowly decaying in its container. When we opened up the lid, a strong smell of nitrocellulose filled the air. We pulled seven reels out of the container. While examining the positive print, multiple glue splices showed that the film had been cut from different sources – both fictional and documentary – and using different brands of film, namely Eastman Kodak, Pathé and Agfa. At first glance, it was possible to date most of the strips of film as being 1916 nitrate film stock. All seven reels showed melting of the emulsion in the section proximate to the core, for which it was possible to foresee that at least one third of the film was irretrievably lost. At first glance too it was possible to see in some of the frames the image of Raoul Walsh playing the young Pancho Villa, and fascinating bilingual English-Spanish inter-titles, telling a somewhat obscure story about Pancho Villa. My conclusion was that I had found not the lost, but another lost film about Pancho Villa.

Subsequently, with the help of the Institute of Oral History, I came to meet the Padilla family, former owners of La venganza de Pancho Villa, who welcomed me in their home, allowed me in their basement to open those rusty cans filled with film treasures, investigate in their documents, and shared with me the story of their ancestors.

Edmundo and Félix Padilla

Between 1920 and 1936, Mr. Félix Padilla, an empresario from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, traveled extensively with his son Edmundo throughout Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States, exhibiting silent films that he rented or purchased from film distributors based in Mexico City and Los Angeles. Félix and Edmundo Padilla toured in a pick-up truck, carrying with them 35mm films, a portable film projector, a manual phonograph, lobby posters and several 78rpm records, which they used to add music to the projections. In the afternoons, Mr. Padilla would traverse the center of each town, announcing the day’s program, using a megaphone. Screenings usually took place in the local theater, where Mr. Padilla shared the profits on a 50-50% basis with the owner. Occasionally, when movie theaters were not available, Mr. Padilla would set a huge white canvas in the main plaza and the screening would take place in the open air, with the assistants bringing their own chairs.

For 5 cents and 10 cents (children and adults respectively), the people from places like Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; Gomez Palacio, Durango; Coyote, Coahuila; or Deming, New Mexico, could enjoy the exhibition of American short comedies, followed by silent Mexican melodramas, such as En la hacienda, by Ernesto Vollrath, 1922.

In the early 1930´s, when the family had already moved to El Paso, Texas, Félix and Edmundo decided to create their own version of the life of Pancho Villa in film, cutting and re-editing fragments from films they had in their collection. By doing this, they unknowingly became the first Mexican-American filmmakers. Edmundo Padilla´s fascination with Pancho Villa probably began when, as a child, he witnessed the Mexican revolution: 

“…At midnight you could listen the gunfire. The shout of “Viva Villa!” would unleash yelling and thundering all around. Sometimes the revolutionaries would take the town, but at other times they would be defeated. I also became aware of the executions that took place in the municipal cemetery, where federal soldiers would fire their rifles against the revolutionaries standing in front of a wall. I also got to see Pancho Villa in person, when one time he arrived in his own car pulling a wagon loaded with corn and beans. He personally distributed the goods with the poor people who arrived carrying baskets.”2

The Padilla´s fascination with Pancho Villa rivaled their fascination for the moving image. As a result of the first assemblage of appropriated footage, they came up with a compilation film which was exhibited under different titles, depending on the version. El reinado del terror (The Reign of Terror) was the first release of the film. It is possible that Félix and Edmundo Padilla began their project out of the remaining few reels of the legendary The Life of General Villa.

One fact that may prove the hypothesis that The Life of General Villa was the basis for the Padilla film is provided by the stills which were used for the lobby cards in advertising their film. These are in fact images from The Life of General Villa. By carefully examining those photographs, it is possible to see the “Eastman Kodak Nitrate Film” brand printed in the borders, which suggests that they are frame enlargements, rather than “stills” taken during production. In the same interview recorded by Magdalena Padilla in 1976, Mr. Edmundo Padilla remembered that:

“The film of Pancho Villa was about the Mexican Revolution. There were many scenes shot in real battlefields. My father brought that film to the U.S. and exhibited it in many places here, Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas, always in small towns. He would bring his projector, rented the theaters and went for a percentage, including schools. The film of Villa was about when Villa was young, how he was pushed into the revolution, his first accomplishments after he was a bandit and then when he became a general. People loved this film, especially Mexican people.”3

This statement from Mr. Padilla clearly references the story line of The Life of General Villa. Though Félix Padilla claimed it as his film and never mentioned the sources from which he gathered the scenes for El reinado del terror, it is possible to establish now, that in addition to The Life of General Villa, they also drew from other sources, mainly from the 20-episode serial Liberty, a Daughter of the U.S.A. directed by Jacques Jaccard, and produced by Universal Film Manufacturing Co. in 1916. Most likely, Félix had purchased several episodes of Liberty at a low price, after it had lost its commercial value. This episodic film, released in August, 1916, showed a “patriotic” response to the attack of Villista forces on the town of Columbus, New Mexico on March 8th, that same year. This attack, which resulted in the complete destruction of the center of the town, caused several American civilian and military casualties, and marked a downturn in Pancho Villa´s image in North American public opinion. The response of the American government, led by President Woodrow Wilson, was the immediate invasion of Mexican territory with an army of 15,000 soldiers under the command of General John Pershing, in pursuit of Pancho Villa. The attack to Columbus and the resulting “Punitive Expedition” set both countries on the brink of war and exacerbated nationalist feelings on both sides of the border.

