- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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JUAREZ: Paul Muni Is Great, Picture Is Not
- Doc Long
Speaking in general terms, Paul Muni is the best actor I have ever seen perform on film. Nothing is beyond his depth, no character beyond his ability to portray, no emotion outside his ability to exhibit on screen. He takes his part and washes himself with the role-much like Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro aspired to accomplish later in the 20th century. But in "Juarez" it is the modified screenplay that fails to hold up. Not anyone's fault- except for the money handlers who wanted to take full advantage of Muni's great appeal to sell more tickets- the studio pushed the roles of the principals in different directions. In short, they took the role of Mexican liberator Benito Juarez and over-inflated Muni's screen time while under-inflating the presence of the installed Emperor Of Mexico Maximilian- played by beloved British matinee idol Brian Aherne- and consequently Bette Davis -who is Maximilian's wife Carlotta. Because of the failure to develop alternate perspectives concerning how Maximilian was important to Mexican land owners and business interests abroad along with the overriding question of why did a man who was the grandson of the King of Bavaria take such a position is not explored adequately, the film stalls in pace and entertainment. Aside from Muni and the Oscar nominated Aherne, Claude Rains takes a memorable turn as the conniving Napoleon III and is brilliant as usual. Veterans Louis Calhern, Donald Crisp, Gilbert Roland and Harry Davenport are outstanding as well as up and comer John Garfield. Do note the superb wizardry displayed by Gale Sondergaard in her depiction of the last Empress of France, the strong-willed wife of Napoleon III. The unfortunate Mrs. Herbert Biberman- in real life -would see her film career come to a premature 20 year pause in 1949 due to her unwavering support for her husband during the days of the Hollywood blacklist.
Muni Was Not The Only Star
Think the film belonged to Aherne,less so Muni.Davis good,as was Claude,esp atop the play pony.Gilbert Roland also deserves credit.
the Gold Chariot
- Loura Bingham
I am a docent at a Carriage Museum iin Florida, and the carriage used in the film is in our museum, completely restored to it's original glory! Come see it!
Do you know what Cinco de Mayo is all about?
- Bob Curmudgeon
T'wasn't till the late '90s I was told by a bartendress in a Las Vegas restuarant owned by Folks from Michoacan, that it was not a celebration in Mexico. 9/16 is Mexican Independence Day. As such, I'm positing it is a "Holiday" that was 'created' by a beer distributor in New Mexican, where I first experienced it back in the late '60s, as a means to stimulate sales between St. Paddy's Day and the Fourth of July! Be that as it may, the movie Juarez is a classic example of actors and actresses transitioning into the Talkies with carryover of acting skills using dramatic gestures and expressions needed in silent movies....IMHO.... as well as a history lesson about an interfacing between Mexico and the US....albeit way back then!Either way, ya can't help but to enjoy!
- Mark Sutch
The Great Paul Muni
- David Atkins
Paul Muni was as great a star as existed in the 30's: Chain Gang, Scarface, Zola, Pasteur, The Good Earth, and this film Juarez.Warners gave Muni a wide berth due to his great performances which brought WB worldwide acclaim. Difficult, demanding andtalented Mr. Muni was WB's greatest male star. Juarez a true story casts Paul Muni as the Mexican who secured Independence. Brian Ahearne is fine and Bette Davis is brilliant in a frankly supporting role. This is a great movie and I thank TCM for showing it uncut.After Paul Muni left WB his star faded. He did have another great artistic success in "The Last Angry Man" decades later at Columbia
- James Higgins
A fine film, but it lacks that something extra to make it great. It is notable for the fact that Bette davis' character is rather subdued, something she is not known for. It's also uncommon to have other stars outshine her - Paul Muni as always is terrific, John Garfield and Claude Rains are great and Brian Aherne turns in the best performance of them all. It starts out better than it finishes. Great production values.
