Archivo de la etiqueta: Margarita de Orellana

The Mexican Joan of Arc (1911)

En México visto por el cine extranjero, Emilio García Riera documenta lo siguiente sobre esta película:

Como se ve, la Biograph, prestigiada por el trabajo de Griffith, no quiso meterse en líos revolucionarios. Fueron la Lubin (fundada en Filadelfia, en 1897, por Sigmund Lubin) y la Kalem de Chicago (fundada en 1907 por George Klein, Samuel Long y Frank Marion) las compañías más ocupadas en inventar una revolución mexicana para el público de los nickelodeons, un público que el trust insistía en imaginar compuesto por algo así como retrasados mentales. (Bueno: tampoco los productores eran, ellos mismos, intelectualmente refinados y ajenos a los más vulgares incentivos de la codicia.)

Por eso, no es del todo creíble la publicidad de la Kalem que presumió en The Moving Picture World (23 de julio de 1911) de haber filmado en México su cinta The Mexican Joan of Arc.

… se inspiró en un hecho real: el asesinato en Sonora, a principios de 1911 de Severino Talamantes y sus dos hijos, Severino y Arnulfo, por los porfiristas y la consiguiente conversión de la viuda Talamantes en una vengadora jefa de guerrilleros. Resulta dudoso que la cinta fuera realmente filmada en México, pero eso no quita el mérito de su apoyo, excepcional para la época, en hechos verdaderos. (pp. 48-49)

The Moving Picture World del 15 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 1,  p. 9)
The Moving Picture World del 15 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 9)

La cinta The Mexican Joan of Arc trata sobre un hecho real y Margarita de Orellana profundiza en su obra La mirada circular donde comenta que:

A mediados de 1911 se realiza una película que tiene diferencias con las otras que se hicieron sobre la Revolución Mexicana en esa misma época. Vale la pena comentar algunas de sus características porque está basada en un hecho real y ambientada con los requisitos indispensables del exotismo, además de que no entra completamente en los esquemas imaginarios que son redundantes en casi todas las películas que se hicieron sobre el tema. Esta cinta se llama La Juana de Arco mexicana y fue realizada por la Kalem en julio de 1911, dos meses después de la partida de Porfirio Díaz.

En ella se hace alusión a la crueldad y a la injusticia del gobierno de Díaz y se retoma el caso real de una mujer que se levantó en armas contra el gobierno para vengar la ejecución arbitraria de su esposo y de sus hijos. La Juana de Arco mexicana es una narración que alcanza una demensión épica excepcional, comparándola con las películas que se habían hecho sobre el tema y con las que se harían en los siguientes años. El melodrama de la mujer que pierde a su familia y el ambiente exótico son rebasados por la fuerza dramática con la que se representa el levantamiento popular.

Los productores buscaron la atención del público no solamente por medio del interés de la intriga, o su inserción en la actualidad o con su exotismo, sino además por la dimensión mítica que en sí misma tenía la historia de una mujer que ya era leyenda. (p. 154)

The Moving Picture World de julio 29, 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 181)
La Juana de Arco mexicana es la verdadera historia de la viuda de Talamantes. Todas las escenas de esta historia fueron tomadas en México y muchos de los actores que representan a los personajes son auténticos mexicanos e indios. La historia de la relación de la viuda de Talamantes con la reciente Revolución Mexicana es bien conocida de todos los lectores de la prensa cotidiana, puesto que ha sido contada por todos los periódicos importantes del mundo. The Moving Picture World del 29 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 181)

(En esta película todos los actores aparecían con la cara pintada de negro para enfatizar el hecho de que se trataba de mexicanos. Parece que esto era frecuente en esos años en el cine norteamericano). (p. 181)

The Moving Picture World del 15 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 9, p. 19) publicó un reseña de W. Stephen Bush donde el “crítico” expresa admiración por la cinta y exterioriza las bondades de la misma

THE MEXICAN JOAN OF ARC (Kalem)

