Archivo de la categoría: Photoplay Magazine

Actrices mexicanas en Photoplay Magazine (1922)

Este mensuario fue la revista líder para los fanáticos del cine durante las décadas de 1920 y 30. Photoplay Magazine ofrecía a sus lectores retratos de sus artistas favoritos así como reportajes de la vida privada de las estrellas. La revista jugó un rol importante para las industria de Hollywood como vehículo de promoción, pero también es conocido que sus editores y críticos podían ser bastante rudos con Hollywood.

En el número correspondiente a junio de 1922 apareció un puñado de fotografías de artistas mexicanas. Son siete fotografías: tres en una página y cuatro en otra. La única actriz con más de una fotografía es María Conesa. Resulta curiosa que antepongan señorita a todos los nombres.

Photoplay (Vol. XXI, No. 2, Jun. 1922, p. 52)
Photoplay Magazine de junio de 1922 (Vol. XXI, No. 2, p. 52)

A María Conesa, La gatita blanca, no hay necesidad de presentarla, además de ser la única de la cual se publican dos imágenes. Tampoco a la Pina Menicheli mexicana, Emma Padilla, quien saltara a la fama con La luz, tríptico de la vida moderna en 1917, aunque para Photoplay es la Mary Pickford mexicana. Cristina Pereda actuó en 1920 en la cinta The Woman and the Puppet (La mujer y el títere) dirigida por Reginald Barker y estelarizada por Geraldine Farrar y Lou Tellegen. Por lo que respecta a María Tabau, la que aparece en la fotografía no es la actriz española. Tabau nació en 1854 y murió en 1914; así pues no puede ser ella, sin embargo no reconozco el rostro. Elvira Ortiz tiene papeles protagónicos en Carmen y En la hacienda, ambas cintan producidas por Germán Camus y dirigidas por Ernesto Vollrath en 1921. De Eugenia Zuffoli no hay registro alguno. No incluir a Mimí Derba es una notoria omisión.

El par de párrafos, traducidos a continuación, mantinen ese tufo de superioridad sobre los países latinoamericanos. Su concepción de la geografía también me resultó bastante bizarro: según ellos estamos localizados en Sudamérica:

Estrellas de cine que nunca ha visto

Un país que presume de un solo estudio de cine y escasos buenos teatros.

Después de 10 años de turbulencia la industria cinematográfica en México recién comienza. Pero no debemos descalificarla con un solo vocablo, pues es un pequeño y bien equipado estudio con excelente iluminación y cámaras como las que tenemos aquí: y sus estrellas mantienen un nivel importante dentro de la industria del entretenimiento de las repúblicas de Sudamérica.

Los teatros de allá están oscuros, sucios y mal ventilados. Un extranjero encuentra todos los intertítulos en español, la conversación también, pero uno se permite olvidar todo eso por la fina belleza de las artistas.

Permítanos presentarlas.

Photoplay (Vol. XXI, No. 2, Jun. 1922, p. 53)
Photoplay Magazine de junio de 1922 (Vol. XXI, No. 2, p. 53)

The Evil Eye (1916)

En la revista Photoplay, marzo 1917, volumen 11, No. 4, pp. 125-132 hay una narración escrita por Mrs. Ray Long sobre el filme The Evil Eye donde se describen a detalle los incidentes de la película. De ella tomo los fotogramas que acompañan la ficha y los comentarios de García Riera.

The Evil Eye es un melodrama producido por Jesse L. Lasky para la Paramount (1916) y dirigido por George Melford con argumento de Hector Turnbull basado en la novela de George Dubois Proctor. Los intérpretes fueron Blanche Sweet (Dra. Katherine Torrance), Tom Forman (Leonard Sheldon), Webster Campbell (Frank King), J. Parks Jones (Clifford, Katherine’s brother), Walter Long (Mexican Joe), Ruth King (Rosa). 5 rollos.

