I'm glad I saw this because I'd never heard of Pedro Gonzales or the travesty of justice he endured. In the late 1920s and early 30s, Gonzales hosted the first Mexican-American radio show in Los Angeles (and most likely, in the country) and spoke out for the people who were victims of racism, exploitation and deportation. Of course, that made him 'public enemy #1' to those in power in LA, most noticeably the D.A., who is depicted as a sort of John Birch-type, super-slimy, corrupt politician. The DA did all the lowliest things that one who is corrupt can do, such as bribery, coercing a young woman to cry rape, hiring thugs to attack workers who are trying to unionize, and even planting a car bomb. Gonzales is tried for rape of a minor and given a fifty-year (!) sentence. I won't give the ending away, but I will warn viewers that most of the acting in this movie runs the gamut from amateurish to just plain awful (Oscar Chavez as Gonzales is quite good though). No one hates corrupt, political scum more than I do, but the bad guys in the movie do everything but mustache-twirling (perhaps they would have had they been wearing mustaches). I also found a lot of the details hard to believe, such as the D.A. and the police Captain sitting in their car just ten yards or so from the place where the thugs are beating up the workers. They seem to do this whenever some evildoing of theirs is going on, giving smirks to each other and inaudible moo-ha-ha's. If one watches this with the acceptance that some of the melodrama is like what one sees on Mexican soap operas, they'll get through it okay. It's a cultural thing and Gonzales after all, is a folk legend (he was sort of a Mexican Woody Guthrie). I still think he deserved a better biopic, but this film, along with 1981's "Zoot Suit" serve as important documents of both a time and a culture that every American should know about.
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