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Yucatan

Date produced: 1934

Filmmaker(s):

J. Oliver Tucker


Acapulco—Mexican Riviera

Date produced: 1951

Filmmaker(s):

Harold Ramser

Description:

"Harold Ramser's 'Acapulco—Mexican Riviera' is a beautiful Kodachrome documentary of the colorful Mexican resort city." American Cinematographer, May 1952, 224.


Beneath Mexican Skies

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

Ella Paul

Description:

"Ella Paul did not try to cover the whole of Mexico, as do so many who visit that fascinating country. In fact she chose to limit her study to one small locale — the town of Patzcuaro and the activities on its lake. This primitive yet industrious community is recorded in pleasing compositions and with sympathetic appreciation of its sunny warmth and charm. The familiar butterfly nets, dugout canoes and the heroic statue of Morelos are all there in Beneath Mexican Skies; but Mrs. Paul's camera gives them a fresh treatment." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 466.


Nextdoor Neighbor

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

Esther S. Cooke

Description:

"Although Mexico has become a recurring theme among American movie makers, its varicolored panoramas seem fresh and vital when viewed through the discerning eyes of so capable a film reporter as Esther S. Cooke. She has a fine talent for blending human interest with purely scenic passages, so that Nextdoor Neighbor presents an informative and entertaining pageant of the sights and scenes below the border. Not the least of this producer's potentials are her diligent research, able organization and skillful editing. The more familiar scenes of Mexican life are supplemented here by an admirably detailed coverage of the national sport, bullfighting. Looking at this spectacle as if through Latin eyes, Mrs. Cooke has been able to transmute onto film its stirring pageantry and ritualized passion. A happy choice of Mexican recordings provide a beautifully blended musical score, which reaches its apex in the, bullfight sequence with the haunting and classic La Virgen de la Macarena." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 465.


Mexican Malarkey

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

Cal Duncan

Description:

"It takes Cal Duncan 1300 feet of 16mm. color film to tell a pair of politely uninterested guests how he caught a sailfish off Acapulco — but the effort, as exemplified in Mexican Malarkey, is decidedly worth it. Mr. Duncan's running gag, climaxed by a truly comic finish right out of the funny papers, is the flashback technique developed to a high and satisfying order. His Mexican footage itself is no less effective. The robust and hearty producer has an artist's eye for fresh viewpoints, a dramatist's instinct for revealing action. His sequence on Mexico's traditional Sunday bullfight, always a difficult assignment, is outstanding. Mexican Malarkey is a refreshing variation on an increasing wellworn theme." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 454.


Remnants Of The Past

Date produced: 1948

Filmmaker(s):

Alan Probert

Description:

"Alan Probert has confined his study of Mexico to the primitive Otomi Indians. With startling clarity and a fine cinematic eye for detail, he presents the tribal group in a series of sketches that reveal the age old customs of their forefathers still in daily use — sowing and reaping, spinning and weaving, trading and worshipping. Remnants Of The Past is an expertly filmed factual account of the subject, which would have gained considerably from greater unity and a stronger ending." Movie Makers, Dec. 1948, 494.


Mexico At Work And At Play

Date produced: 1948

Filmmaker(s):

Ralph E. Gray

Description:

"Having forsaken the good land of tequila for the gypsy life of a trailerite, Ralph E. Gray presents what may be the last in a long line of distinguished human record films on America's southern neighbor. Mexico At Work And At Play displays recurrently in its many and varied sequences the opulent camera work and warm eye for color which have marked all of Mr. Gray's award winners. Mirrored in the present movie are such native occupations as sugar cane farming and mescal distilling, such handicrafts as glass blowing and opal polishing, such diversions as cock fighting and an Easter Passion Play. Mr. Gray's treatment of these and other colorful subjects is leisurely, loving and methodical." Movie Makers, Dec. 1948, 494.