Fotograma: Photoplay, volumen 11, junio 1917, p. 130

Según Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero, vol. 2, p. 59:

Unos trabajadores mexicanos ignorantes y supersticiosos toman por un ojo diabólico la lámpara que una doctora norteamericana utiliza para combatir una epidemia. Ellos tiran sus medicinas y tratan de quemarle los ojos, pero la doctora es salvada en el último instante por su novio.

El mismo autor en el volumen 1 de la misma obra mencionada, página 91, escribe:

[E]n otros casos, la ignorancia mexicana tomaba las formas de la superstición: En The Evil Eye (1916), unos mexicanos creían un “ojo diabólico” la lámpara de una doctora norteamericana, a quien trataban en consecuencia (?) de dejar ciega.

Fotograma: Photoplay, volumen 11, junio 1917, p. 132

Lo que no consigna García Riera es que al final de la película es un cura, el padre Silvestro (sic) quien junta a la población para explicarles la finalidad del instrumental que utiliza la doctora, así como el próximo matrimonio con su novio Frank King. La cinta concluye cuando el grupo de mexicanos acepta la explicación y consideran que el único ojo diabólico existente es el perteneciente a Mexican Joe.

El actor Walter Long interpretó varias veces a bandidos mexicanos, sin embargo su papel como Antonio López de Santa Anna en Martyrs of the Alamo (1915) es excelente. Se le recuerda también por sus trabajos interpretativos de Gus, un negro renegado en El nacimiento de una nación y como uno de los mosqueteros en Intolerancia; ambas de D. W. Griffith. Otros filmes donde fue “mexicano” fueron The Cost of Hatred (George Melford, 1917), Let Katie Do It (Chester y Sidney Franklin, 1916) y Desert Gold (T. Hayes Hunter, 1919) por mencionar algunas.

Cuando Antonio Moreno jugó base-ball contra Charles Chaplin

La tarde del sábado 31 de marzo de 1917 se realizó un juego de base-ball en el parque Washington de Los Ángeles entre los “trágicos” y los “cómicos” en apoyo a la Cruz Roja. Fue una verdadera batalla entre actores cómicos y actores melodramáticos.

Charles Chaplin en el montículo inicia sus movimientos para el lanzamiento a home. Foto: Photoplay, volumen 12, junio 1917, p. 111

Las alineaciones fueron toda una pléyade de famosos de Hollywood de esos años. Por los “cómicos” jugaron: Charles Chaplin (pitcher), Eric Campbell (catcher), Charles Murray (1ª. base), Slim Summerville (2ª. base), Bobby Dunn (short stop), Hank Mann (3ª. Base), Lonesome Luke (jardín izquierdo), Ben Turpin (jardín central) y Chester Conklin (jardín derecho). La alineación de los “trágicos”: Wallace Reid (p), William Desmond (c), George Walsh (1b), Gene Pallete (2b), Antonio Moreno (ss), Franklyn Farnum (3b), Jack Pickford (ji), George Beban (jc) y Hobart Bosworth (jd). Fingieron como umpires Barney Oldfield y James J. Jeffries.

El juego no duró más que tres entradas, pues Reid mandó un batazo a las gradas, pero de foul. Sin embargo la bola fue regresada al campo. El umpire Oldfield marco foul, pero una cincuentena de los policías de la Keystone lo revolcaron en el campo y debido a la superioridad en número, Oldfield tuvo que cambiar su decisión, mientras Chaplin lanzaba bola tras bola al home plate.

Obvio que el juego era de exhibición para el deleite del público, que más que asistir a un juego de pelota, estaba ahí para una parodia de ese deporte. Lo que me llamó la atención de la noticia fue que el actor español Antonio Moreno –quien fuera en 1931 el director de Santa, la primera cinta con sonido directo filmada en México—jugara  base-ball contra el inglés Charles Chaplin. El primero en el short stop y el otro de pitcher.

Antonio “Tony” Moreno en Hollywood

Motion Picture Classic, 1920

Antonio Moreno, quien fuera el director de Lupita Tovar en Santa (1931) tuvo una prolífica carrera como actor en Hollywood durante los años veinte. A continuación un artículo y fotografías aparecidas en varias revistas de espectáculos de la época.

