Archivo de la categoría: Motion Picture Story Magazine, The

The Mexican Spy (1913)

Emilio García Riera en el tomo 2 de su obra México visto por el cine extranjero nos da una breve síntesis y una ficha filmográfica (p. 32):

1300/1. The Mexican Spy. P: EU, (Lubin) 1913. Dirección: Wilbert Melville. Argumento: E. C. Hall. Intérpretes: Edna Payne (Mary Lee), Earl Metcalfe (Tom Loring), Edwin Carewe (Luis Rivera). 3 rollos / Western.

En un fuerte militar de la frontera con México, Mary, hija del pagador del regimiento, ama al disipado Tom, hijo del coronel. Para pagar una deuda de juego al mexicano Rivera, falso rico y espía, Tom roba 5 mil dólares. Rivera amenaza a Tom con denunciarlo si no le da los planos de unos fuertes del suroeste. Mary oye todo y vende sus joyas para ayudar a Tom. Dispuesto a regenerarse, Tom se enlista. Enviado a la frontera, debe conducir un carro de la Cruz Roja con Mary como enfermera. Atacan los mexicanos de Rivera y sólo quedan vivos Tom y Mary. Mientras él resiste, Mary huye y procura el auxilio de la caballería norteamericana. Herido, Tom se recupera en el hospital gracias a Mary y es ascendido a teniente.

Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 21)
Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 21)

Por su parte Margarita de Orellana en su libro La mirada circular editado por Cuadernos de Joaquín Mortiz nos proporciona la siguiente información (p. 186):

The Mexican Spy (El espía mexicano). Producción: Lubin. Realizador: Wilbert Melville. Guión: E. C. Hall. Actores: Edna Payne, Earl Metcalf, Edwin Carewe. Bobinas: 3. Fuente: The Moving Picture World, Vol. XV, Ene-Mar 1913, núm. 2, enero 11, 1913, p. 184.

Sinopsis: Tom, el hijo del coronel Loring, es un joven disipado. Mary Lee, la hija del pagador del regimiento, ama a Tom y hace esfuerzos por reformarlo. El señor Luis Rivera, un apuesto mexicano, en realidad un espía, se hace amigo de Tom y le gana 5 000 dólares apostando. Tom roba esa cantidad de la caja del pagador pero Rivera lo amenaza con denunciarlo a menos que robe los planos de los fuertes del suroeste norteamericano y él le regresará el dinero para que lo vuelva a colocar en la caja. Tom extrae los planos, pero antes de entregarlos Mary Lee, que se ha dado cuenta de todo, vende sus joyas y logra obtener 5 000 dólares. Entonces obliga a Tom a desafiar a Rivera a que regrese los planos a su lugar. Nadie sospecha de Tom, pero él se siente culpable. Rivera desaparece. Tom decide alistarse en el ejército. Envía una carta a Mary Lee, en la que promete redimirse. Al regimiento de Tom es enviado a la frontera. Mary Lee entra a la Cruz Roja y es enviada también a la frontera. Un día el cirujano envía a Mary a misión y se lleva una gran sorpresa al encontrar a Tom como conductor de su carreta. Rivera se entera de este viaje y se dispone a perseguir a la misión. Se inicia una lucha terrible y sólo quedan vivos Tom y Mary. Tom sube a Mary a una mula y la manda por refuerzos, mientras él resiste solo. Mary regresa con una tropa y encuentra a Tom herido. Gracias a los cuidados de Mary, Tom sana. Más tarde es ascendido a teniente y se casa con Mary.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de febrero de 1913 (Vol. V, No. 1, p. 167)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de febrero de 1913 (Vol. V, No. 1, p. 167)

Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 2); The Moving Picture World de enero 18 de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 3, pp. 280-281) y The Motion Picture Story Magazine de febrero de 1913 (Vol. V, No. 1, p. 167):

