Viva Villa!

Viva Villa!

Wallace Beery
Director: Jack Conway, Howard Hawks Cast: Wallace Beery
Wallace Beery
, Leo Carrillo
Leo Carrillo
Jack Conway, Howard Hawks,


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A far from factual filmed biography of Mexican patriot Pancho Villa, Viva Villa! was written by lengendary screenwriter Ben Hecht. We first meet the young Villa when his father is beaten to death after protesting Diaz' seizure of the Mexican peons' land. Pancho exacts a temporary revenge by knifing one of his father's killers, then heads for the hills, where he organizes a band of renegades. As he "matures," Pancho is played by child actor Phillip Cooper and adult star Wallace Beery. Though ruthless in his treatment of the rich, Pancho is a hero to the poor, who receive the spoils of Villa's raids. Befriended by American reporter Johnny Sykes (Stuart Erwin), Villa becomes internationally famous thanks to Sykes' articles concerning his exploits. Pancho also finds a strong ally in Don Felipe de Castillo (Donald Cook), who introduces the rebel bandit to Madero (Henry B. Walthall), the leader of the peon revolt. Madero convinces Villa to join forces with him, the better to oust the Diaz regime. His principal rival in this goal is ambitious General Pascal (Joseph Schildkraut), who intends to set up an even more despotic regime once Diaz is eliminated. Emerging victorious in his fight against the federales, Villa is encouraged to go back home by Madero. Illiterate and dangerously naïve, Villa quickly runs into trouble with the new government, giving Pascal a chance to humiliate his former "comrade in arms." Later, Pascal shows his true colors by assassinating Madero and assuming control of Mexico. Thirsting for revenge, Villa and his men go on a bloody rampage, culminiating in the ritualistic murder of the treacherous Pascal (he is staked out on an anthill and covered with honey). Made president of Mexico upon the elimination of Pacal, Villa once more finds himself in over his head. Unable to deal with political infighting, Villa retires to his ranch. One day, after running into his old friend Johnny Sykes (Stu Erwin), Villa is shot and mortally wounded by his onetime friend Don Felipe, who holds Pancho responsible for the death of his sister Teresa (Fay Wray). As he dies, Villa begs Johnny to tell him what his epitaph will be. Improvising quickly, Johnny tells of Villa's love for Mexico and his many accomplishments. Partially filmed on location in Mexico, Viva Villa was plagued with a multitude of production problems, not least of which was the diplomatic gaffe committed by Lee Tracy, the film's original Johnny Sykes: While standing on a balcony watching a military parade, an inebrieated Tracy relieved himself on the troops below and was immediately fired. Another crisis arose when the Mexican government objected to star Wallace Beery, on the grounds that Beery usually played villains or buffoons. Despite these and other setbacks, Viva Villa was finally completed under the assured directorial hand of MGM troubleshooter Jack Conway and the expert supervision of David O. Selznick. Though some critics objected to the film's violence, Viva Villa was a financial success.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/05/2015
UPC: 0888574282257
Original Release: 1934
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Time: 1:52:00
Sales rank: 33,158

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Wallace Beery Pancho Villa
Leo Carrillo Diego
Fay Wray Teresa
Donald Cook Don Felipe
Joseph Schildkraut Gen. Pascal
Stuart Erwin Johnny Sykes
George E. Stone Chavito
Katherine de Mille Rosita
Frank Puglia Villa's Father
David Durand Bugle Boy
George Regas Don Rodrigo
Henry Armetta Actor
Mischa Auer Military Attache
Shirley Chambers Wrong Girl
Emile Chautard General
Andre Cheron French Reporter
Steve Clemente Actor
Phillip Cooper Villa as a Boy
Harry Cording Majordomo
John Davidson Actor
Nigel de Brulier Judge
Nick De Ruiz Peons
Carlos de Valdez Old Man
Sam Godfrey Prosecuting Attorney
Brandon Hurst Actor
Chris-Pin Martin Actor
James Martin Mexican Officer
Francis McDonald Villa's Man
Bob McKenzie Bartender
John Merkyl Pascal's Aide
Belle Mitchell Wife
Leonard Mudie Statesman
Herbert Prior Actor
Pedro Regas Staff
Charles Requa Actor
Tom Ricketts Grandees
Julian Rivero Telegraph Operator
Adrian Rosley Actor
Hector V. Sarno Mendoza Brother
Harry Semels Soldier
Paul Stanton Newspaperman
Charles Stevens Actor
Arthur Thalasso Butcher
Arthur Treacher English Reporter
Michael Visaroff Russian Reporter
William Von Brincken German Reporter
Henry B. Walthall Madero
H.B. Warner Bit
Leo White Man
Clarence H. Wilson Jail Official
Ralph Bushman Calloway

Technical Credits
Jack Conway Director
Howard Hawks Director
Ben Hecht Screenwriter
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Robert J. Kern Editor
Harry Oliver Art Director
David O. Selznick Producer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer
Dolly Tree Costumes/Costume Designer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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