The young Mexican Pepe's beloved horse is sold to Hollywood star Ted Holt, leading to Pepe's journey to Hollywood to get the horse back, and Pepe's encounter with half the stars working in Hollywood at the time.
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In Mexico, Pepe is the good-natured ranch foreman of Sr. Rodriguez. Pepe's pride and joy is Don Juan, a magnificent white stud stallion that he raised from a colt for Sr. Rodriguez and that he refers to as his "son". As Sr. Rodriguez has decided to sell Don Juan at auction, Pepe enacts a plan to dissuade any interested buyers so that he can buy Don Juan himself. The plan doesn't work, as Don Juan is sold to washed-up Hollywood movie director Ted Holt - his current Hollywood status due to alcohol over-consumption - who wants to use Don Juan for his comeback project to be shot in Mexico with an all-Mexican cast except for an American female lead. Pepe decides to head to Hollywood and earn lots of money so that he can buy Pepe and bring him back to Mexico. In Hollywood, Pepe gets into one misadventure after another with a cavalcade of Hollywood movie stars, those misadventures based largely on Pepe's limited grasp of the English language, he often taking what is said to him in their ...Written by
"Pepe" premiered in Hollywood on December 27, 1960. The Columbia Pictures feature, starring the Mexican film star Mario Moreno, "Cantinflas," in the title role, was directed by George Sidney. A multitude of cameo appearances attempted to replicate the success of Mario Moreno's American debut, notably, "Around The World in Eighty Days," produced in 1956 by Mike Todd. The Hollywood Hill top swimming pool sequence was filmed on property owned by Brian Aherne and Joan Fontaine. The Eastern property point overlooking Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and the panorama to the West, was located at the end of North Crescent Heights Boulevard, adjacent Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Laurel Canyon. Columbia Studios' "Pepe" art director Ted Hayworth selected the location for the swimming pool scene-encounter. The studio built a full size swimming pool, on the bluff overlooking Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. The entire set was fabricated on the bluff for this scene, with the four columned two story (Aherne-Fontaine) mansion as the backdrop for reverse camera angle shots. Upon completion of filming, everything built for the setting was removed, with the property restored back to the original condition. During the mid 60's, after Aherne and Fontaine's divorce in 1959, the mansion hill-top was sold, abandoned, becoming a Sunset Strip hippie enclave fort; the mansion was demolished in the late 60's; Great Western, sub-dividing the hill-top, developed home sights selling for approximately $350,000 to $500,000 in the late 1970's. See more »
Although several sources list the film's running time as either 190 or 195 minutes, according to studio records it is exactly three hours. The intermission might have attributed to the extra 10-15 minutes. Later cut to 157 minutes after initial screenings. See more »
Enjoyable Variety Show, with Funny yet Touching Host, Thin yet Impassioning Plot, and One Really Great Song !
It's pure magic. Despite anyone tries to convince you not. When I was 14-year-old this movie was among my top 5. Who can resist many stars, bright dances, droll sketches, great music, and so sizzling girls from the good old 1950s as well ?! You can say it got a thin plot. But as whole I discovered that that was the point !
It's a variety show. (Cantinflas), the Mexican comic star, wasn't that hot name in America. And the way to achieve that was by putting him in the middle of Hollywood hall of fame, through delightful colorful episodes with a plot (somewhat) like kind of (Charles Chaplin)'s tales yet about a man and not a kid.. but a horse. And for me all of that worked magically.
I believe the TV at the moment was hitting the movies' industry badly. So Hollywood had to fight back with its heavy artillery. You can sense that rightly with Cantinflas's first American movie 4 years ago (Around the World in 80 Days). The many cameos of the stars, the episodic feel, and the international backgrounds all were the cinema's desperate weapons at its war. And Cantinflas's second American movie wasn't away from that.
Still the parts that really entertained me much were Maurice Chevalier's Mimi, the bar's erotic dance, Dean Martin's cameo, and the scene of Cantinflas with Edward G. Robinson near the end as a walking broken heart (Cantinflas lost that year's Golden Globe of the best actor for Jack Lemmon in The Apartment). So it is a funny, sexy, and touching show.
The title song is one of a few songs move my feeling to the highest degree. It's holy for me. Aside from perfect music, I ranked it as the best song ever made about the beauty of simplicity, the smiling clown in our life, or just the beauty of being simple smiling man.
This was the end of the musicals' age on-screen, and to tell you the truth Pepe isn't a great musical itself, though it managed to give the good emotions that any great musical used to deliver. And remember folks; this was nominated for 7 Oscars. Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Editing, Best Original Song (Faraway Part of Town), and Best Music; Scoring of a Musical Picture. It's surely better than many musicals I watched from Hollywood's golden age.
George Sidney's movies that I saw till now are all an absolute treat. Plus something else, the women in his movies are all sexy. So sexy at the least! It's clear that this man loved the showgirls along with the cabaret's dancing so much. And by the way I began to believe that (Sidney) was slightly having a passion for the butts (the good female butts!). Yes, you can believe that when you watch for instance his way of focusing on the dancing girl with Dailey (after Chevalier's number). And certainly in other movies like his next (Viva Las Vegas) and (The Swinger) !
I know it gets weird at places (the dance as small people), but again this is a show with various spectacles, and that trick wasn't familiar only, but was kind of dazzling back then also. However still boring for a big fan of the movie like me! Plus I couldn't stand Dan Dailey most of the time. But still the final scene was the worst thing; it abstracted the Hollywood happy ending yet in the wrong way.
It's a rare document about Hollywood at the end of the 1950s. You may catch on its value after experiencing Hollywood of the 1970s where movies like (That's Entertainment) were produced just to recall days like these! Although now it isn't among the top 5, but as this show was ultra-satisfying for me in my childhood, IT IS as satisfying after. So bad that it didn't serve its lead to be a Hollywood star. However Pepe (the movie, the character and the song) are real stars in my memories.
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