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William K. Howard
Johnny Mack Brown
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The newly-named Emperor Maximillian, the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire, arrives in Mexico in the early 1860s with his wife Carlotta to face popular sentiment favoring Benito Juarez and popular demand for democracy. With an elite group of Mexican monarchists, Maximillian tries to appease the democratic Mexicans but he fails. Abraham Lincoln continues to support Juarez and asks the French to withdraw support for Maximilian. Carlotta goes to France to plead with Napoleon III, to no avail. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Extensive research was done to provide accuracy. The writers had a bibliography of 372 books. Art director Anton Grot made 3,643 sketches from which 7,360 blueprints were prepared for exterior and interior settings. A complete Mexican village was built on the Warner Bros. ranch in the San Fernando Valley. See more »
When Napoleon lll is informed in a letter that Robert E. Lee has been defeated at Gettysburg, he responds by paraphrasing Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address by calling democracy as government for the cattle, by the cattle, etc. He couldn't have known Lincoln's rhetorical flourish because the actual speech was given until mid November 1863. See more »
What drew me into seeing Juarez in the first place were the cast and that Korngold wrote the music. And while it is far from perfect, there are definitely a lot of good things. It does look exquisite, not just in the lavishly rendered costumes and sets but also in the sweeping cinematography. Korngold's score is splendid also, full of the rich and rousing melodies he is famous for, if not quite on the same level as the scores he did for Prince and the Pauper, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and especially The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Mexican history is interesting and I did find it informative, and most of the acting is fine. In particular Bette Davis who is very compelling in her role, Brian Aherne's dignified Maximillian and Claude Rains who plays urbane better than anyone(except perhaps Cary Grant). Donald Crisp, Montagu Love and Joseph Calleia are excellent also. However there are debits, while the script is mostly literate it also suffers from being too talky and trying to tell us too much. The film is perhaps overlong, and is rather tedious in the pace at times. And two actors unfortunately didn't work for me. Paul Muni, wonderful in Scarface, The Good Earth and The Life of Emile Zola, not helped by very heavy make-up is far too stoic and stiff in the lead. And while he tries hard to give the honest intensity the small role of Porfirio Diaz, John Garfield just ended up being out of place. On the whole, a great cast, a splendid score and lavish production values are definite things to like, but Juarez is spoilt sadly by bad pacing, too much talk and two actors who don't convince as much as they should. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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