The Moving Picture World del 14 de junio de 1913 (Vol. XVI, No. 11, p. 1166):
THE FIGHTING LIEUTENANT (June 20).—Don Arguello, in order to get the fortune of his ward, Princess Irma, insists that she marry him. The high-spirited girl repulses him as equally unworthy of love or respect, hut temporizes with him. About this time Captain Falconbridge, of the U. S. Cavalry, who is stationed at the Mexican border, is introduced to Irma at Don Arguello’s home by Don Carlos, a high-grade young Mexican, who consorts with Americans. At a later visit Don Arguello happens on the scene and shows his immediate disapproval by insulting the American flag which Falconbridge has presented to Irma. This so incenses the soldier that he requests the ladies to leave the room while he gives the old roue a sound trouncing. He has completed this in satisfactory fashion, the furniture being wrecked In the struggle, when a detachment of Mexican soldiers arrive.
Falconbridge escapes the vengeance of the reinforcements by leaping through a window. Irma, who is waiting the outcome of the fight in the garden, decides to fly over the border with the American and escape her vengeful and despised guardian. Don Carlos admires Irma, but unselfishly gives aid in this good cause. Close to the border the fleeing pair is forced to take refuge in an adobe. There they “stand-off” the pursuing greasers until the boys of Falconbridge’s command, hearing the firing, and scenting trouble, ride over the border and make a daring rescue.
En México visto por el cine extranjero, Emilio García Riera comenta sobre este filme:
Si un mexicano raptaba a una norteamericana, quedaba exhibido como un lujurioso inmundo y era castigado por ello; en cambio, el protagonista norteamericano de The Fighting Lieutenant (1913), que raptaba a una mexicana para salvarla de un matrimonio sin amor y llevársela a los Estados Unidos, quedaba como un héroe.
Nota de The New York Times:
Written and directed by the rather anonymous E.A. Martin, this silent Selig Polyscope presentation starred Harold Lockwood as a U.S. cavalry officer, stationed on the border to Mexico, who saves a lovely senorita (Adele Lane) from a loveless marriage to a scoundrel (Al E. Garcia). A former stock player with the Philadelphia-based Lubin company, brunette Adele Lane later appeared for various Universal companies. Her screen career, alas, didn’t outlast the 1910s.
Ficha filmográfica de The Fighting Lieutenant. Producción: Selig Polyscope Company. Director: E. A. Martin. Guión: E. A. Martin. Intérpretes: Harold Lockwood (Cap. Falconbridge); Adele Lane (Irma); Al Ernest García (Don Arguello); George Hernández (Conde); Eugenie Besserer (Condesa) y William Hutchinson (Viejo sirviente). Estrenada el 20 de junio de 1913.
The Moving Picture World, Volume XV, Jan-Mar 1913, pp. 390 and 679:
THE ALTAR OF THE AZTECS, (Jan. 31). – “The Altar of the Aztecs” is a picturesque and romantic story dealing with strange adventures encountered by Edwin Dalton, a young American mining engineer in the ancient silver mines of the Aztecs in Sonoma, Old Mexico. It starts with a brilliant social function, given by Juan Caballes, an Americanized descendant of the old Spanish Aztecs (sic), and now a wealthy mine owner on the New York Stock Exchange. This interesting story is carried through, scene after scene, of original and gripping incidents and picturesque settings, until at last the hero finds himself imprisoned in the tumble-down silver mine in far-off Condilleras (sic), Mexico. A strong love story is interwoven throughout, which makes this at once one of the most sensational and vivid stories yet released this season.