THE MEXICAN SPY

Jan. 17, 1913. LUBIN.  2 Reels

Tom Loring, a handsome but dissipated youth, loves Mary Lee, daughter of the regiment’s paymaster. In order to pay his gambling debts to the Mexican, Señor Rivera, supposedly rich but in reality a spy, Tom steals $5,000 from the paymaster’s safe. The Mexican threatens exposure unless Tom secures the plans of certain forts in the Southwest, but Mary hears of the situation and pawns her jewels to replace the stolen money. Realizing the sorrow he has caused his father and sweetheart, Tom disappears, leaving a note that he will not return until he has redeemed himself. He enlists under an assumed name, and his regiment is ordered to the Mexican frontier. Mary becomes a Red Cross nurse and is also ordered to the Mexican border. Tom’s bravery and strategy during a desperate encounter with the Mexicans under Rivera wins him promotion to Lieutenant, but he is seriously wounded, and Mary is greatly surprised to find among her patients, her lover. Her careful nursing restores him to health, and having redeemed his former misdeeds by his faithful and heroic service to his country, he claims Mary for his wife.

Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, pp. 21-22):

A Live Lubin Two-Reel

One of the January Specials

motography-vol-ix-no-1-jan-4-1913-p-21
Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 21)

Another of those live Lubin two-reels is on the books for early release—January 17, to be exact. It is to be handled through the General Film Company as a special feature.

The title is “The Mexican Spy.” It was written by Emmett Campbell Hall and produced by Wilbert Melville. The cast is as follows: Earle Metcalf (Tom Loring);  L. C. Phillips (Colonel Loring); Edwin Carewe (Señor Luis Rivera); Edna Payne (Mary Lee); William Wells (Paymaster Lee).

The Moving Picture World del 4 de enero de 1913 ( Vol. XV, No. 1, p. 63)
The Moving Picture World del 4 de enero de 1913 ( Vol. XV, No. 1, p. 63)

As the story runs, Tom, son of Colonel Loring, is a handsome but dissipated youth, easily influenced to moral transgressions. Mary Lee, the paymaster’s daughter, loves Tom despite his failings, and tries desperately, though vainly, to reform him. Senor Luis Rivera, polished and apparently wealthy (but in reality a spy), becomes intimate with Tom, who, to keep up his end and pay his gambling losses to Rivera, steals $5,000 from the paymaster’s safe. Rivera threatens to expose Tom’s theft unless he steals for him the plans of forts in the Southwest, proposing to give back the money, which Tom may replace in the safe, if he does so. Tom cannot resist the temptation and secures the plans from his father’s office; but before he has delivered the drawings to Rivera, Mary learns of the situation, and by pawning her jewels and using a little legacy, raises enough money to replace that stolen. She then forces Tom to defy Rivera, and replaces the plans.

No one suspects Tom, but he realizes that he is breaking the hearts of his father and the girl, and swears that he will prove worthy of their love. Rivera has gone away. Tom disappears, and under another name enlists in the army, leaving a note for Mary in which he tells her that she will not see him again until he has redeemed his shameful past. Shortly afterward the regiment to which Tom has become attached is ordered to the southwestern border on account of difficulty arising with the Republic of Mexico.

The Cinema News and Property Gazette del 5 de febrero de 1913 (Vol. II, No. 17, p. 73)
The Cinema News and Property Gazette del 5 de febrero de 1913 (Vol. II, No. 17, p. 73)

In the meantime Mary has applied for and received an appointment as a Red Cross nurse, and is herself sent to the border. One day after her arrival she is sent by the surgeon in charge to a point some distance away from the hospital, and is greatly surprised to find the soldier assigned to drive the wagon furnished for her transportation none other than Tom. The two young folks are overjoyed to see one another again. Tom takes his seat with Mary and the escort inside and the journey starts.

