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Author Topic: And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)  (Read 9902 times)
Guerrilla
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« on: May 26, 2004, 05:49:58 AM »


Golden Globe nominated Antonio Banderas (Once Uponia Time In Mexico) starsiin this incredible true story of how Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa allowedia Hollywood crewito film himiin battle, altering theicourse of film andimilitary historyiin theiprocess. The adventure gets its start when early movie giants D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) andiHarry Aiken (Jim Broadbent) sendia junior executive, Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey),ito Mexicoito persuade theicash-strapped, publicity-hungry Villaito let them film his revolution. Stepping into theiliteral cross fire, Thayer's crew risk their livesiin theimingling of fiction andireality. Afteria string of dangerous exploits, narrow escapes andidouble crosses worthy ofia silent action short, Thayer andiVilla make their movie, andi"The Life of General Villa" isireleasediin theiU.S.ito popular acclaim. The film changes theipublic opinioniin Villa's favor andiproves that "the lens isimightier than theisword."

« Last Edit: May 26, 2004, 08:00:34 AM by Guerrilla » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2004, 08:05:35 AM »

some pix !!! JUST GREAT I THINK!



unhuman !!! VIVA MEXICO!

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Guerrilla
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2004, 09:28:10 AM »

Golden Globe nominated Antonio Banderas (Once Uponia Time In Mexico) starsiin this incredible true story of how Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa allowedia Hollywood crewito film himiin battle, altering theicourse of film andimilitary historyiin theiprocess. The adventure gets its start when early movie giants D.W. Griffith (Colm Feore) andiHarry Aiken (Jim Broadbent) sendia junior executive, Frank Thayer (Eion Bailey),ito Mexicoito persuade theicash-strapped, publicity-hungry Villaito let them film his revolution. Stepping into theiliteral cross fire, Thayer's crew risk their livesiin theimingling of fiction andireality. Afteria string of dangerous exploits, narrow escapes andidouble crosses worthy ofia silent action short, Thayer andiVilla make their movie, andi"The Life of General Villa" isireleasediin theiU.S.ito popular acclaim. The film changes theipublic opinioniin Villa's favor andiproves that "the lens isimightier than theisword."


« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 09:29:17 AM by Guerrilla » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2004, 12:15:41 PM »

Not as good as I'd hoped...

Watched HBO's And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself, which was not an unpleasant experience, but I can't help feeling it was a huge missed opportunity for a little light satire.

The ingredients; it's 1914 and the Mutual Film Co. (D.W. Griffiths, Chaplin, Arbuckle etc.) decide to make a film of General Francisco 'Pancho' Villa's life. The old west of America had faded into history, yet westerns became meat and drink for the new film industry. South of the border, meanwhile, the real 'old west' lived on, as two horseback armies fought an essentially 19th century war. Mutual planned to film the Mexican revolutionary Villa and his rag tag army in action and mix it with staged sequences to produce a seven reel spectacular such as the world has never seen (nor will again; The Life of General Villa has long been lost).

As they cranked the cameras, they came under fire not only from the Federales, but also William Randolph Hearst's media empire, frightened that American interests, not least Heart's Mexican properties, but most of all oil, will be lost to the socialist (horror) revolutionaries. It's the sort of script John Milius, in The Wind And The Lion mode, would have made mincemeat of, but Larry Gelbert - he of TV's M*A*S*H -  has too light a touch. He focuses on the nephew of Mutual's Harry Aitken (a nice vignette from Jim Broadbent), Frank Thayer (blandly played by Eoin Bailey) to the detrement of a much more interesting story that should have played on a much bigger stage - America, with one eye fixed firmly on the new European conflict, threatened to intervene at several stages during the revolution to protect the oil fields, while we only get a brief glimpse of the beleagured Mexican government, but maybe this betrays the film's 'made for TV' status.

The bright spot is that as Villa, Antonio Banderas is never less than excellent (I almost forgive him for Spy Kids. Almost), but I must admit that I distrust movies that start 'this is a true story', because they invariably are not and this messes with the truth, despite being essentially true. A prime example is the promotion of Thayer's role in Mutual's Villa movie, when Raoul Walsh (later to direct White Heat, They Died With Their Boots On, High Sierra etc., etc.) played a much bigger part, not only playing young Villa but also acting as second unit director and filming the pivotal Torreon battle sequence, shown here directed by Thayer.

Not a bad effort, but I expected better from director Bruce Beresford; something much more interesting was struggling to get out.

