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In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of 'La Cucaracha,' his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa's bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero's fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Original director Howard Hawks quit the production because he felt that it wasn't safe. Gun-toting revolutionaries prowled the set, safety standards were lax and a suicide took place in front of the director. Hawks lasted 10 weeks and was only too happy to leave. See more »
President Madero is shown as being overthrown in a coup by Gen. Pascal, who then shoots him. In reality, there was no such general named Pascal; Madero was assassinated on the orders of Gen. Victoriano Huerta, who did overthrow him but who did not personally shoot him. See more »
While the story is a bit on the fanciful side, it still has a good period look, and some of photography and action sequences are excellent. Wallace Beery is not as hammy as usual and does a creditable job. Henry B. Walthall is good (as usual) as Francisco Madero and turns in the best performance of the movie. Interestingly enough, while some characters (Madero, Villa)actually use their real names, others such as John Reed, Victoriano Huerta and Rodolfo Fierro are fictionalized as Johnny Sykes, Pascal and Sierra, respectively. Perhaps the best thing about it is, despite when it was made it treats the subject matter with dignity and has a real respect for Mexico and Mexicans. Some of the shots look as though they were taken in the 1910s thanks to Jack Conway's and Howard Hawk's direction.
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