El Compadre Mendoza (1934)
Director: Juan Bastillo Oro, Fernando de Fuentes
Starring: Alfredo del Diestro (Rosalío Mendoza), Antonio R. Frausto (Gen. Felipe Nieto), Emma Roldán (María, the mute), Pepe del Río (Felipe Mendoza), Ricardo Carti (Ventura Mendoza), Joaquín Busquets(Col. Bernáldez), César Rendón, Carlos López, Chel López, Carmen Guerrero (Dolores 'Lolita' Garcia Mendoza), Luis G. Barreiro (Atenógenes), José Ignacio Rocha (Jerónimo, the servant), Abraham Galán (Col. Martínez), José Eduardo Pérez (Mendoza's other brother), Alfonso Sánchez Tello (El Gordo), Miguel M. Delgado, Max Langler.
a wealthy land owner survives the revolution by playing
friends to both governmental and Zapata forces
During the time of the Mexican Revolution, Rosalio Mendoza (Del Diestro) survives the perilous times by playing a dangerous game: being friends with the forces of Zapata, while also currying the favor with the governmental forces of General Huerta. He plays the part of host extremely well, acting as if the leaders of both sides were his best compadres. He appears as a jovial, hard drinking padrone who does favors for his influential buddies.
It takes some skill for Rosalio to negotiate between the two warring forces. But even with his great skills Rosalio narrowly avoids being hung by a Zapata leader. The man who saves him, Zapata leader Felipe, becomes Rosalio's best friend for whom Rosalio names his newly born son.
It's a dangerous game and Rosalio receives a great setback when the Zapatistas burn his crop being transported on the train. This leaves the usually wealthy Rosalio hard up for money.
Will Rosalio be able to continue being a friend to both the governmental and the Zapata forces now that he is facing economic hard times? Or will he have to sacrifice one party for the other?
Good performance by Del Diestro as the padrone who laughs and parties his way between the two conflicting forces. Another good performance by Luis G. Barreiro who provides some comic relief as Rosalio's poor picked-on assistant, Atenógeneshe.
The story has similarities to the actual life of Zapata. The story also that reminds me somewhat of John Ford's The Informer.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
See Viva Zapata (1952).
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