Reviewied by W. Stephen Bush

The great empire to the south of us has often in the past been the theater of bloody and stirring events, but its annals hold no record of a more truly elemental tragedy than is told in this silent drama. It is a true story, well attested by the Mexican press and authentic American news dispatcher. A plain woman of the people, content to be nothing more than a faithful wife and loving mother is suddenly plunged into a fearful anxiety for the lives of her husband and sons. President Díaz, bold in his youth, resolute in his prime and bloody in his old age, suspecting like the half-mad emperors of old Rome danger where there was no danger, causes through his “jefe politico” the arrest of Talamantes and his two sons. They are torn from the bosom of their family and rushed to a “corte,” nominally a court of justice, but as a matter of fact nothing but a legal convenience for the designs of the despot. The dictator’s tool, one Zefas, is drunk, when Talamantes and his sons are arraigned before him and even in his drunken mood he condemns father and sons to death. The sentence is promptly carried out, even while the wife and mother pleads for mercy or delay with the drunken military judge. The halting utterances of the judge make her understand the frightful truth, that she is a widow and a twice-bereaved mother. The widow swears to be avenged upon Zefas and his master and becomes indeed the Nemesis of the wretched Zefas and contributes not a little to the success of the insurrection and the dethronement and the thinly disguised Hi the tyrant Díaz such in very few words is the story.

It possesses a tragic power greater than that of “Joan of Arc.” The latter was impelled by patriotism, moved by heavenly visions to come to the aid of her king. It was not the woman, not the sweetheart, wife or mother that stirred within her when she confronted Talbot and Salisbury, but the Frenchwoman, the loyal subject of the French king. As a motive for action, patriotism, however laudable, cannot for a moment compare with the far deeper and more primitive and elemental emotion of wife’s and mother’s love.

A woman roused and determined and spurred on by the wrongs the has suffered as a wife and mother rises at once to heroic size in the eyes of any audience and gives the play a power and dignity, which, it would otherwise not possess. The widow Talamantes eared nothing about the insurrection in itself, she uses the insurrection as a means to an end and thereby lifts the whole story into a higher plane of dramatic force and interest. What must otherwise have been a common tale of war and politics now becomes a tragedy in the truest sense of that word.

The Moving Picture World del 15 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 19)
The Moving Picture World del 15 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 19)

There is so much other merit in this film, as will appear presently, that it would rise above the level of the ordinary, even if the part of the widow Talamantes had not been taken by a competent and gifted artist. As a matter of fact, however, the actress, Jane Wolf, who essayed this difficult role, measured up to every inch of her responsibilities. Her great test came with the scene in the “corte federal.” which she entered as a half-broken, pleading woman and left a few minutes afterwards like a very goddess of vengeance, “filled to the top with direst cruelty.” None but a chosen votary of the histrionic art could have done the work she accomplished. When the awful truth at last dawned upon her and she realized that husband and sons were dead she manifested in all her despair and fury that control and poise, which is of the essence of art. Her oath of vengeance was a consummate piece of acting. All other characters in the play were of course subordinated to that of the widow Talamantes, but whatever she needed of capable support was well supplied by the rest of the company. The latter, it must be specially mentioned, were not the regular Kalem players, but all Mexicans, half-breeds and Indians. How much more eloquent the Southern races are with their faces and their hands and fingers than we of more Northern origin was again illustrated in the course of this reel and it was a most pleasant relief to see real Mexicans, real half-breeds and real Mexican Indians after the caricatures that nightly parade through the films of the cheaper sort.

The play possesses an uncommon historic value, first because it deals with an authentic contemporaneous event, and second, because it shows us the real Mexico as it exists to-day. All the pictures were taken on Mexican soil in the very neighborhood in which the actual scenes in the tragedy, as reported by the newspapers, had taken place. It is a way of teaching history and geography which cannot be surpassed. For such an education, conveyed in such manner children and grown people will alike be thankful. We know to-day but little more than our grandfathers about the land of the “conquistadores,” but with the modern moving picture this will soon be changed.

