Viva Villa! (1934)

Passed   |    |  Biography, Western


Viva Villa! (1934) Poster

After enacting revenge on the overseer who murdered his father, Pancho Villa becomes a bandit, earning the respect of the poor by brutally attacking the wealthy.


6.4/10
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  • Wallace Beery and Fay Wray in Viva Villa! (1934)
  • Wallace Beery and Fay Wray in Viva Villa! (1934)
  • Wallace Beery and Fay Wray in Viva Villa! (1934)
  • Wallace Beery in Viva Villa! (1934)
  • Wallace Beery and Fay Wray in Viva Villa! (1934)
  • Viva Villa! (1934)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


7 September 2009 | Michael_Elliott
Beery Great.... The Rest Not
Viva Villa! (1934)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Wallace Beery's tremendous and rousing performance as Pancho Villa is the main reason to view this troubled production, which sadly can be seen in the movie itself. The movie tells the story of Pancho Villa, who as a boy sees his father killed by the Mexican government. Later in life Villa wages war against the greedy bad guys of Mexico first as a bandit and then as a general. It's not often a bio starts off with a warning that the thing is strictly fiction but that's the case with this MGM picture. I'm really not sure what to make with the final film but I found it clear to see that there was a lot of tampering with it. After viewing the movie I read some of its history, which includes director Howard Hawks being fired and original reporter Lee Tracy getting kicked out of the country after getting drunk and urinating off his hotel balcony onto some military men. There was also a plane crash that destroyed a lot of footage, which had to be re-shot and all of this caused the film's release to be pushed back, which then had the thing being cut by the Hayes Office. The entire film is quite choppy and a lot of what's going on has to be explained with title cards that come up every few scenes. The film's running time of 110-minutes seems double that and it doesn't help that the majority of the supporting cast are rather weak. Fay Wray, Donald Cook and George E. Stone walk through their roles. Leo Carrillo and Stuart Erwin are pretty bland in theirs. Henry B. Walthall gives a very good performance but he's role is quite minor. What keeps the film moving is the great performance by Beery who clearly becomes this character and when one thinks of Villa you can't help but picture Beery.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original director Howard Hawks quit the production because he felt it wasn't safe. Gun-toting revolutionaries prowled the set, safety standards were lax and a suicide took place in front of the director. Hawks lasted ten weeks and was only too happy to leave.


Quotes

Jonny Sykes: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of Jonny Sykes.


Goofs

The film strongly implies that Pancho Villa took Mexico City by himself, and then made himself president. In fact, the city was taken in a three-pronged attack by Villa's forces and those of two other revolutionary generals, Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza. After the city was taken and Huerta fled, the three generals ruled together, although Zapata soon went home and Carranza eventually forced Villa out of power, defeating his forces and ruling Mexico by himself.


Alternate Versions

In the original version of this film, during the scene in which Wallace Beery tries to rape Fay Wray and she shoots him in the arm, Beery horsewhips her after she begins laughing hysterically at him. The whipping is shown only by their shadows on the wall. After the Production Code went into effect, this scene was edited, and it is the edited version that was officially available for years. In 2015, the scene was restored, and was reinstated in the Warner Archive Collection DVD.


Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
New lyrics by
Ned Washington
Sung by chorus at intervals throughout film
Played as background music often

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Biography | Western

Details

Release Date:

27 April 1934

Language

English


Country of Origin

USA, Mexico

Filming Locations

San Marcos, Mexico

Box Office

Budget:

$1,017,400 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,109,000

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