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CUANDO VIVA VILLA! ES LA MUERTE (director/writer: Ismael Rodriguez; screenwriters: Rafael A. Perez/ Jose Luis Celis/Vicente Orona, Jr./Ricardo Garibay; cinematographer: Rosalio Solano; editor: Fernando Martinez; cast: Pedro Armendariz (Pancho Villa), Alma Rosa Aguirre (La Adelita), Carlos Lopez Moctezuma (Fierro), Humberto Almazan (Luisito), Elda Peralta (Cecilia); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ismael Rodriguez/Jose Luis Celis; TCM; 1960-Mexico-in Spanish with English subtitles)
It’s competently directed and lushly filmed, but never caught my interest.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The third film in a trilogy of Pancho Villa that’s written and directed by noted Mexican filmmaker Ismael Rodriguez (“My Son, The Hero”/”Outside the Law“/”The Mighty Jungle”), considered one of the founders of contemporary Mexican cinema. It’s competently directed and lushly filmed, but never caught my interest. The life of the prominent Mexican revolutionary general Pancho Villa (Pedro Armendariz), who lived from 1878 to 1923, is recalled through the eyes of teachers, prisoners, rebel soldiers, farm workers and small town commoner residents.

The larger than life revolutionary hero self-promoted himself as a man of the people to maintain his loyal followers and promoted his image for history. In this version, we observe how shrewd he is in warding off his enemies and maintaining the loyalty of his followers, even when acting like a buffoon. It ends with the general’s assassination.

REVIEWED ON 10/28/2010 GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”