One word more about the last scene. When vengeance has been wreaked on Zefas the title tells us, and so does without words the widow Talamantes: “Now I will go back to my people.” It is a fine dramatic conclusion, which no audience can fail to perceive and appreciate.

También en The Moving Picture World, pero del 29 de julio de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 223) apareció la siguiente breve sinopsis; sin embargo utilizan un nombre distinto para el personaje del oficial federal: Coronel Cephis a diferencia de la reseña anterior donde utilizan Zefas.

THE MEXICAN JOAN OF ARC (July 31) KALEM

Señor Talamantes and his sons are arrested as insurrecto suspects. Colonel Cephis, of the Mexican regular army, condemns them to death without trial. The Widow Talamantes swears retribution for the unjust death of her husband and sons. Carrying out her plans, the widow organizes a company of Indians and Mexicans and joins the insurrectos. The Widow Talamantes sends a disguised insurrecto to Colonel Cephis’ headquarters, who induces the Colonel to spend the night in a small Mexican hotel. The next morning Colonel Cephis awakes to find the town in the hands of the insurrectos. While attempting flight he is ambuscaded by the Widow Talamantes and her little band of insurrectos and captured. A drum-head court martial quickly condemns him to death. The widow’s mission being completed, she returns to her people.

The Moving Picture World del 8 de julio de 1911 (Vol. VIII, No. 27, p. 1561)
The Moving Picture World del 8 de julio de 1911 (Vol. VIII, No. 27, p. 1561)

Por último, la nota sobre un exhibidor en Seatttle que apostó por la cinta. Nota publicada en The Moving Picture World del 19 de agosto de 1911 (Vol. IX, No. 6, p. 470):

The Circuit Theater, of this city [Seattle], secured Kalem´s Historical Drama, “The Mexican Joan of Arc,” and ranks as one of the best productions Kalem has turned out. Manager Levy states they play to very good houses during the four-day stay.

Dos cintas con el mismo título: “Saved by the Flag”

Dos cintas con idéntico título se produjeron en los años 1910 y 1911. Una producida por la Vitagraph y otra por la casa Pathé. Una de ellas, la producción Pathé, se escenifica en México; la de la Vitagraph se desarrolla en un país utópico de Sudamérica, pero con personajes muy mexicanos como se puede ver en el fotograma adjunto. Ambas consideran al norteamericano superior al mexicano. En la producción de la Vitagraph filmada en 1910, unos norteamericanos salvan de un linchamiento a un individuo en un país imaginario de Sudamérica; en la filmada por la casa Pathé en 1911, un norteamericano salva a su novia llevándola al otro lado de la frontera.

The Moving Picture World publicó sinopsis y anuncios de ambas cintas. De entrada la de la casa Vitagraph que se estrenó el 1 de julio de 1910. En The Moving Picture World del 2 de julio de 1910 (Vol. VII, No. 1, p. 34) se comenta su estreno junto con una comedia.

On Friday, July 1, “Saved by the Flag,” a South American drama with a thrilling plot and picturesque setting. On the same film “Wilson’s Wife’s Countenance” will make this day’s release a double-header, two in one, with a total length of 997 feet. “Wilson’s Wife’s Countenance” is a bright little comedy, with a big laugh and sharp satire.

The Moving Picture World del 9 de julio de 1910 (Vol. VII, No. 2, p. 60)
The Moving Picture World del 9 de julio de 1910 (Vol. VII, No. 2, p. 60)

Tambien en The Moving Picture World, pero en el ejemplar del 6 de julio de 1910 (Vol. VII, No. 3, p. 142) se publica una breve sinopsis de la cinta. Esta cinta, según el IMDb fue dirigida por Lawrence Trimble con las actuaciones de Ralph Ince y Edith Storey.

“Saved by the Flag” (Vitagraph).—A dramatic picture representing an episode in South America, where the Stars and Stripes prevent a mob, incited by an incensed discharged employee, from lynching an innocent man. There is something of a thrill in the fact that the flag is really as powerful. It is a phase which is not in evidence in this country, where its protection is a matter of course. The scenery representing South America appears to be reasonably accurate, and there is a spirit and a dash to the picture which makes it attractive and thrilling enough to make the pulses leap in sympathy with the story it tells.

