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This "Passing Parade" episode tells the tale of Francisco Madero who overthrew President Porfirio Díaz of Mexico. His ambitions were to give the peasants better protection under the law from mistreatment by the rich landowners and the military. He quickly made a number of errors in judgment from which he could not recover. This little film explains his errors. When he realized he was failing miserably he made a decision to die a martyr. The story is better told in the movies about Villa and Zapata. His death precipitated the rise of these revolutionaries. The film is bookended by views of El Zócalo Square to give it a Mexico flavor.
Back in the time of double-features, the news clips were part of the
movie experience. This little featurette was probably something that
came on after the short news clip, and before a Three Stooges short, or
a cartoon. The B movie would be first, and then the main, marquee
Even though this is a very short 11 minute film, I was quite bored after a few minutes. I guess this was part of some kind of propaganda movement to improve relations with Mexico, and so the story of Madero is given a lot of dramatic flair. He wanted to bring Democracy to Mexico, but the other corrupt politicians were afraid that they would lose their power. So they instigated popular opinion against Madero, making it look like his reforms were counter- productive.
Vladimir Putin did much the same thing in Russia, many years later, so that he could take over, and push back Democratic reforms. However, the difference is that when Madero was confronted by Mexico's corrupt politicians and military, Madero was not willing to get bought off. Madero rejected their proposals, and he had faith that his death would be seen as a coup.
In fact, that is what happened. The corrupt powers had Madero executed, so they could reclaim control of Mexico. From there Zapata and others arose to fight for the freedom of Mexico, and for the reforms that Madero had instituted.
Unfortunately, since there is no dialogue, Paul Guilfoyle (Madero), and the other actors are sort of miming their parts, and it looks kind of comical and very amateurish.
Madero of Mexico (1942)
*** (out of 4)
The thirty-seventh episode in MGM and John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series takes a look at Don Francisco Madero, perfectly played by actor Paul Guilfoyle. The film opens up with a disclaimer that "some" of the history has been changed in order for the spirit of Guilfoyle to be told but we see him as a rich land owner who decides to fight the government so that poor people will be able to live in a land of democracy. Villa and Zapata are probably better known due to their feature films but this short manages to be pretty entertaining even if all three pretty much featured the same story. The main reason to watch this film is for the performance of Guilfoyle. He was a pretty well known character actor in his time and he perfectly captures the spirit of his character even though he doesn't get a single line of dialogue. Like the other films in this series, we only get the narration by Nesbitt to tell the story. The story itself is pretty familiar stuff as we get the lone man willing to stand up for what he believes to be right.
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