Happy Cinco De Mayo!
I'm eating tacos for dinner because it's the least I can do. And I'm also perusing amazing photos of Mexican film stars of yore like the deliriously sexy Lupe Vélez and one star of the right now... Señor Bernal of course. Also deliriously sexy. Especially in closeups.
So I thought we'd drool on six of the earliest crossover sensations tonight with a few films of note (for one reason or another) for each of their careers. If you'd like to investigate further, click on the links. Enjoy!
Lupe Vélez The Gaucho, 1927 | Hot Pepper, 1933 | The Girl From Mexico, 1939
Ramon Novarro Scaramouche 1923 | Ben-Hur 1925 | The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, 1927
These silent stars had volatile lives and careers, both ending with tragic deaths. Vélez career was a series of ups and downs and some say she was bipolar. She had several movie star affairs (some say her relationship with Gary Cooper drove him to a nervous breakdown) and committed suicide in the 1940s while pregnant with a younger actor's child. Novarro's career was a more typical rise and fall but began to lose its heat after the success of Mata Hari (1931). He was killed by two brothers who had been invited to his home for sexual purposes but decided to rob him.
Gilbert Roland Camille, 1927 | The Sea Hawk, 1940 | The Gay Cavalier, 1946
Dolores del Rio Ramona, 1928 | Bird of Paradise, 1932 | Maria Candellaria, 1943
Del Rio was Hollywood's first superstar Mexican actress, world reknowned for her beauty and though her career declined with the talkies, she became involved with Orson Welles and stayed a prominent Hollywood figure. Gilbert Roland was a romantic leading man and he was one of the rare silent stars who transferred with ease to talkies. The great voice helped. He was steadily employed as a screen actor from 1923 through 1982!!! That's quite a run.
Katy Jurado Nosotros Los Pobres, 1948 | High Noon, 1952 | Broken Lance, 1954
Anthony Quinn Viva Zapata, 1952 | La Strada, 1954 | Zorba The Greek, 1964
These last two were both "first!" in terms of Oscar recognition. Quinn is the only Mexican-born actor ever nominated (still) but he achieved that four times, even winning twice.
<--- Katy and Brando... a 1950s Hollywood moment
Katy was the first Mexican actress recognized by the Academy (for the western Broken Lance) trailblazing the way for Salma Hayek (Frida) and Adriana Barazza (Babel) in our time.
Do you have a favorite Mexican actor and film? I mean other than GGB and Y Tu Mama Tambien? That goes without saying!