Photogramme of Liberty, Daugther of the U.S.A., Jacques Jaccard, 1916

For Mexicans, Pancho Villa´s dimensions as a hero grew as the sole man able to defy the imperialist power by attacking U.S. continental territory. On the North American silver screen, however, Pancho Villa´s image once compared to that of Napoleon or Robin Hood in The Life of General Villa, shifted to that of the worst of villains, becoming Public Enemy number one. In an advertisement published in August, 1916, by Moving Picture World, Liberty was announced as: “A great love story; scenes laid along the Mexican border; with enough of the military atmosphere in each episode to stampede your audiences into bursts of patriotic feeling and appreciation.”

In Liberty, a Daughter of the U.S.A., the actress Mary Walcamp plays the young heroine Liberty, who is kidnapped by an evil character named Pancho Lopez, a Mexican bandit who demands ransom to finance his revolution. While doing this, Pancho Lopez invades Discovery, destroys the town, and kills most the inhabitants. Major Rutledge, played by Jack Holt, heads an army of Texas Rangers into Mexico to rescue Liberty and to get rid of Pancho Lopez and his band.

Though Liberty seemed to be an innocent American episodic melodrama, nowadays, it offers a very interesting reading from an ideological point of view. On one side, it represents an excellent example of female protagonists finding a Utopian space to develop as the “New Woman”4, but Liberty may also be considered as the ultimate greaser film due to its profound and furious anti-Mexican content, perhaps not surpassed by any other American film of the period. Liberty also offers ground for the study of the symbolic representations of gender, race and politics in early American melodramas. This same kind of analysis could be applied to Patria, a “war readiness” serial also related to the American paranoia regarding Mexico as well as Japan, produced a year later by William R. Hearst.5

Padilla´s strategy in including this episodic film in his project, was to eliminate most of the scenes where Liberty appeared, bringing Pancho Lopez into the foreground as protagonist of the story. When creating new inter-titles in Spanish and English to convey his desired meaning, Padilla re-named the characters and places that Universal´s screenwriters invented in order to avoid any direct offense to Mexican sensibilities, using their real names. Thus, “Pancho Lopez” became Pancho Villa and “Discovery” became Columbus. But, in the few scenes where Liberty appears, she became “La güera Amalia” (the “blonde Amalia”). With nationalist fervor, a common attitude in Mexican border-landers in order to exercise cultural resistance, Mr. Padilla transformed the original anti-Mexican intention of Liberty into a dubious glorification of Pancho Villa, in spite of the original portrayal of him as a merciless murderer.

With all this, Padilla released another version, or more precisely, another episode of the film: Pancho Villa en Columbus, which he probably exhibited to the same audiences. Mr. Mariano de la Torre, grandson of Mr. Félix Padilla, witnessed some of the screenings when, as a child, he was hired as phonograph operator:

“I was cranking the phonograph and when the attack on Columbus appeared on the screen, my grandfather would cue me to crank it with more impetus, making the crowd go wild. They would yell: ´Viva Villa! Mueran los gringos!´”6

It is important to remember that during the Depression, when the Padillas were screening their films, intolerance towards Mexican immigrants was high and racial segregation was the norm in the border area. However, the Padillas edited their film to be appreciated by both Anglo and Mexican audiences. Due to the use of bilingual inter-titles and to the interpretive ambiguity, the film could have had different readings and therefore satisfy audiences from both cultures.

Columbus a few days after Villas's Attack

Pancho Villa en Columbus was an open-structured film. When Mr. Félix Padilla passed away in 1936, Edmundo followed up the family tradition and he came up with the definitive version of the film, La Venganza de Pancho Villa. Edmundo added historical value to the film by incorporating documentary scenes borrowed from Historia de la Revolución Mexicana, a Mexican compilation documentary made by Mr. Julio Lamadrid in 1928. From it, Edmundo drew sequences showing the “real” Pancho Villa and different events of the Mexican revolution such as the Battle of Celaya, which might be an example of his method: he would start the sequence showing a Mexican newsreel of the actual event, and suddenly, would cut to an action-packed fake battle, filled with hundreds of extras, from one of the episodes of Liberty.