En la revista The Nickelodeon del 1 de julio de 1910 (Vol. IV, No. 1, p. 21) aparece la siguiente sinopsis de la cinta producida por la Vitagraph:

SAVED BY THE FLAG. In the hot sun of South America the hands employed by Hampton, an American ship owner and planter, are lazily whiling away their time when the planter unexpectedly appears upon the scene and reprimands the foreman for neglecting his duty and not urging the men to get the cargo aboard the boat that she may start her voyage on scheduled time. The foreman answers back angrily and is at once discharged by the planter. Embitted and embarrassed, the foreman decides upon revenge, which is more fully aroused when he sees his swetheart talking to the planter, who seems to be attracted by the pretty Creole. While watching the loading of the vessel a messenger arrives and hands the planter a message from an old friend, Captain Gillet, of the United States cruiser, that he has just landed his steamship in port and will take dinner with him. The captain and the planter are seated in the latter’s garden, and while smoking and talking, Paola, the pretty Creole whom we saw in the first scene, passes by the house. The captain urges his friend to go speak to her, while he waits for his return. Hampton goes to her and they walk out in the grove some distance. The discharged foreman, with murder in his heart, is watching the lovers from behind a tree, and, unobserved, shoots the girl in the back. While the planter goes for help, the foreman rushes forward and throws the pistol beside the prostrate girl, then runs for the guards, with whom he returns and accuses the planter of having shot her, pointing to the pistol as evidence. The planter is arrested and put in jail. Paola is carried to her home and placed under the care of a nurse. The foreman spreads the news of the attempted murder by the American planter, and then arouses his countrymen to hatred and vengeanc against him. He then leads the mob to the jail, where they overcome the guards and take the American out to shoot him. Paola hears from her nurse of the plight of her lover. She insists upon getting out of her bed and going to his rescue. Sick and weak, with tottering steps, she hastens to tell Captain Gillet of Hampton’s danger. The capitain sends a messenger in all speed to the American consul, who gives orders to the captain to save the planter at all cost. With the American flag the consul jumps in his automobile and starts for the place where the mob are preparing to shoot their victim. The captain of the cruiser, with a company of marines, goes to the rescue, two able-bodied seamen carrying Paola. They arrive in time to place the flag across the breast of Hampton and defy the mob to shoot at their own peril. The crowd falls back in awe, and before they can recover themselves they are driven off by the captain and his men. Hampton is released and clasps Paola in his arms amid shouts of the boys in blue and white.—570 feet.

La cinta homónima filmada en 1911 por la Pathé se estrenó el 28 de octubre de 1911 y se publicó una sinopsis en The Moving Picture World del 21 de octubre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 3, p. 232):

SAVED BY THE FLAG (Oct. 28).—In Mexico a lieutenant in the United States Army on leave meets a beautiful young girl, who is a particular friend of a Mexican general. By his winning ways he soon succeeds in gaming the young lady’s affection much to the chagrin of the general.  Later he still further provokes the enmity of the Mexican general by compelling him to apologize for an insult to the American thug. Having fallen deeply in love with the young lady he so recently met, the lieutenant resigns from the army and takes no business in Mexico. Having done so the Mexican general is constantly on the alert for an opportunity lo revenge himself, and finally on a trumped up charge he sends a file of soldiers to arrest the American, who warned of their coming, mounts his horse with his bride and in a terrible ride makes for the frontier. The soldiers pursue him hotly, but when almost in the clutches of the Mexicans and his young wife dash across the frontier and tearing the American flag from the staff at the Custom House, wrap themselves in it and defy the representatives of Mexico.

