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In Praise Of Juano Hernandez


Poinciana
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I admire this wonderful actor so much. Every time I see Ransom or The Trial I am riveted by Juano's performances. Such dignity he brought to the screen.

Apparently he was the son of a Portuguese seaman and a Brazilian woman. After both parents died, young Juano was forced to sing in the streets for his supper.

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I've been wanting TCM to salute Juano Hernandez with a primetime festival of his films for a very long time. He's a fantastic actor, and his performances in Intruder in the Dust, Stars in My Crown, Trial, Ransom, and others shows he was a force on-screen. Unfortunately, he didn't get the breaks that later went the way of Sidney Poitier. Hernandez could have had a distinguished career as a character actor.

 

BTW, I can imagine Juano in some of the roles Spencer Tracy had (skin color aside). I always felt they had a similar style of acting. They were natural, and had a distinguished presence on-screen.

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I would also like to see more of his films on TCM and I'm proud of his accomplishment in being one of the first Puerto Ricans to grace the screen. Juano had it more difficult than Jose Ferrer and Rita Moreno because of his skin color but he surpassed this adversity giving strong performances.

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I would totally love a primetime (or any time) dedication to Juano Hernandez---I agree with all the sentiments expressed here, he really rocked!!! So many great flicks, a number of them with Glenn Ford. His role as the judge in TRIAL is simply magnificent, but he's great in anything I've seen him in.

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Hi there Poinciana: "Apparently he was the son of a Portuguese seaman and a Brazilian woman..."

 

Juano's dad was Puerto Rican.

 

According to Mongo:

"The screen's first 'new style' black screen actor was born Huano G. Hernandez July 19, 1896 (some sources indicate 1901) in the capital of Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican fisherman and a Brazilian mother..."

 

Metsfan: "Juano had it more difficult than Jose Ferrer and Rita Moreno because of his skin color but he surpassed this adversity giving strong performances."

 

You've said a mouthful. And when I look at today's Latinos like Eva Mendes or Jennifer Lopez or Desi Arnaz, I'd say the same (unfortunately) STILL applies when others like Rosario Dawson or Rosie Perez get a tad short-shrifted. (Psst! Yes I know Desi isn't from today, but you know what I mean). As a Puerto-Rican/African-American myself, I feel it. I've written a screenplay called "__________" (the title is too awesome & clever to reveal on this public forum until I can get a green light from some big studio muckety-muck) that takes place in modern-day Puerto Rico and I would love Rosario Dawson to play the lead...just to give a spotlight to the darker skinned Latino sisters and brothers out there.

 

Sweetsmellofsuccess: "Unfortunately, he didn't get the breaks that later went the way of Sidney Poitier. Hernandez could have had a distinguished career as a character actor."

 

He wasn't as young and as attractive as Poitier was when he started. That could explain why he didn't get those breaks. As for Harry Belafonte...he was TOO good looking and too threatening to have some midwestern wives fantasizing and drooling over him.

 

"BTW, I can imagine Juano in some of the roles Spencer Tracy had (skin color aside). I always felt they had a similar style of acting. They were natural, and had a distinguished presence on-screen."

 

I wholeheartedly agree with you. What an honorable comparison 'cuz Tracy was considered one of the greats by his own peers and by fans alike.

 

Hey, if any big studio muckety-mucks are reading and writing on our beloved TCM MessageBoard, get in contact with me at this e-mail address: *******@****.com. Boy have I got a script for you. Thanks.

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Unfortunately typecasting will always exist and I understand what you say. It's sad that there's still some racism on in the island which is idiotic. I remember reading about Roberto Clemente's early years when he had a white girlfriend and her family did not accept him. Anyway, just keep embracing both cultures and stay strong.

 

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I would love to see this film someday.

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THE BREAKING POINT is a great film, much better than TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, and Juano Hernandez is outstanding. Warners is apparently including the trailer on a forthcoming DVD so perhaps the feature itself isn't far behind. My print is from the 1960's and I may also have a video from the days when Cinemax used to run the post-1949 Warner pictures.

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