En 1914 inició como co-protagonista de seriales donde aparecía la popular Pearl White. Estas apariciones le ayudaron a incrementar su popularidad entre el naciente público cinéfilo. Para 1915, Moreno era reconocido como uno de los ídolos cinematográficos del momento y actuba al lado de Gloria Swanson, Blanche Sweet, Pola Negri y Dorothy Gish. Se le consideró un clásico Latin Lover junto con el mexicano Ramón Novarro y Rodolfo Valentino.Nació con el nombre de Antonio Garrido Monteagudo en Madrid y emigró a Estados Unidos a la edad de 14 años; se estableció en Massachusetts donde terminó su educación. Después de estudiar en el seminario de Williston se convirtió en actor de teatro del circuito local. En 1912 se mudó a Hollywood donde lo firmó Vitagraph Studios para pequeños papeles y como extra.

Photoplay, April 1924

Al inicio de la década de los veinte, Antonio Moreno ingresó a la compañía de Jesse Lasky, Famous Players y se convirtió en uno de los actores mejor pagados. En 1926 actuó al lado de la estrella sueca Greta Garbo en el filme The Temptress (Fred Niblo) y al año siguiente con Clara Bow en la exitosa It (Clarence G. Badger).

Con la llegada del cine parlante la carrera de Antonio Moreno comenzó a languidecer, en parte debido a su fuerte acento his. Por esa época es que viene a México a dirigir Santa (1931) y Águilas frente al sol (1932). En Estados Unidos sólo co-dirigió un filme, The Veiled Mystery (1920), donde también fue el protagonista.

Un artículo firmado por “Tony” Moreno y publicado en Pantomime de marzo de 1922:

Pantomime, March 11, 1922

“Action!” por Tracy Mathewson

En el Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, No. 4, March 1917, pp. 43-47 y 142, Tracy Mathewson narra su experiencia de filmar una verdadera batalla en suelo mexicano al seguir con la expedición punitiva la búsqueda de Pancho Villa.

La transcripción del relato al español está en el libro de Aurelio de los Reyes Con Villa en México: Testimonios de camarógrafos norteamericanos en la revolución (UNAM, 1992), pp. 216-220 y corresponde al documento núm. 92. Tomo de esa obra la ficha de Tracy Mathewson (p. 380):

William Fox y Tracy Mathewson durane la Expedición Punitiva (Foto: Library of Congress)

Al parecer llegó a la frontera mexicana en 1913, en donde estuvo hasta 1917. Ignoro para qué empresa trabajaba durante los primeros años. En 1916 retrató las consecuencias del ataque de Villa a Columbus para el Hearst-Vitagraph News Pictorial y acompañó a la expedición punitiva comandada por Pershing. Más tarde fue el camarógrafo oficial que retrató el viaje del príncipe de Gales a Canadá en 1920. Escribió su experiencia mexicana en un artículo titulado Action publicado por Photoplay en marzo de 1917

Las ilustraciones de Grant R. Reynard adornan el siguiente relato de Tracy Mathewson:

Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, March 1917, pp. 43

A thrilling story of a life’s ambition realized, told by a lens chronicler of border warfare

“ACTION”

HOW A GREAT BATTLE SCENE WAS FILMED: AND WHAT HAPPENED THEN

By Tracy Mathewson

Illustrations by Grant R. Reynard

For three years I chased up and down the border trying to get a moving picture of a real fight.

I lugged my heavy pack of equipment through alkali and cactus, across rivers and mountain ranges, in pursuit of “action,” which is a by-word with the “movies” no less than with the army.

And I always missed them! I was at Norias just six hours after that gallant little band of eight cavalrymen and five citizens had held off and finally whipped a band of eighty-five Mexican bandits. I arrived in a cloud of dust at the old illegal ferry at Progeso, where Lieutenant Henry was wounded and Corporal Whelman was killed. I galloped into Los Indios just two hours after the treacherous attack on the little outpost of cavalrymen. It was at Los Indios, you may recall, that Private Kraft added a brilliant paragraph to the army’s history and with it gave his life.

