Juarez (1939)

“Democracy! Government of the cattle, by the cattle, for the cattle!” – Emperor Louis Napoleon III

Number of Times Seen – 1 (10 Jan 2019)

Brief Synopsis – After the French dictator Napoleon III supports a puppet government in Mexico, the Mexican leader Benito Juarez starts an uprising in order to gain control of the people of Mexico.

My Take on it – I have always been a fan of historical dramas and this one caught me quite off guard.

I knew that there was a town known by the name Juarez, but I never knew that it was named for a ruler of Mexico.

They do a really nice job here showing the three very different viewpoints on the future of Mexico based on the three leaders vying for full control of the country at the time.

They manage to show us a clear picture of what each of these three men tried to do in order to keep control and rule the people of Mexico.

The story is told from a somewhat neutral perspective which helps because it’s good to see an attempt for an unbiased view of such events.

The cast is superbly chosen and Claude Rains, Paul Muni and Brian Aherne each do a nice job as the three leaders and they all feel very much like real politicians in the way they handle things.

Bette Davis has a pivotal role as Aherne’s wife who does all she can to stand by the side of her husband as things move along.

Aherne was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role here since he gives the most powerful and poignant performance of the trio of actors.

The story is told quite well but there are a few scenes that drag along a bit too much and probably could have been shortened slightly which would have made the story tighter.

Bottom Line – Interesting historical drama that does a nice job showing the three varying sides of this conflict from the perspective of those trying to hold on to their power. We get a clear idea of what each of these three men are trying to do and things are kept in a neutral perspective to try and be somewhat unbiased. The cast is superb with Rains, Muni and Aherne all doing wonderful jobs portraying these true to life figures.  Aherne was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance here which is the most powerful and poignant of the trio.  The story might be a a bit too long and there are a few scenes that seem to drag along. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to Brian Aherne, the film was to have been called ‘Phantom Crown’, after the novel by Bertita Harding which was one of the sources for the script. However Muni had a clause in his contract that permitted him to insist that the name of his character appear in the title. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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2 thoughts on “Juarez (1939)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1939 | MovieRob

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