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"The Fugitive" (1947) is based on several true stories...


FredCDobbs
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PART 1:

 

"The Fugitive" (1947) is based on several true stories...

 

I learned about this during a trip to Mexico in the 1980s. The events occurred during the Mexican revolution, 1910-1925 and even later.

 

Mexico is divided up in to several semi-autonomous states, much like the US, and within each state, the local government controls a lot of the political and legal situations in each state.

 

During the Mexican revolution that started around 1910, some of the revolutionary factions were against the Catholic church, while some were for it, and others didn't care either way.

 

Some local state revolutionary leaders and military police outlawed the church and killed local priests.

 

It took a few decades for this animosity to simmer down.

 

Filmed in Mexico by Gabriel Figueroa, in the style of La ?poca de Oro del Cine Mexicano

 

Based on this novel:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_and_the_Glory

 

The novel tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest in the state of Tabasco in Mexico during the 1930s, a time when the Mexican government, still effectively controlled by Plutarco El?as Calles, strove to suppress the Catholic Church.

 

-----------------------

 

The best way I can describe Gabriel Figueroa's photography style is to say that in addition to his artistic old-classic-painting style of 4:3 image composition, he was the "Ansel Adams" of motion picture film.

 

Meaning that Figueroa managed, somehow, to get the widest latitude of whites to blacks (the whitest whites and the blackest blacks in the same scene), while maintaining a wide range of light to dark grays, better than any other film cameraman in movie history.

 

Unfortunately, in order to fully appreciate Figueroa?s photography, one must see a first or second generation print of his films, and these are usually not available now.

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Part 2:

 

So many people in American audiences automatically assume that the Mexican government has always approved of the Catholic church, but that was not true in many Mexican states during the long revolutionary period.

 

This film probably would have been a much more well-known and much more appreciated among classic film buffs today, if it had openly stated and made it clear that it was about the revolutionary anti-church days in Mexico. That information should be told in modern introductions to this film.

 

But, back in 1947, that information being in the film itself would have caused a lot of trouble with Mexico, both for the Hollywood studios and American film distributors, and for American tourists and businessmen traveling to Mexico, so the film-makers had to keep this part of the story a secret, even covering it up to the extent of making a statement in the opening narration that this story is not about any place in particular.

 

As it is, without that important background information, the film doesn't make much sense, and the attempted allegory (involving a Judas character) doesn't make much sense either. The very last scene doesn't make much sense either. That is when a new priest comes to the little rural church to replace the one who was shot by the military firing squad. That new priest is Father Serra, played by Mel Mel Ferrer. Of course the implication is that Father Serra knows very well that he might be arrested and shot too.

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Based on this novel:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_and_the_Glory

 

The novel tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest in the state of Tabasco in Mexico during the 1930s, a time when the Mexican government, still effectively controlled by Plutarco Elías Calles, strove to suppress the Catholic Church.

 

I had never seen 'The Fugitive' before and I wasn't long into it before I thought it might have been based on a book I had read recently! The Power and the Glory it was. There is a movie that has not been released yet based on that particular time in Mexico called Cristiada. Here is the trailer....

 

 

 

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This movie might be based on a novel but the concept is not fictional. In 1916, a priest naned Miguel Pro was shot by the government when he refused to stop functioning as one in one of the provinces. He is considered a saint and martyr.

 

 

I'm going to have to catch {font:}{color:black}*The Fugitive.*{font} {font:Times New

 

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

 

 

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>This movie might be based on a novel but the concept is not fictional. In 1916, a priest naned Miguel Pro was shot by the government when he refused to stop functioning as one in one of the provinces. He is considered a saint and martyr.

 

I think jsom was quoting my post about The Fugitive script being based on a novel. But the novel was based on true facts of history.

 

The same thing happened with Jennifer Jones' movie, The Song of Bernadette, which was based on a novel that was based on a true story about the girl Bernadette.

 

Finally, with this "Cristiada" movie, the true story can be told and can be filmed in Mexico. Back in 1947 the subject was still very sensitive among Mexican officials and the full true story could not be told, yet.

