Media Type: Film
Who wrote / made it : Julio Bracho
Plot summary: Set in 1912 during the brief presidency of Francisco I Madero (1911-1913), the Revolution does not feature in the plot. However, it casts a shadow as it is centred around military men. María Félix gets first billing as María alongside Armando Calvo as Jorge. The story is a love triangle between María (‘la mujer más bella de Europa’), Jorge, and Juan Antonio (Alberto Galán), his older half-brother. María and Juan Antonio meet in Spain. It is implied that she is a courtesan and we are shown that she has a cruel sense of humour. A tragic suicide impels her to leave and go with Juan Antonio to Mexico as his lover. On arrival, she meets Jorge by chance whilst on her way to the house Juan Antonio has set up for her. After some flirtation and chance encounters, Jorge and María fall in love. Both Juan Antonio and Jorge’s fiancée, Angélica (Patricia Morán), find out and are heartbroken. At first, Jorge nobly leaves Mexico City for Veracruz unhappy, but unwilling to interpose between María and Juan Antonio. María travels to Jorge and declares her love for him and they become a couple. Shortly after his return to Mexico City, Juan Antonio challenges Jorge to a duel. María tries various ruses to avoid either being killed. She fails, loses the love of both men and leaves Mexico.
Various modes of transport feature in this film: boat, rail, and carriage. The railway is of particular significance to the Revolution and has been written about largely in relation to literature of the Revolution. Unlike the usual film of the Revolution, the train is a convenient and high-class mode of transport in this film.
As this is set in a period during which there was relative peace much could be made of the high society and wealth of the characters. Perhaps with reference to the source text and to underline how the characters belong to a historic past, the costume has more in common with late-Nineteenth Century Mexico than the 1910s. The film is adapted from a play by Alexandre Dumas fils. The script was written by Robert Thoeren (it’s absent from this list: http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2ba9ef1523) with dialogue by the Mexican poet, Xavier Villarutia. It is a neglected text and is of interest to me as a film starring Félix, but could also serve as a good example of the transnational flows in narrative and source texts as well as an alternative representation of the bellicose period of the Revolution.