The Legacy of Mexican Cinema in Beverly Hills

Ramon Novarro in La Virgen que forjo una patria (1942)Press Release:

Beverly Hills, CA – The evolution of Mexican cinema, the important role of Mexican filmmakers working in Hollywood and the influence of international filmmakers working in Mexico all will be explored in a new exhibition that will open to the public in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Fourth Floor Gallery on Friday, October 13. In a first for an Academy exhibition, all of the explanatory text and captions will be provided in both English and Spanish. “Made in Mexico: The Legacy of Mexican Cinema” has been produced in association with the Cervantes Center of Arts & Letters. Admission to the exhibition will be free.

The Mexican film industry has existed for more than 100 years. The country's public first experienced film projection in 1896, when representatives of the Lumière company traveled from France to showcase their motion pictures and to document both daily life and the activities of President Porfirio Díaz. Posters, lobby cards, photographs, magazines, documents, costumes, video clips and other artifacts will illuminate important milestones and successes from that day to the present, including the six Mexican films that have earned Oscar® nominations in the Foreign Language Film category (three of them consecutively in 1960, '61 and '62).

The exhibition will encompass the “Golden Age” of Mexican cinema in the 1940s, the organization of the Concurso de cine experimental film competitions and the founding of the cinema department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the 1960s, the impact of fiscal challenges faced in the 1980s, as well as the current work of directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Carlos Carrera.

Among the unique items on display will be numerous images of popular Latin actors such as Dolores Del Río, Lupe Vélez, Ramón Novarro, Gilbert Roland and Lupita Tovar; original posters for Santa, the first successful Mexican sound feature (which starred Tovar), and for films starring Mario Moreno, better known as “Cantinflas”; props from films by director Guillermo del Toro, loaned by del Toro; and a suitcase of vintage camera lenses used by Academy Award®-nominated Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (The Night of the Iguana, 1964), including one given to him by John Huston. Also included will be costume design sketches for characters portrayed by Del Río and Novarro, photographs and documents related to the invention and use of the Rodríguez Sound System (which was used in the production of Santa in 1931), a letter from Ronald Reagan regarding the Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA) and several items related to the career of two-time Oscar nominee Luis Buñuel, loaned by the filmmaker's son.

Viewing hours for “Made in Mexico” are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The exhibition will run through December 17. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, please call 310-247-3600.

Ramon Novarro photo: © Matias Bombal Collection.

The Legacy of Mexican Cinema in Beverly Hills © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

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7 Comments to The Legacy of Mexican Cinema in Beverly Hills

  1. Armando

    I'd never seen that Ramon Novarro picture before. I'd no idea that he had starred in a Mexican movie. I hope TCM shows it in the United States and Canada one of these days. Would love to become better acquainted with Mr. Novarro's film work.
    Mexican cinema had such a rich history-Maria Felix and Pedro Armendariz and Dolores del Rio (who was also a big Hollywood star) and so many others.

  2. Andre


    The film's producer was Agustín J. Fink. The source is my own Novarro bio.

    You might want to check with the Mexican Cinematheque. They may have some info on DVD availability. An online search should yield their contact info.

    Good luck!

  3. Paul Turner


    Thanks for responding to my inquiry about DVD “La Virgen.” My hopes for a DVD have been raised by a youtube posting of the trailer for this film. If you search the title, you will see it. However, my search for the producer has yet to yield any leads. Can you think of any sources?


  4. Andre


    I don't believe “La Virgen” is available on DVD.

  5. Paul Turner

    Greetings. Please advise me if there exists a DVD copy (Spanish with English subtitles) of Julio Bracho's 1942 film, “La Virgen que forjó una patria.” Thank you.

  6. Andre


    I know there's a Dolores del Rio biography that was published in Mexico a while back. I've skimmed through it, but I can't recall if I found it reliable or not.

    This may have been the one, I'm not sure:
    Dolores Del Rio: Mujer En El Volcan, Biografia (1999)
    by Paco Ignacio Taibo

  7. Alex

    I've been curious about Dolores Del Rio of late, but there seems to be very little about her life than the usual doing internet searches. Any suggestions?