The Cinema News and Property Gazette del 5 de febrero de 1913 (Vol. II, No. 17, p. 73)
The Cinema News and Property Gazette del 5 de febrero de 1913 (Vol. II, No. 17, p. 73)

Rivera with his troop learns of the trip and seizes an opportunity to secure revenge and the same time deal a blow at the hated Americans. He starts in pursuit of the little party. A running fight follows; and as a result Mary and Tom are the only ones left alive on the wagon. Tom stops the wagon, and hastily mounting Mary on one of the mules, sends her in search of aid while he undertakes to hold back the attacking Mexicans. Upon Mary’s return with a troop of cavalry, they find Tom lying wounded. Tom is taken to the hospital and with Mary’s careful nursing is restored to health. Later Tom is made lieutenant and secures Mary’s hand.

Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 7)
Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 7)

Motography del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 7):

The Mexican Spy is a two-reel special to be released by the Lubin Company, January 17th. It is a dramatic story typical of the army life of Mexico and the United States. The scenes are laid on the border and constitute a powerful lesson against gambling, which is only too common among the officers. The picture is made with every attention to the local and military atmosphere of the two republics.

Mary Lee, the daughter of the paymaster, is in love with Colonel Loring’s son, Tom, he is a reckless chap given to gambling and other bad habits. Marv endeavors to reform him, but unsuccessfully. At last Tom steals $5,000 from the paymaster’s safe to pay a gambling debt to Senor Luis Rivera, who is a Mexican spy. Rivera offers to return the money if Tom will steal the plans of the fortifications from the office of the Colonel. The deal is made and Tom secures the plans. Mary discovers the treason and by pledging her jewels gives her lover the money, and forces him to return the papers. Tom later joins the army on the border and Mary receives an appointment as a Red Cross nurse. One day she is sent to a distant point and when the wagon pulls up for the trip she finds that Tom is the driver. The wagon is attacked by Mexicans with Rivera in command. A battle ensues in which Tom is badly wounded, but Mary nurses him back to life. For bravery he is made a lieutenant, and for love wins his old sweetheart.

The Moving Picture World del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 1, p. 20)
The Moving Picture World del 4 de enero de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 1, p. 20)

The Moving Picture World, Vol. XV, No. 5, Feb. 1, 1913, p. 464:

THE MEXICAN SPY (Lubin), Jan. 17-—A two-part story of the recent war with the Republic of Mexico, which we didn’t have. E. C. Hall wrote the scenario which Wilbert Melville produced seemingly at some army post in the West. It is a fair story, but somewhat conventional with a few added novelties which give it an apparent freshness. It is charitable not to say too much about the acting; but there is much to interest in a good many scenes where no acting was required, such as the fight between the Mexicans and the United States troops that come to the rescue of the hero who has been a thief and almost a traitor, but now bravely rehabilitates himself. Some of the backgrounds also are very acceptable.

The Moving Picture World del 18 de enero de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 3, pp. 280-281)
The Moving Picture World del 18 de enero de 1913 (Vol. XV, No. 3, pp. 280-281)

Variety del 28 de febrero de 1913 (Vol. XXIX, No. 13, p. 15):

Siege of Mexico Film

It looks like the movies were in for a deluge of Mexican films both dramatic and otherwise according to the plans of some of the film manufacturers. Several uptown houses have been playing up Mexican dramas for several weeks. The Lubin Co. releases “The Mexican Spy” in two reels March 9.

With the dailies running columns about the Mexican revolution the pictures will get all the publicity the managers want.

The Colonel’s Escape (1912)

Ficha Filmográfica: Producción: Kalem. Director: George Melford. Intérpretes: Carlyle Blackwell, Carl Rhys Price, Alice Joyce, Karl Formes, Jr., Knute Rahm. Existe una copia en el Nederlands Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (35 mm., 273 metros) y se puede ver en línea en Thought Equity.