While trying to arrive to a coherent cinematic discourse on the life of Pancho Villa from this extremely contradictory materials, Edmundo Padilla found it necessary to film additional sequences that would later be inter-cut within his assemblage of appropriated footage. These include the opening sequence, now lost, when the mother makes a fatal confession to the young Pancho Villa; the abduction and subjugation of his father by federal soldiers, which sparks the rage of Pancho Villa, and his own assassination, recreated with friends and relatives in the outskirts of El Paso in 1930.

The film incorporates scenes shot in Texas by Edmundo Padilla exclusively for the final work

Some sequences which he did not modify and we see for the first time in a silent film in La venganza de Pancho Villa, represent some polemical historical events that shaped the United States and Mexico´s hazardous border in that era: The attack on Columbus, New Mexico; the Santa Isabel incident where 16 American engineers were slaughtered; and the little known event of the Battle of Ojos Azules, when Pershing´s expedition unsuccessfully confronted Villista soldiers.

But perhaps the best example of Padilla´s method is an amazingly edited denunciation of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz, where he inter-cuts scenes from Birth of a Nation, 1914; naval battle newsreels from World War I; Liberty, 1916 and The Life of General Villa, 1914; to contest American representations of the other, of the enemy, in this case the Mexicans.

Perhaps acting not only as a metaphor, the title The Vengeance of Pancho Villa, suggests Padilla´s unstated intention: La venganza de Pancho Villa is a revenge against cultural stereotypes imposed by early American cinema. 

La venganza de Pancho Villa may now be considered as a film maudit, a precursor of what may be called Border Cinema, not only due to the geographical location of its practitioners, but in its attempt to freely cross, back and forth, the dividing lines set between political and non-politically correctness; fact and fiction, Anglo and Mexican cosmogony, Gringo and Greaser stereotypes, but most of all, because of its intended – and at times successful – transformation of meaning.

It is stated in Mr. Padilla´s logbook that La Venganza de Pancho Villa made $1280.00 pesos from September, 1936 to May, 1937. This figure represents the paid admission of at least 12,000 spectators, considering a 10-cent admittance fee.7

The Padillas´ leaflets of La Venganza de Pancho Villa suggest that it had its last run in October, 1937. Small letters at the bottom of the leaflet, read: “We will soon have sound equipment and films!” But Empresas Padilla never made the leap to the sound era.

NOTES:

1 Kevin Brownlow explored the participation of cameraman Charles Rosher and his relationship to Pancho Villa in The War, the West and the Wilderness, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1978.

2 From an interview with Mr. Edmundo Padilla, recorded by Magdalena Arias. Institute of Oral History, UTEP. El Paso, Texas, 1976.

3 According to Moving Picture World, it is possible to establish the following figures: In 1914, four feature films with Mexican villains were released. The figure rises to nine in 1915, and twenty in 1916, after the Columbus incident. Between 1914 and 1920, at least seventy nine greaser feature films were released.

4 From an interview with Mr. Mariano de la Torre, recorded by Gregorio Rocha in El Paso, TX. June, 2001.

5 There is an excellent study of the role of women in early American films in Benjamin Singer´s Melodrama and Modernity. Indiana University Press. 2001.

6 It is important to mention that William Randolph Hearst owned enormous tract of land and large numbers of cattle in the state of Chihuahua. By 1917, when Patria was released, Pancho Villa had already seized Hearst´s cattle and distributed it among the peons. The contents of Patria were so offensive to Mexico, that President Woodrow Wilson ordered Hearst´s film company to remove all signs in the film that referred directly to Mexico. Ever since 1914, Hearst had heralded an American armed intervention in Mexico.

7 Félix and Edmundo Padilla´s notes were written in a logbook, preserved by the Padilla family. This logbook has been a helpful tool in reconstructing the history of the different versions of La Venganza de Pancho Villa.

*This research was possible due to grants from the Fulbright-García Robles Research and Lecturing Program and the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, México.

I would like to thank the Library Special Collections Department of the University of Texas at El Paso, The Library of Congress Film Preservation Center, Filmoteca U.N.A.M, in Mexico, and above all, the Padilla family for their generous support in the development of this research.

Films cited:

La Venganza de Pancho Villa. Félix and Edmundo Padilla. Mexico/U.S.A. ca. 1930.

Liberty. 20-episode serial. Jacques Jaccard and Norman McRae. U.S.A. 1916.

The life of General Villa. William C. Cabanne and Raoul Walsh, U.S.A. 1914.

Historia de la Revolución Mexicana. Julio Lamadrid. Mexico, 1928.

*From Journal of Film Preservation 65 12/2002, pp. 24-29. Revue de la Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film.