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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2006, 08:26:52 PM »

in probably the most unusual motion picture ever made, mexican guerrila leader poncho villa comducted much of a real revolution according to a prepared movie script.
  in march 1914, harry aitken, president off mutual film corporation of new york, decided to make a feature film called the life of general villa. aitken met w/ poncho villa
a "serious, dignified man", not an "uncouth bandit", in juarez mexico, and agreed to pay him  25,000.00 in gold ( villa once killed a man who tried to pay him in paper money ) if he would stage and act in a real revolution. one stipulation in the contract was that if the battle went poorly, villa would fight it again to give the studio better footage. the contract was not difficult for villa to carry out because he, along w/ venustiano carranza and emiliano zapata, was already leading and uprising against the mexican dictator victoriano huerta in mexico city.
  the  film, backed by wall street banking firm of kuhn, loeb, was to be directed by d.w. griffith.  at the last moment, griffith decided to direct another picture, the birth of a nation, for mutual, and christy cabanne was made the new director, althought the battle sequences were directed by raoul walsh, later to gain hollywood renown as the director of such films as what price glory ? and high serra.
  villa held up the battle of ojinaga until raoul walsh could get his five cameramen into place. this allowed huerta's federal troops time to reinforce, but villa overan them anyway.  one problem during filming was that villa was executing his prisoners too early, while it was still dark. " i used to get him to put off his excutations," raoul walsh told movie historian kevin brownlow. " he used to have them at four or five in the morning, when there was no light.  i got him to put them off until seven or eight.  i'd line the cameramen up and the'd put these fellows up against a wall and then the'd shoot them. "  walsh also convinced villa to delay all fighting until 9:00 am, when the sun was out, and cease fighting at four pm, when darkness set in.  sometimes, during a battle, the director would get villa to stop the killing until the cameras were set at a new angle.  walsh tried to take pictures of villa in actual combat, but it was too difficult.  then villa agreed to act out his role as leader for the filming. "we'd set up at the head of the street." said walsh, "and he'd hit that horse w/ a whip and his spurs and go by at 90 miles an hour. i don't know how many times we said. " despacio, despacio..slow senor, please ! "
  after the victory at durango, villa and carranza, joined by zapata, overthrew huerta and entered mexico city. then carranza turned on the other two and took over the government until he himself was deposed in 1920.
after that poncho villa went into retirement. as for the movie, when walsh brought it back to the mutual studio, it was found that the battle scenes were dull and unbelievable.  most of them were reshot on the studio lot.
  all prints of the film have been lost.
from: significa. unusual or little known facts which have to much significance to qualify as mere trivia. by..
irving & amy wallace w/ david wallechinsky

« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 09:53:36 AM by Kermit » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2006, 08:29:54 PM »

HBO made a series of this or was it a t.v movie?
either way it was based on the events that Kermit described and it starred Antonio Banderas as Villa.

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2006, 08:32:30 PM »

HBO made a series of this or was it a t.v movie?
either way it was based on the events that Kermit described and it starred Antonio Banderas as Villa.

I saw that made-for-tv movie. It was alright. Fun but nothing mind-blowing.

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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2006, 08:36:49 PM »

I guess if the actual footage was still in existance it would be the biggest snuff film of all time!

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2006, 08:26:18 AM »

HBO made a series of this or was it a t.v movie?
either way it was based on the events that Kermit described and it starred Antonio Banderas as Villa.

so the movie with banderas in it is about the filming of a movie that pancho took part in and not just about pancho villa himself?

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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2006, 12:30:43 PM »

so the movie with banderas in it is about the filming of a movie that pancho took part in and not just about pancho villa himself?


correct.

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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2006, 05:50:43 AM »

Yea, its not bad, I'll add it to the Zapata Western thread when I revise it and compare it to the others, too busy with fishing lately.

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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2007, 03:45:13 PM »

I rented this one today, I hope that it's as good as it looks.

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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2007, 06:41:56 PM »

I saw this a year ago and enjoyed it very much.

Nothing great, but very entertaining.

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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2007, 08:35:57 PM »

I'll be firing up the Zapata Western thread again soon and add "Duck You Sucker" & "And Staring Pancho Villa as Himself" and "Pancho Villa" with Telly Savalas & Clint Walker, I was sort of putting it off until I could see DYS and a couple of other Zapata's, "Villa!" and the "Treasure of Pancho Villa".

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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 06:59:25 AM »

I thought the battle scenes were very well-done, and Antonio Banderas was an excellent Villa (this coming from a non-fan). The rest of the cast was so-so - I liked Jim Broadbent and Michael McKean, didn't really care for Eion Bailey or Alex Davalos (though she was very good-looking, not much of an actress). But it was worth watching, I think.

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