The Moving Picture World (Vol. XII, No 11, p. 1002)
The Colonel’s Escape. Featuring General C. Rhys Pryce, an insurgent officer, for whom the Mexican Government has offered a reward of $25,000, dead or alive. General Pryce was especially engaged by the Kalem Company for this production. The Moving Picture World del 15 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No 11, p. 1002)

The Moving Picture World del 22 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No. 12, p. 1154) publicó la siguiente sinopsis:

THE COLONEL’S ESCAPE (June 24).–Rhys Pryce, a soldier of fortune, finds James Boyd, a Mexican Custom officer, who has been thrown into a cave by a band of smugglers. A few days later Boyd receives word to intercept arms and ammunition that are being smuggled across the border into Mexico by the insurrectos, whom Pryce has incited to fight for the freedom of their country. Pryce, being hard pressed by the Federals, seeks shelter in Boyd’s house. Boyd readily recognizes the fugitive as the man who befriended him while in distress, and in gratitude he helps Pryce to escape. Boyd’s action, however, has been witnessed by a Federal spy, who reports the affair to the commanding officer. He is court-martialed and sentenced to be shot. Before the execution can take place, however, Boyd’s sister rides with all speed to the insurrecto camp and urges Pryce to save her brother. In answer to her entreaty, Pryce, at the head of a strong part of insurrectos, arrives just in time to save Boyd and defeat the Federals.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de julio de 1912 (Vol. III, p. 141)
THE COLONEL’S ESCAPE. An incident of the recent Mexican revolution featuring General C. Rhys Pryce, for whose body, dead or alive, the Mexican Government offers a reward of $25,000. The Motion Picture Story Magazine de julio de 1912 (Vol. III, p. 141)

Los dos anuncios que se reproducen arriba mencionan que el protagonista de la cinta, Carl Rhys Pryce, es buscado por el gobierno mexicano, vivo o muerto, además de ofrecer una recompensa de $25,000.

Otro comentario aparece en The Short Films of Alice Joyce:

Another Mexican war film from Kalem. C. Rhys Pryce (apparently playing himself) is a soldier who is on the side of the Mexican rebels. He rescues Carlyle Blackwell, apparently on the side of the Federales, and takes him to a house where Alice Joyce gives him some water. When the rebel man is chased and hides in Alice’s house, Blackwell recognizes him and lets him go (with an interesting shot of them watching the escape through a window. Unfortunately the federales arrest Blackwell and are about to execute him for treason when Alice rides to the rebel camp and informs the man, who leads the rebels in an attack on the federales, in a large confusing battle with lots of men and gunpowder. Apparently Blackwell then changes sides and they go back to Alice’s house. Interesting that Kalem films sided with the rebels in the Mexican war and that this film stars a soldier of fortune appearing under his own name.

Margarita de Orellana en La mirada circular (p. 147) menciona que:

En El escape del coronel (1912), el comercio ilegal de armas a través de la frontera vuelve a ser patriótico porque los contrabandistas han sido influenciados por un buen norteamericano que los convence de luchar por la libertad de su país.

Por su parte, Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero (Vol. 1, p. 49) comenta:

Más común en las películas de la Kalem fue la expresión de un whishful thinking -ilusión voluntariosa- alentado por el viejo Destino Manifiesto: en 1911, otras tres cintas de la Kalem -una de abril, The Insurrecto, y dos de noviembre, A Prisoner of Mexico y The American Insurrecto– propusieron a héroes norteamericanos como cabecillas de revolucionarios mexicanos. Esa suerte de inversión imaginaria en heroísmo y capacidad de liderazgo (leadership), previsora de futuros beneficios políticos y económicos, también fue hecha en The Colonel’s Escape, cinta presentada por la Kalem en junio de 1912.

Las razones por las cuales Carl Rhys Pryce era buscado por la justicia mexicana son explicadas por Doralicia Carmona en Memoria Política de México donde documenta la toma de Tijuana por fuerzas magonistas:

Carl Ap Rhys Price
El “soldado de fortuna” Carl Rhys Price en Tijuana

Carl Rhys Pryce y J. L. Hopkins marchan de Mexicali, B. C. N., a Tijuana, para expropiar tierras, industrias y demás medios de trabajo, para entregarlos al pueblo. La acción se enmarca dentro de la expedición floresmagonista a Baja California.

