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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:

Warner Bros. present The Picture That Shows How Great The Screen Can Be! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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

Features Brian Aherne's only Oscar nominated performance. 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

Although sources generally list 132 minutes as the correct running time for "Juarez", all current prints, including the MGM/UA video release, run 121 minutes. UCLA Film Archives speculate that the 132-minute release was possibly a "roadshow" version that was later cut for general release. See more »


Soundtracks

My Country Tis of Thee
(uncredited)
Music attributed to Henry Carey (1744)
Played as part of the score when America is mentioned
See more »

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User Reviews

The last emperor
10 February 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Although there are some mistakes historically speaking,this is an absorbing screenplay,with superlative performances by Paul Muni,Bette Davis and Brian Aherne,who should have been at the top of the bill too,for he has more scenes than his two co-stars.

Muni is almost frightening with his impassive face and his slow delivery.If looks could kill,his certainly would...

Davis ,although she does not look like Charlotte physically ,gives a captivating portrayal of the empress.The scene when she prays Virgin Mary is impressive ,but not true: she was not sterile,but she and the emperor used to sleep apart!Their relationship was much more complex than the one depicted by Dieterlé: actually,the emperor was often away,it seemed that their strange love worked from a distance.Little by little,Maximilian lost all interest in power and Charlotte was ruling while he was gone (which often happened)or was staying in his Cuernavaca "paradise" .

Aherne is Maximilian in the flesh.It's interesting to notice that his brother Francis-Joseph had deprived him of all his rights and his titles in Austria.Historians generally agree that he would not have accepted the Mexican throne,if Charlotte had not been his wife. the problem is that the film doesn't show us the couple BEFORE they get to Mexico:one thing to bear in mind is that Max did not accept the throne overnight;and many people in Europa (notably Queen Victoria and Empress Elizabeth aka "Sissi" ) had warned them it was more a curse than a blessing.Charlotte (Carlotta) ,someone reportedly said ,wanted to reign over any people anywhere.Sissi called her Max's black angel. Maximilian is depicted as a chivalrous noble sovereign which he was in a way.But of course ,he had lots of (Mexican)lovers since he didn't sleep with his wife

Dieterlé does not pass over in silence the obnoxious role played by Napoleon the Third (and wife Eugénie de Montijo).Charlotte does show her contempt:"He is an impostor,his family is not an old one like ours ".The famous scene of the orangeade is included .Today,no serious historian would put forward that the drink was poisoned.But it might be possible that she was poisoned before leaving Mexico.Davis shines when she plays these scenes of madness.The scenes in Paris are not thoroughly accurate though:Eugenie (an incredibly beautiful Sondergaard) met first Carlotta alone in the Grand Hotel -they did not invite her to the Tuileries,which meant a lot about what they felt-Metternich was not the person who helped Carlotta :she first took refuge in the Vatican where the pope had trouble to get rid of her,then her sister-in-law Marie -Henriette ,queen of Belgium,came to her rescue when she was treated almost like a prisoner in Miramar.

All that concerns Maximilian's death is accurate ,his last words were "poor Charlotte!"

Poor Charlotte indeed.She was to outlive almost everyone,even Empress Eugenie! She died in 1927,after years and years of insanity with occasional moments of lucidity ,notably during WW1.

Dieterlé's movie is by no means uninteresting,but it would be exciting to film a remake in the light of the recent works about the Mexican adventure.


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