I got into Columbus the night after Pancho Villa and his renegades raided that town. I went in with the First Punitive Expedition under General Pershing, actually joining the army for the chance to get some real “action.” I was allowed to go no further that Casas Grandes with my camera and, of course, the expedition put off all its fighting until I had returned.

While I was turning the crank on the peace conference at the international bridge one Sunday – you remember, of course, those meetings of Scott and Funston with Minister of War Obregon – there came word of the raids at Boquillas and Glenn Springs. I suffered all the tortures of a desert hike to reach there and join the Second Punitive Expedition, commanded by Colonel Sibley of the Fourteenth and Major Langhorne of the Eighth cavalry. As soon as I saw Major Langhorne and talked with him I felt that I was really on the heels of real “action.” There’s a real soldier for you.

I stuck with him. One morning two squads left camp on two hot trails. Lieutenant Cramer and a squad from Troop B followed one of the trails, another squad took the second. I went with the second and we just galloped until the trail grew ice cold, then we dragged back to headquarters, my equipment straps cutting deep into my shoulders. Funny I never do notice the weight of my equipment when I start out. But coming back…

Well, that evening it weighed a ton. Just as we reached camp Lieutenant Cramer and his men returned tired and dusty but beatifically happy. Ahead of them were two carts loaded with the loot taken by the Mexicans at Glenn Springs. On top of each cart sat an American trooper driving. Instead of his own jaunty campaign hat, each driver wore a Mexican sombrero. In the carts were the owners of the sombreros – wounded Mexican bandits. One of them had seven holes drilled through him.

Trailing each cart were three Mexican horses, bearing gaudy saddles and scabbards from which the operating ends of powerful 30-30s protruded. In the middle of the procession was a little herd of American cavalry horses ridden off by the Mexicans at Glenn Springs.

Picturesque, you bet. And I turned the reel on them.

But as I turned my heart was as heavy as my equipment.

I missed real “action.”

I was so disheartened that my gloom began to be traditional, I guess, in every American camp and outpost along the border.

“We may have war yet,” said an artillery captain, “if we can only persuade Mathewson to leave the border.”

Suck was my luck. I had about given up hope of ever getting in on a really true fight with my camera. Then one night came a telegram from one of my soldier friends and hope, that is supposed to spring eternal, did a double, back flip-flop once more in my breast.

“Chico Canoa and a big band have broken loose in Big Bend country,” said the wire. “Killed rancher and wife and driving off horses toward Carranza lines. We start after them in an hour. Get automobile and join detachment at mouth of Dead Man’s Canyon just over Rim Rock. There at daylight. Looks like action this time.”

Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, March 1917, pp. 45

Ten minutes later I had my equipment piled into a big motor and Bill Klondike, the greatest driver that ever held the flying wheels down into the trackless sand, had settled down to a night’s drive. We burned up the desert miles, keeping the great dipper and its sentry, the North Star, to our backs, I hoping and praying that nothing would happen to the motor to prevent the fulfillment of my engagement with the troopers. Bill Klondike was busy seeing that nothing did happen.

All night long we rode. Our headlights were thrown on bunches of cattle, huddled together for warmth. We ran around long-eared burros, who were always too interested in their midnight frolics to turn out for us. We spec by abandoned ranch houses. Occasionally, from under full-bloomed Spanish bayonet plants, a big-eyed, long-eared jack rabbit would scurry and fly across the desert – probably to gossip with the gophers and prairie-dogs about the thing he had seen flash by with eyes like two suns.

We were driving still when the dawn came. As the sun reached high enough to take the chill out of the air we topped the Rim Rock. Far across the mesa we could see the little group of cavalrymen as they reached the mouth of the canyon. There is never any chance of mistaking them.

Within an hour the morning breeze brought us the appetizing scent of the breakfast “chow” and shortly afterward we were at mess with them. Then came the order to take up the swift march. I said goodbye to Bill Klondike, who reluctantly started back on the hundred-mile trip. Then I straddled a cavalry mount and wheeled into line with the troopers.