Los grupos armados que combatieron en Baja California por la causa magonista, bajo la dirección política de los liberales de Los Ángeles, eran extranjeros, la mayoría: norteamericanos o europeos que se solidarizaron con los liberales; algunos con convicciones como Jack Mosby; otros, resultaron ser simples aventureros como Carl Rhys Price, que desapareció con los fondos recaudados.

El 9 de mayo los revolucionarios al mando de Sam Wood y Sam Pryce tomarán Tijuana, después de un día de combate; controlarán Tecate, Los Algodones y Tijuana, pero no podrán tomar Ensenada.

The Gun Smugglers (1912)

The Gun Smugglers filmada en 1912 por la Kalem tiene varios detalles curiosos, pues se vendió como una historia que sucede en la revolución mexicana y como un incidente acaecido en Cuba. Por otro lado, uno de los protagonistas, Carl Rhys Pryce, quien fuera oficial militar al servicio de los hermanos Flores Magón durante la toma de Tijuana en 1911, interpreta a Steven Jarrow, el contrabandista, en esta cinta.

The Moving Picture World del 8 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No. 10, p. 950) publicó la siguiente sinopsis de la cinta:

THE GUN SMUGGLERS (June 12).—Steven Jarrow, engaged in smuggling arms across the border, keeps the secret from his son, Logan. Valdez, the Mexican colonel, in charge of the Federal troops stationed there, has a very pretty daughter, with whom Logan is deeply in love. A gun smuggling expedition is planned. Federal headquarters receive warning and Colonel Valdez determines to annihilate the smugglers. During the action Logan’s father is killed and it devolves upon Col. Valdez to convey the sad news to Logan. The young man, not knowing of his father’s career, and believing his death was caused by unfair means, swears vengeance against his sweetheart’s father. However, he is saved from becoming a murderer by the cool-headedness of the brave colonel. John Bridge, one of the smugglers who managed to escape, is crazed by the death of his comrades and seeks to avenge them by taking the life of Colonel Valdez. Logan is arrested for the crime, but is cleared through the instrumentalitv of Bridge’s wife.

The Moving Picture World del 1 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No. 9, p. 802)
The Gun Smugglers, A Page of Recent Mexican Hionstory. This episode of the Mexican insurrection is based on an actual experinece of General C. Rhys Pryce, who portays a leading part in the photoplay. The Moving Picture World del 1 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No. 9, p. 802)

En The New York Dramatic Mirror del 19 de junio de 1912 se publicó la siguiente nota sobre la película:

The Gun Smugglers (Kalem, June 12).–There are many strong, dramatic possibilities in this film, because the main situation is a particularly acute one but the producer has rather lost out on the dramatic end at least by not giving the story proper dramatic treatment either development or acting. The film, however, has its exciting moments in the struggle between the Mexican troops and the smugglers, and the producer has selected some very fine background in which to tell his story. The father, unknown to his son, is a gun smuggler. The son is in love with the colonel’s daughter who, when he receives notice of the work of the smugglers, sets out to capture them. In the ensuing fight, the young man’s father is killed. At the prison he is informed by his father’s accomplice that the colonel has killed his father. He determines upon revenge. One of the smugglers who has escaped is determined upon a like revenge. The young man appears before the colonel before the other, is overcome, and dissuaded from his purpose. After he leaves the smuggler arrives, and kills the colonel. The young man is blamed for the crime, though it is not altogether clear just how the evidence is placed upon him from the way the story is told. The wife of the murderer appears before the authorities and confesses the truth of her husband’s crime, and thus frees the young man.

The Moving Picture World del 29 de junio de 1912 (Vol. XII, No. 13, p. 1226):

“THE GUN SMUGGLERS” (Kalem), June 12.—In this drama of the Mexican rebellion, there is a good plot and some lively skirmishing. Carlyle Blackwell takes the leading part. His work and that of the leading characters is well done. Notable among others are the crazed smuggler and his wife and the Mexican colonel.