The Moving Picture World del 7 de octubre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 1, p. 14)
The Moving Picture World del 7 de octubre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 1, p. 14)

También en The Moving Picture World del 11 de noviembre de 1911 (Vol. X, No. 6, p. 470) apareció una breve nota sobre la cinta:

Saved by the Flag (Pathé), October 28. – A conventional love story with the scene laid in Mexico and a chase as its chief feature. A young American wins the affections of a girl from her Mexican lover, who is a general in the army. Later, on a false charge, he sends a number of soldiers to arrest the American. He and his bride mount a carriage and ride furiously for the frontier, which they reach just in time to escape the soldiers. Seizing the American flag, they wrap themselves in it in a very spectacular way and defy the Mexican authorities to take them. There is a good deal of go in this chase.

Emilio García Riera comenta en el volumen I de su obra México visto por el cine extranjero sobre Saved by the Flag de 1911, que:

Lo que no decayó fue la manifestación de un patrioterismo norteamericano avivado por las turbulencias del vecino del sur y pródigo en banderas con barras y estrellas tan salvadoras a veces como indicativas, más adelante, de cierta impaciencia en la “espera vigilante”, pues si fueron ondeadas desde 1911 (Saved by the Flag, The Honor of the Flag), lo seguirían siendo en 1914 (Tony de Greaser). (p. 49)

Margarita de Orellana, por su parte, nos da una sinopsis de la película producida por la casa Pathé en su libro La mirada circular, donde le adjudica erróneamente la producción a la Kalem y los datos de la ficha filmográfica que ofrece pertenecen a la producción Vitagraph:

Un teniente norteamericano que se encuentra en México se enamora de una joven que es novia de un general mexicano. Logra conquistar a la señorita, lo que molesta mucho al general. Más tarde los dos hombres tienen un altercado porque el mexicano insulta a la bandera norteamericana. El teniente decide dejar el ejército de su país por el amor de la joven y dedicarse a los negocios en México. El general mexicano, herido en su amor propio, busca vengarse. Decide arrestar al norteamericano pero éste ya está sobre aviso y huye con su novia hacia la frontera. Los mexicanos están a punto de atraparlos, pero al llegar a la frontera los novios arrancan la bandera norteamericana de la aduana, se envuelven en ella y desafían desde el otro lado a los mexicanos. (p. 182)

War with Huerta (1914)

The Moving Picture World del 6 de junio de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 10, p. 1417) publicó una extensa reseña sobre el documental War with Huerta:

The Moving Picture World del 30 de mayo de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 9, p. 1202)
The Moving Picture World del 30 de mayo de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 9, p. 1202)

“War with Huerta” is Convincing

Mullin & Tisher Two-Reeler Shows Mexican Federals’ Defense of Torreon, with Scenes Made While Big Engagement Was in Progress

Reviewed by Randall M. White

There was expected in New York City, Wednesday, May 27th, the original negative of “War with Huerta,” the sensational Mexican War feature which Mullin & Tisher are selling throughout the country, through the Magnet Film Releasing Company, Room No. 401 World’s Tower Building. With the original negative were expected the first five prints which have been made. Shipment of prints to the many energetic exhibitors and state’s right men throughout the country who have purchased the feature was expected to begin on Thursday. Additional prints, at the rate of ten or twelve per day, are to be made in New York City to satisfy the big demand which has sprung up.

“War with Huerta” is in two parts and in the aggregate measures a little more than 2,000 feet. It is just what the most literal interpretation of the title would indicate, namely, “war.” as it is now being waged between the Federals and the Constitutionalists in the adjoining republic of Mexico, shown after extended trooping “with Huerta,” the Mexican dictator— “The Man of the Iron Mask”—whose failing power has been filling the newspapers for months and whose flight from Mexico City to seek refuge in Europe is rumored from day to day.

The picture will impress all who see it with its authenticity. If animated photographic views falsely purporting to represent the lively happenings in Mexico during the past few weeks are being shown, this is not one of them. It is claimed for the feature that it shows actual warfare between the Federals and the Constitutionalists outside of Torreon, and one has only to see the pictures to know that the claim is a just one. While the photography is clear enough to enable one to follow the sequence of event?, it may be said that the feature carries conviction of its genuineness largely because of the fact that the public is not asked to believe that the cameraman did what they regard as the impossible in making his exposures.

