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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 <email@example.com>
After witnessing his father being whipped to death, grown-up Mexican bandit Wallace Beery (as Pancho Villa) becomes his country's revolutionary war hero. Boozy reporter Stuart Irwin (as Johnny Sykes) and peace-loving liberator Henry B. Walthall (as Francisco Madero) are important allies. Nurturing a taste for ladies and liquor, Mr. Beery marries Spanish spitfire Katherine De Mille (the real-life daughter of director Cecil B., as Rosita Morales). Later, Beery is tempted to add beautiful Fay Wray (as Teresa) to his harem.
The Mexican armies sing "La Cucaracha, la Cucaracha!" while future "East Side Kid" David Durand plays the bugle.
Beery's vanquished rival Joseph Schildkraut (as General Pascal) suffers a torturous fate, but dastardly Donald Cook (as Don Felipe) gets a last shot. MGM production values are high for this hammy, heavy-handed star vehicle, wisely introduced as "fictionalized." With "box office" Beery at the helm, "Viva Villa!" was a hit. It won critical acclaim at Venice, where Berry was the festival's "Best Actor". In a brief scene, the real-life son of early movie idol Francis X. Bushman plays a nerdy newspaperman ("Wallace Calloway").
****** Viva Villa! (4/10/34) Jack Conway ~ Wallace Beery, Stuart Irwin, Henry B. Walthall, Donald Cook
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