Resulta extraño que la revista mensual The Motion Picture Story Magazine publica un anuncio de la Kalem donde The Gun Smugglers se anuncia como una aventura que sucede en Cuba en lugar de México. ¿A qué se debe este cambio? ¿Hubo algún elemento político para ello? De haberlo, ¿fue del gobierno federal norteamericano o quejas del sistema consular mexicano? Hago estas preguntas, porque no hay duda que es la misma película, dada la fecha de estreno: 12 de junio de 1912. También puede suceder que fue un error de los publicistas de la Kalem, pues no dudo que para muchos de ellos Cuba y México eran lo mismo: Sudamérica.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de julio de 1912 (Vol. III, p. 141)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de julio de 1912 (Vol. III, p. 141)

En La mirada circular, Margarita de Orellana nos comenta que:

En Los contrabandistas de armas (1912), los rebeldes, en esa ocasión antimaderistas, eran vistos como criminales desprovistos de sentimientos patrióticos. El héroe del filme es un coronel del nuevo gobierno mexicano, maderista, que atrapa a unos contrabandistas y entre ellos al jefe, un norteamericano ávido de dinero y que muere en la contienda. El hijo del jefe ignoraba los negocios de su padre y considerando que su muerte es injusta decide vengarse del coronel maderista, quien a su vez es asesinado por otro de los contrabandistas. El hijo es inculpado por esta muerte pero finalmente la esposa del verdadero asesino aclara su inocencia. En estas películas, siguiendo el maniqueísmo moral que era habitual en el cine de la época, el contrabando cambió de bando y se volvió injustificado. Hay dos muertes en esta historia: una deseada, la del contrabandista, otra injustificada por tratarse del héroe que cumplía con su deber asegurando del orden en la frontera. (p. 147)

También en La mirada circular, la autora nos da una breve sinopsis de la cinta basada en la que publicó The Moving Picture World:

Steven Jarrow es un contrabandista de armas para México. Nunca ha dicho a su hijo Logan cuál es su verdadera profesión. Valdez, el coronel federal mexicano cuyas tropas se encuentran en la frontera, tiene una hija muy bella de la cual Logan está enamorado. Jarrow organiza una expedición de armas pero los federales se enteran a tiempo. Durante la acción Jarrow es asesinado por los federales y Valdez comunica la noticia a su hijo. Logan jura vengar la muerte de su padre, pero la sangre fría de Valdez salva a Logan de convertirse en asesino. Uno de los contrabandistas de Jarrow se ha vuelto loco por la matanza de sus compañeros y asesina a Valdez. Logan es acusado del crimen, pero lo salva el testimonio de la esposa del verdadero asesino. (p. 184)

Los investigadores de la Universidad de Stanford, quienes después de haber visto la película — la copia que pertenece a la Library of Congress en 35 mm. está bastante deteriorada — llegan a la siguiente conclusión en The Alice Joyce Website:

Subtitled: “An incident of the Mexican Rebellion.” Much of this film suffers from very heavy deterioration, making it nearly unwatchable in parts. At least one crucial scene is missing. This contributes to the confusion in the plot, since it is now not apparent that the mysterious man in the cabin kills Colonel Valdez, and accounts for Joyce’s apparently inexplicable sadness at the end of the film when reunited with her lover. The handsome Carlyle Blackwell plays the lead. Joyce looks picturesque in her dark frilly gown, with her hair down and a flower in it.