“THE ALTAR OF THE AZTECS” (Selig), Jan. 31. – An unusual picture with an extremely interesting atmosphere. It’s naturally a love story and deals with the discovery of a rich gold ledge once known to the Aztecs; but long lost. It probably was suggested by a real temple of pre-historic Mexico some good views of which are included; but its author has carefully laid out his plot and the picture shows none of the haphazard looseness that has begun to seem almost the rule with photoplays made to order. It opens in New York and with some perfect interior sets in the home of a rich merchant whose daughter resembles an old painting of an Aztec princess, her ancestress. This fact plays no part in the story, it is brought in merely for atmosphere, an atmosphere, by the way, that the picture doesn’t pretend to develop. In the novel of this type the girl usually has something to do with finding the mine; is looked upon by the natives as a goddess or something of that kind and the scenario writer perhaps knew that the spectator would follow the well-known clue and that his picture would get an added touch of mystery. We commend him for it, but wish that he could have taken the time to make two reels or more; he shows that he can be interesting. The author is J. C. Cowles and he knows how to make an acceptable picture, and Henry McRae, its producer can put one over. Hobart Bosworth plays the American mining engineer who discovers the “lost ledge” and so wins the girl, who is played by Phyllis Gordon. Henry W. Otto plays the girl’s father and F. Galves and A. E. Garcia have parts as Mexicans. The photography is of the best and the offering plainly took the audience into camp. The sub-titles are not just what was wanted.
La ficha filmográfica la tomo de la circular que imprimió la Selig para publicitar el filme, el cual era la historia de una moderna trabajadora doméstica y sus ancianos ancestros.
Productor: Selig (USA, 1913). Productor: Henry McRae. Argumento: J. C. Cowles. Intérpretes: Hobart Bosworth (Edwin Dalton, un joven ingeniero de minas), Henry W. Otto (Juan Caballes, un descendiente de ¿azteca español? ya americanizado), Ferdinand Galvez (Juan, un viejo azteca), Al Ernest García (Joaquín, un capataz mexicano), Phyllis Gordon (Ethel Caballes).
Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero, vol. 1, pp. 56 y 57 comenta sobre este filme:
También hubo en el primer cine norteamericano de “aztecas”, entendiendo por éstos a una raza ubicua en la geografía y la historia mexicanas, pues podían ser actuales y fronterizos. Antiguos o modernos, esos “aztecas” ilustraban un exotismo de ritos viejos y crueles, sacrificios humanos y tesoros u otras riquezas de las que sólo ellos conocían el secreto, pero no la utilidad. De ritos y sacrificios, debieron tratar The Aztec Sacrifice (1910) y The Altar of the Aztecs (1911); de riquezas incógnitas, The Aztec Treasure (1914), The Lost Ledge (1915) y The Secret of the Dead (1915).
Tal vez por el título o por no tener a mexicanos estereotipados como asaltantes o revolucionarios, no encontré datos sobre esta cinta ni en México visto por el extranjero de Emilio García Riera; ni en la obra de Juan Felipe Leal y Alexandra Jablonska, El cine de la Revolución mexicana. Tampoco hace mención de este extraño filme Margarita de Orellana en La mirada circular. Es de destacar que se hizo mucha propaganda para esta cinta. La Selig Polyscope Co. imprimió una “hoja de prensa”, fotogramas, paquetes para los exhibidores y souveniers para los expectadores. Hasta una lista de recomendaciones musicales para el acompañamiento orquestal de la película.
La escena del “Baile Inaugural” la describen como una de las más pretenciosas jamás puesta en escena:
The scene of the Inaugural Ball is one of the most pretentious ever staged. High government officials in full dress, Ambassadors in their costumes of office and military in showy uniforms with epaulettes and gold lace, are all there, while the feminine toilets have happy hints from every capital in Europe, –indeed a most imposing scene of fair women and brave men.
La siguiente ficha filmográfica es de información en la publicidad que la Selig distribuyó para promover la cinta:
Filmada en los estudios Selig de Chicago, Ill. (1913). Productor: Hardee Kirkland. Argumento: Gilson Willets. Intérpretes: Charles Clary (Warren, funcionario del Departamento de Guerra), Harry J. Lonsdale (Embajador de México), Adrienne Kroell (Inez, hija del embajador mexicano), William Stowell (Lester, nuevo funcionario del Departamento de Guerra), LaFayette McKee (John Marshall, Secretario de Guerra), Rose Evans (Esposa del embajador mexicano), T. J. Commerford (James Wiley, un viejo oficinista del Departamento de Guerra). Soldados, agentes del servicio secreto, oficinistas, funcionarios, ciudadanos, diplomáticos, gente de sociedad, corredores de bolsa, especuladores, etc. 2 rollos.