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To jsom:

 

Fascinating! Thank you very much. Here are some other links I just found:

 

"Cristiada" (2011), imdb:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1566501/

 

Blog:

http://www.cristiadafilm.com/blog/

(click on the small + signs for more text and photos)

 

I'm not a Catholic, but when I learned about this story in the 1980s, I was fascinated, mainly because it is so unknown in the US today, and mostly unknown in Mexico too.

 

The US media has always been so Europe-centered, and it overlooks a lot of fascinating and frightening history from other places around the world, including places closer to us than Europe.

 

My learning about this started, just by chance, when I had to film an outdoor Catholic church service at a new church that was being made out of local stones from the northern Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, not far from Monterey, Mexico. The local priest had always worn his robe during indoor church services that I covered in the nearby city, but in the open air he was wearing a casual shirt and blue jeans. I asked him why he wasn't wearing his robe. He told me that it was illegal in Mexico for priests to wear robes during any kind of outdoor public church service. And then I began asking him a lot of other questions.

 

That led to my researching the story in history books when I got back home, and also "The Fugitive" just happened to be on old AMC when I returned, and that explained more to me about the situation.

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Yes Fred...I was quoting from your post. I do not see a quote button...does this forum have that function? Thank you for the great info about that time. I work with a Mexican American who told me the house he grew up in still had hiding places in the walls and crawl spaces to hide the children from the goverment army.

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>Yes Fred...I was quoting from your post. I do not see a quote button...does this forum have that function?

 

What I do to quote someone is copy and paste their quote, and then I place a right arrow to the left of their first line of text. That highlights their post in a white box. It's the right arrow that causes the white box to appear.

 

There was a 98 minute Cristero film made in Mexico in 1947, available now on DVD.

 

http://www.tower.com/los-cristeros-luis-aguilar-dvd/wapi/109109632

 

70 minutes of the film are on YouTube, but it's mostly talk without much action. The YouTube version is missing 28 minutes of the film:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn7WeBaTGjw

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180215/

 

This film has an alternate title of: Sucedi? en Jalisco (meaning, It Happened in the State of Jalisco):

 

Here are a couple of Cristero corridos on YouTube, an older one and a newer one, with historic photos:

 

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=jsom wrote:}{quote}Yes Fred...I was quoting from your post. I do not see a quote button...does this forum have that function?

 

 

Apparently, you are set to "Plain Text," which is good. Here's how to quote:

 

Click on the "Reply" button, on the reply you wish to quote.

 

Click on the "Rich Text" tab, on the upper left of the reply screen.

 

Click on the two little word balloons, on the right of the top bar. This will put the quoted reply on your screen.

 

Click on the "Plain Text" tab, edit the quote, if you like. Enter your reply below the quote.

 

When you are done, click "Post Message," on the bottom.

 

Why change from "Rich Text" to "Plain Text?"

If you don't, your reply will often appear as part of the quote.

 

Why keep set on "Plain Text" as your default?

Because if you don't, and go to edit an earlier post, it will appear in "Rich Text," but may turn to gibberish, especially if you want to edit in "Plain Text," which is easier.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=jsom wrote:}{quote}Yes Fred...I was quoting from your post. I do not see a quote button...does this forum have that function?

>

> Apparently, you are set to "Plain Text," which is good. Here's how to quote:

>

> Click on the "Reply" button, on the reply you wish to quote.

>

> Click on the "Rich Text" tab, on the upper left of the reply screen.

>

> Click on the two little word balloons, on the right of the top bar. This will put the quoted reply on your screen.

>

> Click on the "Plain Text" tab, edit the quote, if you like. Enter your reply below the quote.

>

> When you are done, click "Post Message," on the bottom.

>

> Why change from "Rich Text" to "Plain Text?"

> If you don't, your reply will often appear as part of the quote.

>

> Why keep set on "Plain Text" as your default?

> Because if you don't, and go to edit an earlier post, it will appear in "Rich Text," but may turn to gibberish, especially if you want to edit in "Plain Text," which is easier.

>

 

Like this? Thanks VX. :)

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So many people in American audiences automatically assume that the Mexican government has always approved of the Catholic church, but that was not true in many Mexican states during the long revolutionary period.

 

This film probably would have been a much more well-known and much more appreciated among classic film buffs today, if it had openly stated and made it clear that it was about the revolutionary anti-church days in Mexico. That information should be told in modern introductions to this film.