A Prisoner of Mexico (1911)

De esta cinta, Emilio García Riera en su obra México visto por el cine extranjero, comenta lo siguiente:

Más común en las películas de la Kalem fue la expresión de un whishful thinking — ilusión voluntariosa — alentado por el viejo Destino Manifiesto: en 1911, otras tres cintas de la Kalem — una de abril, The Insurrectos, y dos de noviembre, A Prisoner of Mexico y The American Insurrecto — propusieron a héroes a norteamericanos como cabecillas de revolucionarios mexicanos. Esa suerte de inversión imaginaria en heroísmo y capacidad de mando (leadership), previsora de futuros beneficios políticos y económicos, también fue hecha en The Colonel’s Escape, cinta presentada por la Kalem en junio de 1912. Después, los acontecimientos verdaderos de la revolución mexicana debieron desalentar tales fantasías, pero no al grado de cancelarlas; se preferiría, como veremos en el siguiente capítulo, ubicarlas en países latinoamericanos utópicos, inventados, pero muy parecidos a México. (p. 49)

The Moving Picture World del 7 de octubre de 1911 (Vol, 10, no. 1, p. 99)
The Moving Picture World del 7 de octubre de 1911 (Vol, 10, no. 1, p. 99)

Por su parte, Margarita de Orellana en su multicitada La mirada circular menciona:

El lado mexicano de la frontera, en las películas norteamericanas, es un lugar donde se respira un aire de anarquía y de confusión. La zona fronteriza que separa a Estados Unidos de México está llena de aventuras y peligros. Durante la Revolución esa zona se vuelve aun más salvaje para quienes la miran desde el lado norteamericano. El que intenta cruzar esa línea divisoria se pone inmediatamente en peligro. En Prisionera de México (1911), Ethel queda accidentalmente atrapada en un tren que la lleva del otro lado de la frontera. Cae en manos de soldados federales mexicanos y su vida corre peligro hasta que es salvada por su novio norteamericano, quien la regresa de nuevo a San Diego, volviendo a cruzar esa zona de peligro para refugiarse en su tierra natal donde reina la libertad y la tranquilidad. (pp. 157-158)

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. p. 66)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. p. 66)

Continúa De Orellana con una breve sinopsis:

Cuando se inició la Revolución Mexicana un norteamericano, Paul Mason, simpatizante de la causa, decidió reunir a un grupo de jóvenes compatriotas y lanzarse a luchar con los mexicanos dejando atrás a su novia, Ethel Davis.

Caminando con su perro por la estación de ferrocarril, Ethel queda atrapada en un carro al intentar sacar a su perro que se le había escapado.

Doce horas más tarde el tren que había salido del pueblo se detiene en el interior de México donde se hallan soldados federales. Uno de ellos encuentra a Ethel y ella ruega al general Álvarez que la regrese a su país. Éste le explica que los insurgentes tienen controlada toda la vía del tren y pone a Ethel bajo el cuidado de su esposa.

En otro lugar los insurgentes suben carga en un tren para conducirlo a un pueblo que han tomado. Paul está en la escolta y es descubierto por unos federales. Después de una escaramuza los rebeldes son tomados prisioneros. En la prisión federal Ethel reconoce a su novio y juntos logran escapar, pero son atrapados nuevamente por los federales. Finalmente son rescatados por los norteamericanos y Paul lleva a Ethel a casa. (pp. 181-182)

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 67)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 67)

En The Moving Picture World del 21 de octubre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 3, p. 226) se publica una sinopsis, la cual toma De Orallena para la suya:

A Prisoner of Mexico (Oct. 23). – When the Mexican Revolution stroke out Paul Mason’s sympathies for the Insurgents led him to volunteer his services in assisting their cause. Gathering a number of adventurous young Americans, he took leave of Ethel Davis, his sweetheart, and started for Mexico.

A few days after Paul’s departure, Ethel meets with a peculiar accident. As she walks past the railroad yards in her San Diego home, her pet dog becomes attracted by something within an open box car, which he proceeds to Investigate. Ethel follows her pet, but no sooner enters the car than the door is closed by a railroad employee, who knows nothing of what has taken place. The train is made up and starts on its journey with Ethel a prisoner within the closed box car.

Twelve hours later the train halts at a small town In the Mexican interior where Federal soldiers are quartered. In passing the train a soldier hears a cry within one of the cars. The door is opened and Ethel, weak and exhausted from her imprisonment, is lifted to the ground. She begs to be returned home, and General Alvarez explains that the Insurgents have control of the railroad line. Ethel is placed in care of the wife of the Federal jailer.