It developed that we were on the hottest sort of trail after a pack of the most desperate bandits that ever rustled cattle along the border. The march led over some wonderful mountain trails. Mile after mile we went in single file, looking down into depths so steep that cattle looked like tiny sotol weeds. It was the most beautiful country I had ever seen. But I did not sacrifice an inch of celluloid. I was saving it all for “action.”

At noon we made a brief stop for chow and then pressed on. Just after sunset we reached a spot where the charred sticks of a fire and other signs told us that the bandits had camped a short time before. We used their fire to heat a gulp of coffee all around.

Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, March 1917, pp. 46

There was no chance to rest. But none thought of rest. Even the big cavalry horses seemed eager to push forward. Somehow, whenever I see one of these splendid beasts my hand always itches for the crank.

At daylight we neared Ojo Chavez and caught our first sight of the bandits. About fifty of them were camped in a little clump of cottonwoods. All the horses and cattle they had stolen on recent raids were corralled nearby.

“They’re going to stay there a while,” said the officer who had sent me the telegram. “We are going to rest here all day. We advance tonight and we’ll attack in the morning. Get to your blankets and try to sleep. You’ll need it before you’re through.”

There was no sleep for me. All day we lay on top of an unnamed barren mountain in the blistering sun. The wind lifted great clouds of dust that settled on our lips, which swelled and cracked open. Eyes smarted and burned but never for a moment failed to watch the bandit camp. But it wasn’t this suffering that caused me to keep wakeful; I had suffered before in campaigns. This time, though, I seemed so near to the realization of my hopes. I just kept going over my equipment a score of times, to be sure, that nothing would be overlooked. I was tempted to start ahead and select my position. Perhaps my friend, the officer, noticed this.

“Matty, if you don’t take a siesta I’ll put you under guard,” he said. “You are my only worry. It’s a moral certainty that action is waiting us below and the only chance against it is your jinks.”

This was unkind. But each hour made the situation more tense.

At last the sun dropped behind the western range. The eagles ceased to fly over us. Little night creatures came out of their holes, looked curiously at us and scampered away. Night came.

We were called before the commanding officer. “We will divide into two squads,” said he. “The first squad will work its way around to the right of those cottonwoods and wait for dawn. The bugler probably will sound charge as soon as it is light enough to shoot. The other outfit will work down the side of this mountain and take its position in the arroyo and wait for the bugle.

“We shall be able to surprise them, probably, and clean up in the first rush. One unit will be left behind to watch our horses and cut off any chance of retreat. Wait for the bugle to sound ‘charge’!”

The officers prepared to leave. As we left him, the commanding officer beckoned me to him. “Mathewson, if we don’t wipe out this band,” he said, “you steal the nearest horse and ride for your life. Because it will be your fault.” The he told me that I would accompany the second squad, bound for the arroyo.

The second squad started down the mountain about ten. Most of the trip was made on our hands and knees. I carried my camera myself and I gave it the care that would have embarrassed a keg of dynamite. Two troopers had been assigned to help me with my tripod and other equipment. For four hours we scrambled down that mountain-side, cut by rocks until our clothes were in shreds. The cactus and Spanish bayonet jabbed at us from the dark.

Finally we reached the arroyo. I twisted a piece of handkerchief around a long gash on my salary hand before we began the agonizing crawl once more. Closer and closer we crept to the bandit camp and then the commander of our outfit passed the whisper back to halt where we were.

I rested my camera and snuggled down into a cactus bed.

The first gray streaks of dawn began to smear across the sky. I could distinguish the bulky form of Sergeant Noyes just ahead of me. Then I made out the ugly figure of a horned toad between the two of us. It seemed almost light enough to shoot, although I was content to wait.

Yet that wait was a heart-breaker. There I was on the edge of real “action” at last. Also, I was on the firing line for the first time. I tried to imagine which I cherished most, my life or the picture.

“Sh-h-h!” hissed Sergeant Noyes.