 

 

 

 

 

The Cristiada, or Cristero Revolt (1926-1929), was just one of the worst, and most recent, of a long history of clashes between the Catholic Church in México and anti-clerical governments. Ever since Independence from Spain was consummated in 1821, competing factions for governing the country were usually pro- or anti-Church. The Liberals, as they were then defined, in general were anti-clerical; the Church was seen (rightly) as a reactionary institution (the most powerful and largest landholder), that needed to be removed from being a player in the affairs of the nation. Often, though, it was just greed that motivated the Liberals' attempts to curb the church's wealth, power and influence; they coveted the vast landholdings it owned. Th Conservatives, on the other hand, saw no need to change the status quo. Throughout the first half of the 19th century, the church would grant loans to all governments (and there were many), no matter their political stripe.

 

 

Early proposals to curb the Church's power were not very readical. As the Church opposed any abridging of its traditional position, the Liberal proposals got more and more drastic. The rise to power of benito Juárez in the mid-1850s led to Las Leyes de la Reforma (The Laws of Reform-1857), codified into the Constitution of 1857, which drastically curtailed the Church's power and activities. This led to the bloody War of the Reform, which resulted in the liberals winning, and Juárez' Reform laws triumphant. After the hard fought victory, their position had hardened and the anti-clerical laws were immediately implemented in 1861. In México City and other urban areas, many churches, convents and monasteries were closed (they had all become property of the government), put to other uses or torn down. The clergy could not be seen in public in their habits (the Convento of Santa Mónica in Puebla, went undergrond and incognito for over 80 years). This led to the Conservatives, which included a strong Monarchist faction, to search for a European royal to be installed on the throne; hence, maximiliano de hapsburgo. With the power of the French military might, this was accomplished in 1862, and lasted until 1867, when they were defeated once and for all.

 

 

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the country was ruled by a dictator, Porfirio Díaz. he rrelaxed many of the anti-clerical provisions of the Reform Laws. While he brough a semblance of stability and prosperiy, he ruled with an iron hand, and favored foreigners over locals; the disparity in the distribution of wealth was quite glaring. many rural peasant and indigenous communities lost their lands to haciendas and foreign investors. The Mexican Revolution which broke out against Diaz in 1910, and resulted from all of these factors, lasted for nearly ten violent years. over one million people perished, another million fled the country, and only a strongman like Venustiano Carranza was able to overcome the various factions, and restore some order. he promulgated the Constitution of 1917, which among other tihings, reiterated Juarez' anticlerical provisions. It wasn't Calles' presidency in the 1920s, that they were strictly enforced; this led to the Cristero revolt, which last for three years and atrocities on both sides. After it was over there were embers of the movement; there was a flareup at the end of the 1930s, in the guise of the fascistic, Sinarquismo movement.

 

 

Since then, relations between the Church and state have pretty much normalized. Despite over 90% of the population being at least nominally Catholic, this belies two centuries of often violent struggle between the two institutions.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

LOS CRISTEROS (1946) is coming up on Gala TV next (channel 404 on Directv) at 2 pm Eastern Time, on 5-16-12.

 

Gala has recently begun showing Classic films from the Mexican golden age (?poca de oro del cine mexicano).

 

This film was originally titled: Sucedi? en Jalisco (It Happened in Jalisco).

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Apparently, there is a new movie on this period of Mexican history. A coworker told me that it recently played here in L.A. in conjuction with a Latin-American (?) film festival. However, my mother passed a few weeks ago, and hospitalized for a couple of weeks prior, so I lost touch with goings-on around here. My coworker says it should be having a limited release in June. Don't know what the title is however.

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  • 4 weeks later...

> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}It is titled "For Greater Glory" and previews make it look like a high quality film. Will be distributed in June.

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> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1566501/

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> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJYNcb0k0g8

I just saw this movie and am so shaken I can't begin to talk about it now except to say it is one great and powerful film that just might finally win Peter O'Toole the Oscar he so richly deserves. That beautiful smile is in my mind right now. I'll post something tomorrow when I can be coherent.