Just at this time the insurgents’ pack train starts out to carry supplies to a besieged town nearby. Paul gathers his men and escorts the train. A troop of Federals discover the party and overtake them after a sharp fight. Paul is led away a prisoner. At the jail he is recognized by Ethel, who affects his escape. The two fugitives are discovered and followed by the Federals, whose rifle shots are heard by the Insurgents.  The Insurgents come to the rescue of the two Americans and put their pursuers to rout. The end of hostilities enables Paul to conduct Ethel to their American home.

 The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 69)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 69)

Y en la misma revista, pero la correspondiente al 4 de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 5, p. 380) aparece un muy breve comentario de la cinta:

“A Prisoner in Mexico” (Kalem), October 23.—A very romantic adventure during the recent disturbances in Mexico. Both the hero and the heroine of the picture are Americans. The man is an insurrecto and captain of the “American Legion,” a troop of adventurous horsemen. The story tells how both he and his old sweetheart happened to be in the hands of the Mexican Federals. The girl helps the man to escape from his prison. In the pursuit, over the nearby hills, the two are nearly retaken, but are saved. The “leader” reads: “The American Legion to the Rescue.” It is not a very ably designed picture, but it is not dull. The audience watched it in silence, but it seemed to be following it, which isn’t done always when conventional “Westerns” are on the screen.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 71)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, p. 71)

Cabe mencionar que The Motion Picture Story Magazine de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. II, No. 10, pp. 65-71) publicó una narración basada en la cinta y escrita por Emmett Campbell Hall con varios fotogramas de la película, los cuales aparecen publicadas aquí.

Across the Mexican Border (1911)

Lo único interesante de Across the Mexican Border, irrelevante cinta de la compañía Powers son el par de fotogramas que The Motion Picture Story Magazine de junio de 1911 (Vol. I, No. 5, pp. 137-142) publicó para acompañar un breve cuento basado en la película y escrito por Marie Coolidge Rask. Este mensuario, como su nombre indica, publicaba narraciones sobre las cintas en boga, en las cuales incluía fotogramas de las mismas. El argumento resulta intrascendente y consiste en un triángulo donde el malo es el mexicano quien insiste en comprar a un mujer enamorada de un gringo. Al final la pareja cruza la frontera hacia Estados Unidos para ser feliz. Las imágenes hablan por sí mismas sobre el estereotipo mexicano que maneja la industria del cine norteamericana.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de junio de 1911 (Vol. I, No. 5, p. 139)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de junio de 1911 (Vol. I, No. 5, p. 139)

The Moving Picture World nos da una brevísima sinopsis de la película en su número del 11 de marzo de 1911 (Vol. VIII, No. 10, p. 543):

“Across the Mexican Border” (Powers).—A love story of the Mexican border, in which the triangle includes a Mexican who intends to buy a girl who is already in love with an American soldier. The story is concerned with detailing the complications which arise before the young couple escape across the border into America. The acting and scenery are both good, while the mechanical work has been well done.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine de junio de 1911 (Vol. I, No. 5, p. 141)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine de junio de 1911 (Vol. I, No. 5, p. 141)

Sobre esta obra, Emilio García Riera, Margarita de Orellana y Juan Felipe Leal la incluyen en sus respectivas filmografías extranjeras de cine de ficción sobre México con el simple comentario de “aventuras en la revolución mexicana.” La cinta tuvo un anuncio de página entera en forma de cruz en la edición del 18 de febrero de 1911 de The Moving Picture World, donde curiosamente también se publicita la cinta The Mexican Centennial de la misma casa productora, Powers Company. Destaca que la cinta se estrenó el 25 de febrero.

The Moving Picture World (Vol. VIII, No. 7, Feb. 18, 1911, p. 381)
The Moving Picture World del 18 de febrero de 1911 (Vol. VIII, No. 7, p. 381)