90 Days of Oscar Nominees #65 – Viva Villa (1934)


In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 90 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 5 Dec 2017 and The 90th Annual Oscars on 4 Mar 2018.

Here is my 65th review of the 90 chosen Films…

“[typing] Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of Jonny Sykes. ” – Jonny Sykes

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Feb 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Fictionalized version of the life of Mexican bandit Pancho Villa.

My Take on it – This is a film that I wasn’t really looking forward to yet found myself thoroughly surprised when it turned out to be quite interesting.

I’m aware of the fact that this film veers far from the truth in many aspects yet they still manage to keep things interesting the entire time.

I really enjoyed the fact that this film once again proves the notion that violence and political upheaval are not new concepts and that remain cyclical no matter when and where they occur.

The birth pangs of a nation are shown quite well and it was interesting watching how they present it here.

The problem tho is that in certain areas of life, things will probably never change.

None of the characters really outshine here but Wallace Beery as the title character does a nice job.

This is a pretty good film yet I’m still surprised that it could be considered to be among the very best of any year.

Bottom Line – Such a enjoyable biopic even if it isn’t close to the truth. Really enjoyed the way that they show the cyclical nature of violence and politics in a country trying to find its voice and how not much ever really changes.  Beery is ok in the lead role, but he doesn’t really do anything spectacular.  Another good film that probably doesn’t deserve to be on the list of Best Picture in any year. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – On 19 November 1933, during location filming in Mexico, Lee Tracy, originally cast as Johnny Sykes, got drunk and urinated from his hotel balcony onto a passing military parade. He was arrested, fired from the film and replaced by Stuart Erwin. Original director Howard Hawks was also fired for refusing to testify against Tracy, and replaced by Jack Conway. However, in his autobiography, Charles G. Clarke, the cinematographer on the picture, said that he was standing outside the hotel during the parade and the incident never happened. Tracy, he said, was standing on the balcony observing the parade when a Mexican in the street below made an obscene gesture at him. Tracy replied in kind, and the next day a local newspaper printed a story that said, in effect, Tracy had insulted Mexico, Mexicans in general and the Mexican flag in particular. The story caused an uproar in Mexico, and MGM decided to sacrifice Tracy in order to be allowed to continue filming there. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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