La historia gira en torno a Inez, la encantadora hija del embajador mexicano, de quien está enamorado Warren, un alto funcionario del Departamento de Guerra, y próximo a renunciar a su puesto por el cambio de administración con la llegada de un nuevo presidente. Resulta que su sucesor Lester es un deshonesto funcionario a quien la bella Inez desenmascara para salvar el honor de Warren. Para ello se hace pasar por espía mexicana.
Resulta interesante que en este filme de dos rollos los mexicanos no sean sirvientes, bandidos o revolucionarios, personajes que comúnmente interpretaban los actores en roles de mexicano. En esta ocasión los mexicanos son diplomáticos; ni más ni menos que el propio embajador, su esposa y su encantadora hija Inez. Por todo lo que he podido investigar sobre el rol de los mexicanos en los filmes norteamericanos de inicios del siglo XX esta es la única cinta donde los mexicanos son personajes de tan alta alcurnia.
La siguiente sinopsis es transcripción de la “hoja de prensa” que la Selig Polyscope Co. distribuyó:
The bright and shadowy side of official life in Washington is aptly portrayed in this deft drama, hinging about the change of administration that shakes the country from center to circumference every four years, with the presidential election. It shows the self-evident danger of summarily discharging old, trust-worthy and capable officials and supplanting them with untried men that are advanced to office largely to pay some political or fancied political obligation.
Warren, the chief clerk in the war office, sadly realizes his job is in jeopardy with a new man, supreme in command; but he has a hardihood of convictions that leads him to follow the dictates of his heart, so he braves the wintry winds of a February storm to visit the fair Inez at the Mexican embassy. He boldly tells her of his love –in spite of whatever the new powers may fatalize. The fair one, with the coquetry of her sex, teases him, but leads him hopefully along by indirection. He starts to go, telling her that he will come for his answer “on the fourth of March,” a notoriously busy day in Washington. The girl from the golden land Mexico, shows her mettle by springing to a large desk calendar and tearing off the leaves till they show the date of March 4th. Thus she leaves him in no doubt as to her answer, which is as agreeable to the entire family as the scene demonstrates.
The next morning the retiring Secretary of War gives his trusty chief clerk a formidably sealed document (the secret and valuable formula of a high explosive that the Government has just acquired). Warren is about to put the prize package in his safe for further safety, when the fair Inez appears. In answer to her curious inquiries, he tells her that the package is one of great value, and would be highly prized by any foreign power –that it would mean big money to them, hence his care in looking after it so closely. Her curiosity is seemingly satisfied. Later in the day he receives a formal blue envelope of dismissal –and realizes that the blow to his fortunes has fallen. He is, however, philosophic about it and has his house in order. When Inez hears this news, she is far from pleased and immediately lays in train some plan for continuing an honest man in office and doing away with the chance of allowing a weak and dishonest one to supplant him in the public service. This comes about through her meeting with the new appointee, Lester, whom she instinctively doubts. They happen to meet in a Broker’s office –and from what she gleans from the Broker, and observes with her own eye, as Lester nervously studies the ticker, she sees too plainly his financial desperation, due to heavy losses.
Inez is by nature, a schemer and a diplomat, and having made a favorable impression upon the vain and weak Lester, she secures a conference with him at the Broker’s office, in which she adroitly admits that she is a spy for her country. She further describes a certain sealed document in the War Office with which she is anxious to familiarize herself. She describes the outward appearance of the document with such accuracy that no one could mistake it, and having presented the case, she goes home and drops Lester a note: “If you find that you need money and can secure the document described, bring it to me at the Inaugural Ball.”
Following this come the scenes in the War Office where the unsuspecting Warren turns over all the possessions of safe and office to his successor. Lester is particularly interested in the package described by the fair Inez, and pockets this at the first opportunity.
