The Soldiers of Pancho Villa (1959)
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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).
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.