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La cucaracha (1959)
The Mexican Revolution and two big stars
This is one example of a Mexican film genre celebrating the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921, more or less) many of them directed by Ismael Rodriguez (or Emilio Fernández), photographed by Gabriel Figueroa and often starring either Maria Felix or Dolores Del Rio. This film is a melodrama starring Mexico's two great female film stars (Del Rio the more famous of the two in the United States but Felix probably the bigger star in Mexico) and photographed in color by Figueroa, who was earlier known for his moody black and white. As entertainment it's very enjoyable. Maria Felix isn't a great actress but she had a style greatly loved in Mexico and Dolores Del Rio is often luminous. Emilo Fernandez as the Colonel is impressive
Appointment in Honduras (1953)
great for fans of really bad movies
Bad script, bad editing, bad direction, bad film but great for fans of really bad movies with interesting casts: Glen Ford, still leading man quality; Zachary Scott with his usual smooth performance; and Ann Sheridan, the reason I bought the DVD, always worth watching even if her good roles were in the past. As they wandered through the jungle I kept wondering why they didn't just step off the set and go the commissary. Things I liked were the red-yellow color tones on the DVD I saw and the crude - scratching on film - special effects of the ants and the flying insects, whatever they were and it was interesting to see Stuart Whitman in a small role as the telegraph operator at the beginning and Jack Elam as one of the bad guys.
La diosa arrodillada (1947)
Wonderful overwrought melodrama from Mexico's Golden Age
Maria Felix, the archetypical Mexican movie star, plays one of her bad/good girl roles, with elements of the characters played by Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and even Marlene Dietrich. (she sings a song by her then husband, the famous composer,Augustine Lara). Arturo de Cordova's tortured lover is reminiscent of his role in Buñuel's Exterminating Angel. There's some extraordinary photography , stylized sets (the furniture designer gets a credit) and outrageous dresses for La Doña, as Maria Felix is still known in Mexico. It's definitely one of the styles that Buñuel expanded in his early Mexican films like the 1955 "Ensayo de un crimen."