The Soldiers of Pancho Villa (1959) Poster

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7/10
The Mexican Revolution and two big stars
russellellison@hotmail.com15 September 2007
This is one example of a Mexican film genre celebrating the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921, more or less) many of them directed by Ismael Rodriguez (or Emilio Fernández), photographed by Gabriel Figueroa and often starring either Maria Felix or Dolores Del Rio. This film is a melodrama starring Mexico's two great female film stars (Del Rio the more famous of the two in the United States but Felix probably the bigger star in Mexico) and photographed in color by Figueroa, who was earlier known for his moody black and white. As entertainment it's very enjoyable. Maria Felix isn't a great actress but she had a style greatly loved in Mexico and Dolores Del Rio is often luminous. Emilo Fernandez as the Colonel is impressive
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8/10
A great film with an all-star Mexican cast
rickrudge9 September 2010
The Soldiers of Pancho Villa (1959)

The original Mexican title of this movie was "La Cucaracha". But, there was a 1934 technicolor short made in the U.S. with that same title, so here in the States, it's known as The Soldiers of Pancho Villa although you don't ever see General Villa in the film.

This Eastman Color movie, filmed in Durango, Mexico, by Ismael Rodríguez, is a great drama, and stars many famous Mexican actors of the golden age of Mexican cinema.

The film opens with Colonel Antonio Zeta (Emilio 'el Indio' Fernández) and what's left of his revolutionary soldiers, the Northern Panthers, staggering into town. His orders from General Villa are to attack a heavily fortified city with what ever soldiers he can muster. So, Colonel Zeta must conscript the local men and many boys of the village to join the fight whether they want to or not.

Captain Ventura (Antonio Aguilar) is a local officer who isn't sure whether to follow Colonel Zeta into a doomed mission or not, but anything for the revolution.

One of the drafted men that Antonio Zeta collects is the village teacher, who although he agrees with the revolution, is a pacifist. His wife, Isabel Puente (Dolores del Rio) pleads with the Colonel to set her husband free, to no luck. Isabel will soon find that her husband was killed and blames Colonel Zeta for this.

It is also here that he meets Refugio, or La Cucaracha (played by famous Mexican actress La María or María Félix) who is an infamous revolutionary, party girl, and camp follower. Naturally, the two are going to fall into a fiery love affair. That is until he meets up and must duel with a jilted ex-lover, Colonel Valentín Razo (Pedro Armendáriz).
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6/10
A bit too soapy for my taste.
MartinHafer19 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film is set in Northern Mexico in the early part of the 20th century during the Mexican Revolution. The film concerns a Colonel (Emilio Fernández) and his fight for his leader, Pancho Villa (who, incidentally, you never get to see in the movie). His job is pretty thankless and dangerous and he forces all the men in a town to join his army--and many are killed. One of these deaths bothers him--the school teacher who was a pacifist. The dead man's wife (Delores Del Rio) is furious and cannot understand the sacrifice she has had to make. Also furious is an amazonian sort of lady (María Félix) who spends practically every minute of the film being angry! Eventually, the Colonel and the crazy/angry Félix become lovers in a scene that is clichéd and probably would qualify as a rape! Yet, as the cliché goes, once raped, the amazonian calms down and is now in love with her vanquisher. Well, this was not just a Mexican stereotype--American films promoted this sad idea as well.

After being raped and becoming the Colonel's woman, things get goofy. Félix starts becoming insanely jealous of Del Rio and treats this innocent woman like crap. Then, in a small cameo, Pedro Armendáriz comes to kill the Colonel because he wants his old lover, the crazy amazonian, back! Wow...so instead of a historical piece (which I'd hoped), it now had clearly become a soap opera with some ridiculous characters--particularly Félix. It's sad, as the film is generally well made and the battle sequences competently filmed--but after a while it even began to look like an episode of "The Jerry Springer Show" instead of a film about Mexican history. It's just too soapy and histrionic to be taken very seriously. Just my two cents worth.
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6/10
A Mexican Revolutionary woman called La Cucaracha (Cockroach)
esteban17473 June 2002
Having the acting of María Félix, Indio Fernández and Dolores del Río, one may expect to see a superb Mexican film, but unfortunately this is not the case. Acting of Félix was far to be good and plot of the film was mediocre in general. The first scenes of the film were simply artificial, it looks like a film made by an amateur. For example, the brief acting of Pedro Armendáriz was incoherent and a forced step to provide more meaningless emotion to the film. The positive sides of the film were the acting of Dolores del Río, so then old but beautiful and attractive, as well as the one of Indio Fernández, who performed very well the role of the officer Zeta and also as the 'macho' of both Mexican female stars. It also showed how divided were the revolutionary movement in Mexico, some in favor of Pancho Villa and others favoring Porfirio Díaz.
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10/10
maria and dolores
Bardotsalvador31 July 2010
I love this movie i had see few times in television is about the Mexican revolution but honestly the reason i like the movie is because Maria Felix and Dolores del Rio are together for the first and only time in their life , Maria more beautiful and younger than del Rio but both were huge movie stars Dolores very well know in united states and Maria very well know in the rest of the planet but not in USA, la Felix was beautiful , elegant and unique a real legend she never let herself go down not even in the last years of her life when she was almost 90 years old she still WAS Maria Felix , i love this woman she was maybe the most fantastic movie star of the 20 century, Dolores was a beautiful and a nice well educated lady she came from a very rich background but was not as fascinate as MARIA FELIX
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