Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Top Billed Actors: Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, Leo Carrillo
IMDb Rating: 6.6
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Assistant Director - John Waters
Nominated for 3 more:
Best Writing (Adapted) - Ben Hecht
Best Sound - Douglas Shearer
Plot: A white man plays dress up as a Mexican, shoots a bunch of people, and marries a bunch of women.
How was the finished product? Certain aspects shined, such as the humor of the interactions between Wallace Beery, who plays Pancho Villa, and his second-in-command, Leo Carrillo. They nonchalantly steal, kill, and do all other sorts of frowned upon actions. The way they go about robbing a bank is comedic gold. Pancho, on the way to the bank, is trying to explain how interest works (Pancho is not the brightest bulb). He then asks for a withdrawal but the teller tells him the bank is closed. Carrillo simply hits the teller and gives the money to Beery. The teller ends up dying and they way the two are indifferent to the situation is pretty funny. Things like this happen all throughout the movie and I ended up laughing way more than I thought I would for a 1930s western.
Many more aspects did not shine. Not one Latino was cast for a major role for the film and it shows. Mispronunciations are abound and the actors do not look genuine at all. They just look like costumes were thrown on them and they stuck their face in the dirt. Beery doesn't pronounce one Mexican word right, including his own name. Most actors call him "Pancho Villa," pronounced with a long a. Beery calls himself "Pan-cho," pronounced like a frying pan. He also calls the President "Madera," when his name is "Madero." His Mexican accent also comes and goes throughout the film and you can hear his real accent take charge on certain lines. In summary, his acting is just not there. The third act of the film, in which Pancho Villa retakes Mexico in his second revolution, is also a bore and drags on and on.
Overall, Beery's shoddy accent and poor acting as well as a slow paced finale overshadows some witty humor sprinkled throughout the film.
My Score: 5/10