 

{font:Times New Roman}I knew from the trailers that this was based on a true story but not much else. The Romans of 2000 years ago facing Caligula’s lions was one thing but just the other side of our southern border less than 100 years ago was something else. Of course I knew there had been conflict between the Church and some of the civil governments but not to this extreme. All of this really “hit me where I live.”{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman}Andy Garcia got a number of respected actors involved in this film as well as some unknown –at least to most of us-who do themselves proud. James Horner scored it. The production values are first rate. {font}

{font:Times New Roman}

Garcia stars as a former military officer, now a wealthy soap maker, who is not very religious. His wife is and becomes alarmed at the closing of churches and persecution of the clergy, especially those who emigrated from other countries. One is an elderly priest, there from childhood, who aids the Cristeros and will not run when the government comes for him. A young boy who ridiculed him before coming to work for him witnesses his execution and joins the movement. The Vatican puts the Mexican Church under interdict which means there can be no Masses or other church functions performed until the matter is resolved. {font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}Cristeros leaders ask the officer to be their military commander. Still a Catholic in name only, he agrees because he believes in their right to be devout. His wife fears for his life but realizes this might be a necessary sacrifice to gain religious freedom and encourages him to take the job. It slowly changes him in ways that surprise him but not us and we love watching happen. {font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}The movie is rated R because of the violence but since it’s about a revolution it is necessary. Also shot and beaten people bleed. There is one incident involving a burning of a train that is disturbing because it’s for revenge and the leader is a priest/soldier but it shows that, in like most wars, both sides do cruel things. The question is asked if warfare in the name of faith-WWJD- is right but these people felt it was.{font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}At the end you see pictures of the real persons along with the actors who played them and learned what happened to them afterwards. Several photos of real Cristeros are shown while the credits roll. {font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}There is beautiful mountain scenery, mansions, and religious imagery as well as seeing the poverty some live in. The thing is that the revolt transcended economic class and station but was about faith. {font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}Again, the actors are wonderful. Ruben Blades-who looks Asian at times-plays the President of Mexico and Bruce Greenwood our ambassador who is revolted by him but tries to deal with the situation diplomatically. Peter O’Toole as a Becket-like priest is only on screen about 15 minutes but when he is you see nothing but him showing why his talent and that smile will never die. I stand by last night’s comment about an Oscar.{font}

 

 

{font:Times New Roman}My main gripe-there are only 2 AMC theaters in town showing it and both are in North Tampa about 15 miles or more away. There are two big complexes nearby me, one within three blocks, in this very Hispanic neighborhood that would not because they thought it wouldn’t sell. I was at the afternoon showing but plenty were lined up for the evening show. It was worth the inconvenice and the $8.75. If you don’t think it too sectarian for your sensibilities, find your theater and go. {font}

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Thanks for your fine film review. Sounds like a great movie to see.

 

It's interesting how stories like this were really big news 80 years ago, but they've long been forgotten.

 

John Ford's "The Fugitive" has been shown on TCM (and old AMC) many times, with no mention of what the story is actually about.

 

In fact, in the introduction to the 1947 film, the narrator said the film was about some un-named country, even though it was clearly about what had happened in Mexico just a few decades earlier. Plus, the '47 version had a lot of off-topic stuff in it, which only confused the story line.

 

Thanks for the report. :)

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  • 1 month later...

FredCDobbs wrote:

John Ford's "The Fugitive" has been shown on TCM (and old AMC) many times, with no mention of what the story is actually about.

 

Fred: Thanks for starting this thread and turning me onto the movie. I saw it this morning and was blown away by it. You believed you were in Mexico.

 

Henry Fonda, who certainly doesn't look Hispanic, was excellent as a priest who isn't very courageous at first but refines his and his faith at the end. This he wasn't perfect is what made him so believable. The soldier who keeps denying his beliefs is just fooling himself and this was my first look at Dolores del Rio when she was young-what a face. This was also another look at the talent of John Ford as I would never have pictured him directing such a film.

 

Today we know the anti-faith forces did not win in Mexico or Portugal where they tried the same thing and met with the same resistance. As with the end of the film somebody was always ready to step up and lead the fight. Because of this movie and *For Greater Glory* I have renewed respect for those south of us who have had to fight for what we still freely have here. For me it's only two blocks away.

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