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Juarez… the condensed version

21 August 2009


2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the Leyes de la reforma, which led to a complex reactionary movement.  You should, of course, read the book , but even there, it’s recommended seeing the entire film, not just the (slightly under) four minute trailer.

It’s actually a pretty good movie, as far as costume dramas go.  While probably more sympathetic to the Hapsburgs than I would like, and perhaps slighly misleading in suggesting that Benito Juarez was inspired by Abraham Lincoln (the two had much in common, and admired each other, but Juarez was very much his own man… as was Lincoln), but for that, it’s one of the few classic films based not on a novel, but on a popular non-fiction work ((Bettina Harding’s “Phantom Crown”).  Aside from the oddball casting of the Austrian actor Paul Muni as the anti-Austrian Juarez, and one one Mexican among the stars (Gilbert Roland), the casting is just about perfect… besides, nobody does crazy like Bette Davis.

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