The scene of the Inaugural Ball is one of the most pretentious ever staged. High government officials in full dress, Ambassadors in their costumes of office and military in showy uniforms with epaulettes and gold lace, are all there, while the feminine toilets have happy hints from every capital in Europe, –indeed a most imposing scene of fair women and brave men. As per arrangement, Inez meets Lester in the Palm Room off the main ball room. She carries with her, a large silken opera bag with draw strings, and when she drops it and he picks it up, he drops the document into it and she asses him the bribe, a roll of marked bills. She drops the bag seemingly by accident and when he restores it to her he apologizes –but in that brief interval of bending over, he has dropped the envelope in it. Warren, who has been hovering admiringly in her neighborhood, sees part of this performance, but is quite in the dark as to its details, or what it is all about, for the foxy Mexican girl has not told him an iota of her plans. He dutifully escorts her home, and, as she carelessly tosses her opera bag aside, and goes to the mirror to primp, the suspicious Warren, lays hands on the silken bag. She sees him, through the reflection in her mirror, open the bag, take out the sealed package. Before she can protest, her father the Ambassador appears. This blocks explanation on the part of both the principals, and Warren, bows his way quickly out of the room. Inez immediately writes a note to Warren. It reaches him at his hotel. The document is under his pillow ready for restoration to the Secretary of War in the morning. Her note reads: “If, before I see you in the morning, you should be caught with that document, say you got it from me, I will do the rest.” He tears the note to pieces.
The morning scene in the War Office shows the seemingly alarmed Lester examining everywhere for the document, then accuses Warren of stealing it, and before that worthy is well awake, two agents of the Secret Service are in his room. They find the document under his pillow. He picks up the torn note, but indicates he will never betray Inez. In the anti-room of the War Secretary, Warren confronts Lester and accuses him of stealing the document. The Secretary remarks, “If he stole it, how came it in your possession?” Warren then realizes he cannot explain further without incriminating his sweetheart. At this psychological moment the young lady herself comes into the outer office. She overhears all.
She hurriedly writes this note and thrusts it through the portiers. “The guilty one is the new chief clerk, a woman trapped him with marked money.” Secret Service men get busy and drag in Inez. Lester is searched, the marked money is found and he wilts in the presence of Inez. Then Inez tells the high official the story of her suspicions and of how she had trapped a dishonest employee. As Inez had planned, she is again restored in Warren’s esteem, and he is reappointed to his old position.
La Selig Polyscope Co. recomendó en una lista que publicó para los propietarios de teatros y cines la música para acompañar el filme. Lo que no informa es si la compañía también ofrece la partitura o si son piezas fáciles de obtener y bastante populares. Para recomendar un “banda sonora” por llamarla de algún modo, la mayoría de los teatros o cines donde se exhibía esta cinta tenía una orquesta o al menos un grupo musical para acompañar la imagen con la música adecuada la escena en cuestión. La música junto con la imagen reafirman en el espectador las emociones.
Sugerencias para acompañamiento musical para A Change of Administration de la Selig (1913).
Propuesta para The Selig Polyscope Co. por el Sr. Clarence E. Sinn, experto musical de The Moving Picture World.
“Morning Star” (característica marcha por Neil Moret). Publicada por Remick. Hasta los títulos.
“Moonlight” (Moret-Remick). Hasta INEZ CREE QUE LESTER ES DESHONESTO.
Intermezzo neutral. Hasta CAE EN SU TRAMPA.
“Awakening of the Lion” (característica). Hasta el final del rollo. Dar efectos cuasi-misteriosos.
Gran marcha (corta). Hasta EL NUEVO JEFE DE OFICINA.
“Passion” (Helf & Hager). Hasta que Warren sale de escena.
Música suave misteriosa. Hasta EL BAILE INAUGURAL.
Polonesa. Hasta que ella deja caer su bolso.
Música suave misteriosa. Hasta que Warren toma el documento de su bolso.
Agitado suave. Hasta el cambio.
Primera estrofa de “Moonlight”. Hasta WARREN OCULTA EL DOCUMENTO.
Intermezzo. Hasta LA MAÑANA.
Segundo movimiento (Andantino) de la obertura “Raymond”. Hasta que Inez entra a la oficina.
Primera parte de “Awakening of the Lion” (igual que el previo). Hasta que TIENE SU TRABAJO ASEGURADO OTRA VEZ.
“Moonlight”. Hasta el final del rollo.
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Anuncio para los exhibidores donde se ofrecen fotogramas (cuts) en diferentes medidas para circulares, postales, programas o como souvenirs. Esta propaganda va junto con la lista de piezas musicales que recomiendan para acompañar el filme.