“War with Huerta” purports to be a topical release deriving its principal interest from the daily newspaper reports of the Mexican situation and calculated to provide those who witness it with a better understanding of existing conditions in the territory for the control of which the Federals and the Constitutionalists have been battling so long. In this sense, too, the offering is certain to prove a big success.

The picture is in two parts and logically opens with an easily deciphered map of the Republic of Mexico with the various cities prominently mentioned in the news dispatches from day to day plainly marked. Next, there is presented a close-up picture of Huerta, and immediately following reproduction of the spirit which was issued to the cameraman who trooped with the Federals for months to film the incidents which have been chosen. The strength of the Federal forces and the character of the men, both privates and officers, who have been so staunch in their defense of the Huerta regime is next set worth in pictures of a review of the Federal troops in the crowded streets of Mexico City. The ravages of war are next indicated with pictures of one of the big railway bridges destroyed, showing one of its spans gnarled and twisted as it lies in the bed of the river which it was built to cross; the debris of a train blown up by one of the warring factions is also pictured.

The Moving Picture World del 6 de junio de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 10, p. 1417)
The Moving Picture World del 6 de junio de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 10, p. 1417)

Following scenes showing the arrival of Federal troops at the front, Federal recruits at drill. Federal troops in camp, and Constitutionalists in camp and on outpost duty, the second part of the feature takes up the defense of Torreon as vainly made by Huerta’s soldiers. The Federal artillery in action is shown at close range and later the advance of the Constitutionalist forces is plainly recorded, the pictures showing the systematic firing of the Villa forces and the bursting of Federal shells above their heads. These battle scenes have quite evidently been taken at considerable distance from the subject, but they are remarkably convincing and are lacking in none of the detail required to prove that the pictures were made while the engagement was in progress. The ruins of Torreon after the battle, a battlefield strewn with Mexican dead, and the rough graves in which the dead were hastily buried are also shown before there comes the switch to a series of interesting views which show the activities of the United States troops, both land and water, along the Mexican border.

J. M. Mullin, who secured the feature, purchased the negative from a free-lance cameraman named Frank Jones, who has been operating out of Los Angeles for a number of years. Mr. Jones, who speaks the Mexican lingo like a native, spent several months with the Federals and built up a friendship with Huerta which proved quite valuable. As it is being offered state’s rights buyers to-day, the two-reel release is a condensation of approximately 5.000 feet of negative which Mr. Jones secured.

New Yorkers will remember Mr. Mullin as having conducted the United Film Rental Company on Twenty-third Street, New York, a few years ago. His Mullin Film Service, with headquarters in Syracuse and branch offices in eight other cities, was a more important enterprise. Leaving the eat Mr. Mullin engaged in the film business in Denver, Butte, Mont., and Portland, Ore., before locating in Los Angeles, Cal., where he had been for some time before coming on to New York with the Mexican war feature.

It is announced at the Mullin & Tisher officers that exhibiting rights in seventeen states of the Union have already been disposed of despite the fact that not a print has been shipped. The feature is being offered on a particularly liberal plan with the idea of interesting in special feature service a class of exhibitors who have not purchased “exclusives” before.

The Moving Picture World del 6 de junio de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 10, p. 1447)
The Moving Picture World del 6 de junio de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 10, p. 1447)

La misma revista en su sección dedicada a los exhibidores menciona a varios de ellos que han reservado la cinta al grado de que uno decidió subir el precio de entrada a 15 y 25 centavos, cantidad jamás cobrada en Monticello, Kentucky. La cinta fue un verdadero éxito entre el público norteamericano.