Quaint Old Mexico

Date produced: 1946

Filmmaker(s):

Guy Nelli

Description:

"It is a platitude that there is more in Mexico than meets the eye. In Quaint Old Mexico, however, Guy Nelli proves that there is far more in Mexico than usually meets the camera. Mr. Nelli presents the gradual awakening of Mexico, as the farmers drive their produce to market, with a startling sense of early morning atmosphere; market scenes are developed lucidly and effectively. The high peak of the film is reached with a most remarkable sequence of religious festival shots, as virtually an entire village re-enacts the Stations of the Cross. The intense religious emotion evident in these scenes has rarely been caught for the screen. Mr. Nelli's film is outstanding for its fresh approach and, above all, for the natural and casual quality of its shots." Movie Makers, Dec. 1946, 488.


Typical Times in the Tropics

Date produced: 1946

Filmmaker(s):

Ralph E. Gray

Description:

"The vivid pageantry and somnolent landscapes of Mexico assume a new grandeur as filmed by Ralph E. Gray, a cinematographer who has long been recognized as one of the most accomplished amateurs on the continent. The land of contrasts and contradictions is beautifully presented in Typical Times in the Tropics, for here is one of the few travel films that ignore the tourist penchant for flashy trivia, to reveal the spirit of a people and the pictorial splendor in terms of lasting values. Mr. Gray has lived in Mexico long enough to recognize what is really significant; consequently, his film — for all its 1400 feet — seems to be a distillation of the unique charm which continues to attract Americans on vacation. The Mexican's strange blend of religious sincerity and garish ceremony is evidenced in a ritual filmed in Cholula, in which the local livestock — besmeared with gaudy paints and dyes — are presented for the blessing of the village priest — to insure the animals' fertility. The bouganvillea and hibiscus that frame the vistas of sleepy Fortin are contrasted with a boisterous Cuernavaca carnival and the hard riding charros of Mexico City. The latter scenes give Mr. Gray an opportunity to display his technical prowess at its best, for his handling of exposure problems in filming sombrero shadowed faces, his revealing closeups of spectators and skillful following of the wild horses and steer roping are proof of his stature as one of our finest amateur filmers. One of Mr. Gray's most valuable assets is a keen eye for detail, whether it be in the embroidery of a shawl or the weird sculpture left in the path of a lava flow. Intelligent use of a polarizing filter heightens the tawny stuccos of the cathedrals and intensifies the architectural detail of the facades and bell towers; and a fine feeling for human interest gives his shots of a Tehuantepec celebration, the Tirada de Frutas, an added opulence. The cliff divers of Acapulco staged some hairbreadth scenes for Mr. Gray, and he has made the sequence even more breathtaking by cutting in shots of the rocky hazards which had to be cleared by these young daredevils. Saving his trump for a fiery finale, this second time Maxim Award winner winds up with a series of frames of Paricutin, smouldering under her own gray vapors. Sustaining interest throughout 1400 feet of film is no mean task, even when abetted by the natural resources of Mexico; but Mr. Gray has met his challenge with a maximum of taste, discrimination and a completely craftsmanlike approach to a subject that has seldom been presented with such polish and vitality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1946, 470-471.


Arts and Crafts in Mexico

Date produced: 1945

Filmmaker(s):

Ralph E. Gray

Description:

"Ralph E. Gray has once again turned his inquiring and sympathetic camera upon the people and places of Mexico. The result is Arts and Crafts in Mexico, an authentic and altogether admirable record of that country's hereditary handicrafts. Here, in almost lavish detail, is an intent family of woodworkers, fascinating in their casual skills with hands and feet. Here are senoritas who both weave and wear the lovely silken rebozo, which shares honors only with the serape as the mantle of Mexico. One sees with equal clarity and charm the fashioning of pottery, the firing of copper vessels and the fine crafting of Mexico's soft and gleaming silver. Even the great Diego Rivera, pictured at work in a sequence which is a genuine "'beat," is engagingly included within the family of Mexico's artisans. Mr. Gray has compiled a cinematic document of great beauty, genuine human interest and authentic social value." Movie Makers, Dec. 1945, 494.


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