Pepe (1960)

Unrated   |    |  Comedy, Musical

Pepe (1960) Poster

The young Mexican Pepe's beloved horse is sold to Hollywood star Ted Holt, leading to Pepe's journey to Hollywood to get the horse back, and Pepe's encounter with half the stars working in Hollywood at the time.


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6 September 2011 | captain-bill
I really want to write something good about this movie. I can't, though. I only saw it once, and once was more than enough. I was a teenager in Denver, Colorado, when "Pepe" previewed for the first time before an audience. A passel of studio bigwigs showed up at the Centre Theatre that evening, including, I believe, producer and director George Sidney. Cantinflas was a no-show; maybe he knew something.

Did you ever attend a movie where the audience greets it with...dead silence? Not the kind of silence for something cerebral, such as "2001: A Space Odyssey", but the kind of silence that lets you know you are watching a very slow, very long train wreck. And there were roughly 1,200 really silent people that night fifty years ago.

So why did I stick it out through the whole thing? Easy. The cameos. I would start looking for the exit when Edward G. Robinson would appear. Wow! This picture's got to get better now. Wrong. Ditto for Ernie Kovacs, and so on.

Since I viewed the preview print, I believe I saw the full 195 minute version. So what did the studio cut for general release? The only thing I clearly remember departing was a long, misbegotten animated sequence.

In retrospect I feel sorry for George Sidney, director of "The Harvey Girls", the 1948 "Three Musketeers", and "Kiss Me Kate". But the industry had changed a lot by 1960. He did his best to keep up, but "Pepe" has to be a nadir.

Some believe "Pepe" to be excellent family fare. If I compelled a child to watch the whole thing, even the cut general release version, I could probably be arrested for child abuse. You have been warned!

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