The Moving Picture World del 25 de julio de 1914 (Vol.XXI, No. 4, p. 597):

L. J. Dittmar, of the Majestic Amusement Company, Louisville, J. Johnson Musselman and Fred Sheldon of the Warner Feature Film Company of the city, recently purchased the Mexican war film known as “War with Huerta,”  and have the state rights for Indiana and Kentucky. A special company has been formed, known as the Mexican War Film Company, for the sole purpose of booking the reel. It is not incorporated. Practically every house in Louisville has shown it and arrangements are now being made in Indiana by Musselman.

The Moving Picture World del 8 de agosto de 1914 (Vol. XXI, No. 6, p. 849):

C. W. Simmons, manager of the Gem Theater, of Monticello, has booked the feature “War with Huerta” for July 25. Admission prices will be raised to fifteen and twenty-five cents, the largest prices ever asked at Monticello. C. P. Davidson, of the Lyceum Theater, of Middlesboro, has booked the same feature for July 28 and he will also raise his prices. The Mexican War Feature Film Company, of Louisville, is more than satisfied with the results obtained with the big war feature.

The Moving Picture World del 23 de mayo de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 8, 1914, p. 1155)
The Moving Picture World del 23 de mayo de 1914 (Vol. XX, No. 8, 1914, p. 1155)

Margarita de Orellana ahonda sobre este documental en su obra La mirada circular (pp. 51-52):

A México llegó también un camarógrafo free lance llamado Frank Jones, sin las dotes periodísticas de su colega alemán [Fritz Arno Wagner]. Sin embargo, regresó a Estados Unidos con más de 5,000 pies de negativo. Esto dio como resultado, en mayo de 1914, un documental que se anunciaba de la siguiente manera: “¿Deberá intervenir Estados Unidos en México? Vea Guerra con Huerta“.

Según la descripción de Randall M. White [transcrita al inicio], de The Moving Picture World, la película constaba de las siguientes partes:

  • Se presenta un mapa de México mostrando claramente las ciudades mencionadas por la prensa norteamericana día a día.
  • El presidente Huerta frente a la cámara.
  • Revisión de las tropas federales en la ciudad de México.
  • Un tren militar en ruinas después de ser bombardeado.
  • Destrucción de un puente ferroviario.
  • Refugiados abandonando Torreón antes de la batalla.
  • Llegada de las tropas federales al frente.
  • Los federales ejercitando a la leva.
  • Campamento de los federales.
  • Campamento de los constitucionalistas.

La segunda parte muestra la defensa de Torreón por los federales.

  • La artillería, la caballería y la infantería en acción.
  • Avance de las fuerzas constitucionalistas.
  • Los efectos de la artillería rebelde. Las ruinas de la ciudad.
  • Muertos y heridos en el campo de batalla.
  • Tumbas en las que serán enterrados los cadáveres.

Por su parte, Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero (p. 45) confunde a uno de los productores, Tisher con Fischer y lo considera de origen alemán:

Las pésimas relaciones del gobierno de Wilson con el de Huerta no impidieron que la firma Mullin & Fischer (sic) de Nueva York presentara en mayo de 1914 su corto documental War with Huerta como filmado “por cortesía de HUERTA, el hombre de la hora”. (Una pista quizá no ociosa: Fischer (sic) es un apellido alemán.) Así, según la publicidad de la cinta, ésta debía verse como la “única autorizada” entre las que mostraban la situación mexicana; “BEWARE OF FAKES” (“cuidado con las falsificaciones”), se advertía, aludiendo quizá a ciertas batallas mexicanas filmadas por la Mutual de California, como se verá.

Mexico (1914)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mexico”

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

Reviewed by Hanford C. Judson

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

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

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

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

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

The Patriot (1916)

The Patriot, (1916) American. B&N: Cinco rollos. Productor: Triangle Film Corporation. Distribuidor: Triangle Film Corporation (Kay-Bee). Director: William S. Hart. Argumento: Monte M. Katterjohn. Fotografía: Joe August (Joseph H. August). Director Artístico: Robert Brunton. Se estrenó el 3 de septiembre de 1916. La filmación se llevó a cabo de mayo 25 a julio 1 de 1916 con un costo de producción de $18,091.44 dólares. Intérpretes: William S. Hart (Bob Wiley), Georgie Stone (Little Bobs), Francis Carpenter (Billy Allen), Joe Goodboy (él mismo), Roy Laidlaw (Pancho Zapilla), Milton Ross (Denman Hammond), P.D. Tabler (Jordan Mason), Charles K. French (Coronel Bracken).