I had quite unconsciously been praying. Praying and watching the funny little horned toad between Sergeant Noyes and myself.

Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, March 1917, pp. 47

“Where’s that bugle?” whispered someone querulously.

“Sh-h-h-!” hissed Sergeant Noyes.

The sun began to cut through the clouds. It was almost light enough for pictures. I licked my lips and prayed and looked at the horned toad. The horned toad seemed smaller. The sun rose higher.

“Where’s that bugle?” demanded a whisper behind me.

“Please God,” I prayed, “let me get this picture and don’t let me get shot. And don’t let any of these boys I have ridden and suffered with get shot. But please God, let me get this picture.”

Sergeant Noyes’ big hand went out slowly and closed over the horned toad. He tucked it in his breast pocket solemnly.

“Where’s that bugle?” insisted the voice in back of me.

“Sh-h-h!” Noyes hissed again.

“Please God, let me get this picture,” I mumbled. “Oh, God, just let me get some real action. Some real action. God…”

The bugle!

Clear and sweet came the call.

Charge!

Out over the edge of the arroyo we scrambled. I jumped over with my camera and tripod. I jammed the steel claws into the sand and rocks just as the rifles began to spit.

“Please God, let me get it,” I cried. “Please God…”

Then I turned the handle and began the greatest picture ever filmed.

“Give ‘em hell boys!” I shouted, and all the oaths I had ever learned came back to me.

One of the tripod bearers smiled at my shouting and as he smiled he clutched his hands to his abdomen and fell forward, kicking.

I snatched up my camera – how feathery light it was – and went forward with our rifles.

I timed my cursing to the turn of the handle and it was very smooth.

“Action” I cried. “This is what I’ve wanted. Give ‘em hell, boys. Wipe out the blinkety, blank, dashed greasers!”

All the oaths that men use were at my tongue’s end.

I was in the midst of it. I learned the whistle of a bullet. They tore up little jets of sand all around me. All the time I turned the crank.

One greaser made a rush for my camera. As he swung his gun, someone shot over my shoulder. The greaser threw his hands high over his head and fell on his face.

“It’s action!” I shouted.

“Next time let go that handle and duck,” called Sergeant Noyes, as he passed me. “I was lucky to get him. They think that thing is a machine gun, I guess.”

“To hell with them!” I cried. “Let ‘em come and die in front of my camera. It’s action!”

To my left I heard more cursing. Big Schwartz, the greatest football player of his regiment, was holding his big right foot up. McDonald, his Bunkie, was slapping on a first aid bandage where a Mexican soft nose bullet had torn its way.

“That ends me,” wailed Schwartz. “Now that asterisk, blank Fourteenth will cop the championship! Who’s going to punt for us?”

ilustración de Grant T. Reynard. Photoplay Magazine, Volume XI, March 1917, pp. 43

McDonald began to weep.

“Get out of here, you little runt,” yelled Schwartz. “Go in there and get those blanket spicks.”

To the right the bandits tried to make a stand. Noyes and a little squad threw themselves forward. I went along, still cursing joyously.

Right on the edge of the melee, I set up the camera again. I turned the crank gleefully.

Then in the finder I saw Sergeant Noyes fall to the ground with a big hole torn in his forehead. Slowly from the bosom of his shirt crawled the little horned toad and blinked in the sun.

Our boys drove them back into a draw. My camera was set up in the thick of it. It was the finish of the reel. From the first charge to the last stand I had recorded the greatest motion picture ever taken.

“Action!” I cried, as our boys cut them down.

Then somewhere out of that tangle of guns a bullet cut its way.

“Zz-zing!”

I heard it whistle. The splinters cut my face as it hit the camera. It ripped the side open and smashed the little wooden magazine.

I sprang crazily to stop it with my hands. But out of the box uncoiled the precious film. Stretching and glistening in the sun, it fell and died. I stood and watched it dumbly.

Sometime later, they found me sprawled face downward under the tripod. They thought I had been killed, until they heard me sob. And then they knew it was only that my heart was broken.