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Juarez (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 10 June 1939 (USA)
Louis Napoleon III takes advantage of the American Civil War to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power by helping Emperor Maximillian Hapsburg to add Mexico to his empire. of Mexico.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

John Huston (screen play), Æneas MacKenzie (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Muni ... Benito Juárez
Bette Davis ... Carlota of Mexico
Brian Aherne ... Maximilian I of Mexico
Claude Rains ... Napoléon III
John Garfield ... Porfirio Diaz
Donald Crisp ... General Marechal Achille Bazaine
Joseph Calleia ... Alejandro Uradi
Gale Sondergaard ... Empress Eugénie
Gilbert Roland ... Colonel Miguel Lopez
Henry O'Neill ... General Miguel Miramon
Harry Davenport ... Dr. Samuel Basch
Louis Calhern ... Le Marc
Walter Kingsford ... Prince Richard Metternich
Georgia Caine ... Lady in Waiting
Montagu Love ... Jose de Montares
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Storyline

The newly-named Emperor Maximillian, the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire, arrives in Mexico in the early 1860s with his wife Carlotta to face popular sentiment favoring Benito Juarez and popular demand for democracy. With an elite group of Mexican monarchists, Maximillian tries to appease the democratic Mexicans but he fails. Abraham Lincoln continues to support Juarez and asks the French to withdraw support for Maximilian. Carlotta goes to France to plead with Napoleon III, to no avail. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

See It Now ! You'll Remember It Always ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

10 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Juárez See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the film shows many of Maximilian's generals to be Mexican, many viewers attribute it to typical Hollywood historical distortions. It is, however, indeed accurate. It's a little-known fact that, although Maximilian was eventually overthrown and executed by Mexican revolutionaries, there were actually more Mexicans fighting on Maximilian's side than against him. This was due in large part to the Catholic Church's strong support of the French occupation of Mexico and its "encouraging" Mexican Catholics to fight against the revolutionary forces by joining Maximilian's army, which they did in large numbers. See more »

Goofs

About 72 minutes into the film the Imperial Mexican soldiers are committing executions in a village. A young boy tears down a posting of an Imperial Decree and flees. The commander of the Imperial soldiers draws a Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army and shoots the boy down. As the film is set in 1865, this pistol will not be invented for another eight years. See more »

Quotes

Emperor Maximilian von Hapsburg: [as he is being led to his execution by firing squad] "Distribute this money among your men and tell them to aim for my heart."
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1952, the film was re-released and several key scenes were removed, particularly sequences that contained dialogue that criticized countries which, in 1939 had been regarded as totalitarian, but which, by the early 1950s had become Cold War allies of the United States and could therefore no longer be criticized as imperialist adventurers. Germany and Italy, especially, former enemies in the 1940s, were now the cornerstone of NATO. The removal of these scenes obfuscated the narrative considerably, in particular, removing any clear reasons behind the execution of the Emperor Maximilian at the conclusion of the film. This revised print runs 106 minutes and is the version released on video and generally available today. The 1939 version is preserved on nitrate stock in the Warner Archive. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood and the Stars: The Angry Screen (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe (circa 1856)
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe (1862)
Played as part of the score when Abraham Lincoln is mentioned
Extensively played when news of Lincoln's assassination reaches Juarez
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flawed but lavish and interesting
19 July 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

What drew me into seeing Juarez in the first place were the cast and that Korngold wrote the music. And while it is far from perfect, there are definitely a lot of good things. It does look exquisite, not just in the lavishly rendered costumes and sets but also in the sweeping cinematography. Korngold's score is splendid also, full of the rich and rousing melodies he is famous for, if not quite on the same level as the scores he did for Prince and the Pauper, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk and especially The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Mexican history is interesting and I did find it informative, and most of the acting is fine. In particular Bette Davis who is very compelling in her role, Brian Aherne's dignified Maximillian and Claude Rains who plays urbane better than anyone(except perhaps Cary Grant). Donald Crisp, Montagu Love and Joseph Calleia are excellent also. However there are debits, while the script is mostly literate it also suffers from being too talky and trying to tell us too much. The film is perhaps overlong, and is rather tedious in the pace at times. And two actors unfortunately didn't work for me. Paul Muni, wonderful in Scarface, The Good Earth and The Life of Emile Zola, not helped by very heavy make-up is far too stoic and stiff in the lead. And while he tries hard to give the honest intensity the small role of Porfirio Diaz, John Garfield just ended up being out of place. On the whole, a great cast, a splendid score and lavish production values are definite things to like, but Juarez is spoilt sadly by bad pacing, too much talk and two actors who don't convince as much as they should. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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