In 1910, a wealthy young Mexican named Francisco Madero challenged the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and kicked off a decades-long struggle that would become known as the Mexican Revolution. Throughout September, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will commemorate the 100th anniversary of this pivotal event with a collection of films about the Mexican Revolution and its most intriguing figures, from Pancho Villa to Emiliano Zapata.
The offerings are highlighted by the TCM premieres of seven Spanish-language films by acclaimed Mexican director Ismael Rodriguez, including his 1957-60 trilogy about the life of revolutionary hero Pancho Villa. Four of the Rodriguez’s films will be presented late-night Sundays as part of TCM Imports, the network’s international cinema showcase.
Elia Kazan‘s epic Viva Zapata! (1952), making its first appearance on TCM, stars Marlon Brando as revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and Mexican-born Anthony Quinn in an Oscar-winning performance as his brother, Eufemio. TCM will also present the highly entertaining Viva Villa (1934), with Wallace Beery in one of his best roles as Pancho Villa.
“The Mexican Revolution is a fascinating period in history, full of memorable people and exciting stories,” said TCM host Robert Osborne. “TCM’s commemoration offers viewers a chance to learn more about that country’s long struggle against dictatorship and corruption, while also enjoying the exciting work of some of the top film talent in Mexico.”
The following is the complete schedule (all times Eastern):
Friday, Sept. 3
8 p.m. Asi era Pancho Villa (1957) – Mexican director Ismael Rodriguez kicks off his Pancho Villa trilogy with an intriguing concept. The disembodied head of the famed leader, which is being kept in a glass jar in a research facility, narrates several tales from his life. Rodriguez blends both fact and legend to create an almost mythological view of Pancho Villa, who was played by Pedro Amendariz, one of the biggest male stars in Mexican cinema and a frequent co-star in Hollywood productions.
10 p.m. Pancho Villa y La Valentina (1958) – Pedro Amendariz returns for this second installment in Ismael Rodriguez‘s Pancho Villa trilogy. This film follows the stories of Pancho Villa‘s adventures alongside the female revolutionary La Valentina, played by Elsa Aguirre.
Midnight Cuando ¡Viva Villa! es la muerte (1960) – The final film in Ismael Rodriguez‘s Pancho Villa trilogy once again features Pedro Amendariz as the famed revolutionary. This film follows his later campaigns, including several defeats he suffered before his assassination in 1923.
Sunday, Sept. 5
2 a.m. TCM Imports: La cucaracha (1959) – This revolutionary drama from Ismael Rodriguez marks the only time two of Mexico‘s most beautiful female stars – Maria Felix and Dolores Del Rio – appeared together. The story centers on Felix as a young patriotic woman whose devotion to Pancho Villa borders on the fanatical. Pedro Amendariz, who played the lead in Rodriguez’s Pancho Villa trilogy, takes the role of Valentin Razo in this all-star production.
Sunday, Sept. 12
2 a.m. TCM Imports: Mexicanos al grito de guerra (1943) – In this film set during the pre-revolutionary French Intervention era, a young student falls in love with the niece of the French ambassador. Pedro Infante and Lina Montes star. Ismael Rodriguez co-directed with writer Alvaro Galvez y Fuentes.
Sunday, Sept. 19
2 a.m. TCM Imports: Las mujeres de mi general (1951) – Pedro Infante stars as a rebel general trapped in a complicated love triangle with two women played by Lilia Prado and Chula Prieto. Ismael Rodriguez directed this Mexican Revolution-set film.
Sunday, Sept. 26
8 p.m. Viva Zapata! (1952) – Elia Kazan‘s powerfully moving epic stars Marlon Brando as a poor man who has grown tired of the wealthy land barons preventing his fellow villagers from using the most arable land. When his cries for justice go unheeded by President Diaz, he decides to join the revolution. Mexican native Anthony Quinn won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his outstanding performance as Zapata’s brother, Eufemio. Jean Peters and Alan Reed co-star. The film’s many highlights include the Oscar-nominated screenplay by John Steinbeck and an evocative score by Alex North.
10 p.m. Viva Villa (1934) – This early Best Picture Oscar nominee is a somewhat fictionalized chronicle of Pancho Villa‘s adventures, with Wallace Beery taking the role of the legendary revolutionary. Leo Carrillo and Fay Wray co-star. Jack Conway directs from Ben Hecht‘s screenplay.
2 a.m. TCM Imports: La Bandida (1962) – Some of Mexico‘s biggest film stars came together for this melodramatic tale of two men who return home after being jailed, only to find their lives upended. Maria Felix plays the title role, starring opposite Emilio Fernandez, Pedro Armendariz and Katy Jurado.