Anuncio en The Motion Picture Studio Directory de 1916

Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero (pp. 62-63) comenta sobre este filme:

William S. Hart fue un gran cineasta. Con su rostro que, según Koszarski, evocaba al mismo tiempo a “un lobo salvaje y un antiguo puritanismo” y su larga, magra, ascética figura de paladín solitario, ese “buen hombre malo” (good bad man), como se le decía, fue el centro de un cine épico que ha conservado inalterada su belleza clásica. Lástima que el racismo enturbiara las duras miradas del héroe Hart cuando se posaban sobre los greasers reunidos en los abundantes saloons de su cine, y que sus villanos mexicanos (interpretados varias veces por un actor, Thomas Kurihara, de apellido japonés) fueran tan concebidos por el prejuicio como el Pancho Zapilla – Villa y Zapata befados en un solo apellido – de The Patriot (1916). Escribió Diane Kaiser Koszarski:

“Estimulado sin duda por los problemas contemporáneos entre los Estados Unidos y México (eran los tiempos de Pancho Villa), por los hábitos sociales de Los Ángeles y el resto de California, y por el arianismo casero del argumentista C. Gardner Sullivan, Hart retrataba a los mexicanos como villanos particularmente viles: taimados, falsos, viciosos y, lo peor de todo, caníbales lascivos. Silk Miller, su antagonista de Hell’s Hinges, es un hombre blanco con “la astucia aceitosa de un mexicano” (según un intertítulo). Algunas señoritas de dance hall, como Mercedes en The Taking of Luke McVane o Rosita en The Testing Block, tienen algún destello de virtud, pero el resentimiento y la malicia provocadora de Anita en Keno Bates, Liar y de Topaz en The Silent Man son más típicos. El conflicto dramático de The Aryan y de The Patriot se centra en la traición por el héroe renegado de los intereses anglosajones a favor de los mexicanos. El personaje de Hart es salvado de esa infamia por la fe de una joven doncella en el primer caso y por un niño huérfano en el segundo.” *

*Kaiser Koszarski, Diane, The Complete Films of William S. Hart. A Pictorial Record. Ed. Dover Publications, Nueva York, 1980, p. 43.

The Moving Picture World del 26 de agosto de 1916

García Riera también nos proporciona una breve reseña del filme y relata que:

Wiley, veterano de la guerra de Cuba, queda amargado porque el gobierno norteamericano no impide que lo despojen fraudulentamente de sus propiedades. En visto de eso, Wiley se une a las fuerzas del bandido mexicano Pancho Zapilla, quien prepara el asalto a una población de Nuevo México. Al final, Wiley recapacita; enfrenta y vence a los mexicanos.

Still del filme The Patriot (1916)

Margarita de Orellana en La mirada circular (p. 148) menciona que la cinta:

El patriota (1916)*, cuenta la historia de un norteamericano que ha luchado mucho por su país. De repente se convierte en víctima de una estafa y el gobierno no lo auxilia, por lo que pierde sus propiedades. Desanimado porque el gobierno a quien tanto defendió no lo protege, se convierte en un espía de los bandidos mexicanos que pretenden hacer una incursión y una matanza similar a la que Villa realizó en Columbus. Más tarde recapacita y vuelve a llenarse de heroísmo y a seguir luchando por su país.

En estas películas  que tenían como referencia a la Expedición Punitiva hay una exaltación patriótica suplementaria porque, en aquel momento, a la atención que había por la incursión militar en México se añadía la discusión intensa sobre la necesidad de que Estados Unidos se preparara para participar en la Primera Guerra Mundial.

*The Patriot (1916), Triangle-Ince, The Moving Picture World, agosto 26, 1916, p. 1393.