Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (Antonio Banderas) finds himself without adequate funding to finance his war against the military-run government. He also finds himself at odds with the Americans because of the Hearst media empire's press campaign against him. To counter both of these, he sends emissaries to movie producers to convince them to pay to film his progress and the actual battles. Producer D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) becomes interested and sends Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey) with a film crew to develop film reels. Thayer becomes horrified and fascinated by the bandit. He finds an enigmatic individual that is both ghoulishly brutal and charmingly captivating. The resulting film became the first feature length movie, introducing scores of Americans to the true horrors of war that they had never personally seen. Thayer sold the studios on making the film despite their concerns that no one would sit through a movie longer than 1 hour by convincing them that they could raise the ... Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the battle of Torreon scene, night falls and we see a moon that is half full (1st quarter). The date is given as 30 March 1914, but on that date, the moon was a crescent and would not be half full until several days later on 4 April 1914. See more »
[Frank Thayer and Teddy Sampson are lying inside a tent after having sex]
I've had this scene written in my head from the moment I first lay eyes on you.
Did I do OK? Do you want to try one more take?
You sure its not too late?
Ooh, I'm sure not!
[Frank lays on top of her and they continue to have sex]
Onward and upward, thats the ticket.
That's what mom told me.
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Considering that this was made for TV, it is one strange take on the life of a 'man who would be king', and deserves a much wider viewing audience that it may have attracted.
Antonio Banderas is a much underrated actor - partially because he seems to accept any role that comes his way - and this should indicate to the harshest critic that he is most capable! Much as Robin Hood and, here in Australia, Ned Kelly, are revered as 'outlaws with a conscience', Pancho Villa is perceived as a folk hero. I hope this film dispels THAT particular notion. He was a self-serving bandit with a huge ego and, as the film shows, not above killing the 'locals' to further his grandiose schemes.
Banderas makes a fine fist of what is, essentially, a portrait of a seemingly-complex yet simple man seduced by the notion of Hollywood stardom. The irony, of course, is that, these days, anyone who appears on the screen (silver or no) is perceived as a 'star'.
Villa is presented as one in a long line of anti-heroes who find themselves fighting an unjust regime - but essentially just as brutal.
Overall a charmer of a film. Definitely worth more than one viewing.
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