Juarez: A Convincing Historical Film Biography
- Gerald Robbins
There is no doubt that this film is one of the few historical films that is more closely based on fact, and therefore, offers a more accurate picture of a historical period than other similar films. The performances of Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains, are magnificent as are the outstanding supporting performances of John Garfield, Donald Crisp, Harry Davenport, Gilbert Roland and Joseph Calleia. The fact that Muni himself was willing to research deeply (as he had in his previous biographical films about Pasteur and Zola) into Juarez's historical background by not only perusing all the documents tracing his life and that period of Mexican and French history, but also going to Mexico and interviewing old soldiers who were in Juarez's army, not only substantiates the brilliant sincerity and integrity of his performance, but also that of all the other primary leads, especially Aherne, Davis, and Rains. An outstanding historical biography... One other comment: It is incomprehensible to me, literally, that upon reading some of the other TCM user reviews included herewith, that the surname of the character, Empress Carlotta von Habsburg could be listed as Mrs. Juarez by two of the user reviewers of this film. One wonders, if some of us, as an audience are literate enough to understand or comprehend character names, relations, and name listings in films or the plots of the films we are watching and eventually reviewing. Such inaccuracy and dare I say it, illiteracy is certainly something to wonder about and ponder!!
Bette Davis' & Claude Rains' 1st Film Together
Agreed, Mr. White, reviewer before me on your fine points. Since you took the words out of my sails about Juarez, I'll focus upon two of the actors: Bette Davis & Claude Rains. Reviewers tend to forget Juarez was their first film together. Davis as Empress, Rains as Napoleon. They'd go forward in their mostclassic film, Now, Voyager, as distraughtemotionally (Davis) & psychiatrist (Rains). Next, the only time they were married on screen in Mr. Skeffington, the 1st time they were co-leads. Last of their fabulous 4 films is Deception. As far as their acting off of each other goes, it is by far their very best. That is saying quite a bit since both actors were in the master class, in the best classics & to date are classic film royalty. Jaurez is an important politicalfilm that is very complex. Paul Muni takes the lead & runs with it all the way but now without one of the best pairs of actors along side of him.
Hollywood gets history right--largely
- Thomas White
JUAREZ is one of the better and more accurate historical films from the 1930's. Very well directed by William Dieterle, and extremely well acted by a large cast that includes Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Ahearne, Claude Rains, Gale Sondergaard, Donald Crisp and John Garfield, JUAREZ explores the tragic story of Maximilian (Ahearne) and Carlota (Davis), who become Emperor and Empress of Mexico after being duped by Napoleon III of France (Rains) who is anxious to hold onto French interests in that country and their eventual overthrow by the Democratic forces led by Benito Juarez (Muni). The film is complex and largely very historically accurate, with an intelligent screenplay co-written by John Huston. This is the second of two 'big' 1939 films directed by Dieterle (the other: HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME), and he shows a very sure hand in blending the various and disparate portions of the film into a very entertaining whole. I certainly recommend JUAREZ for its unusual plot and strong performances. Another plus is the fine score by Eric Wolfgang Korngold. Excellent film, in my opinion.
Carlota's rage, Bette Davis & Claude Rains
By now, I've seen enough Bette Davis movies to know that whenever she and Claude Rains have scenes together, no matter in which movie, those scenes are bound to be among the best in the show. Ithink that applies here, although I had to wait for the end to see them in the best scene. It comes after Napoleon (Rains) withdraws the French troops from Mexico. Benito Juarez's wife, Carlota (Davis), who's been so supportive of his liberation of Mexico movement, becomes so outraged that she travels to France to have it out with Napoleon (Rains). When she does, Carlota has a nervous breakdown. What great acting by two of the best in show business. Davis from the US and Rains from the UK. I could watch them acting together many times and still find each moment fascinating. I love great acting.
A True Enough Story of Mexico's Lincoln
Right on the heels of "Dark Victory," Bette Davis took on the role of Carlota Juarez, the wife of Benito (Paul Muni), Mexico's liberator. This film is the 2nd of 4 Davis made in 1939. "Juarez" is a completely different type of film. It's set in Mexico & deals with the culture's difference. Davis is playing the supportive wife who encourages her man to overcome an abundance of political obstacles. Her costumes are royal & ethnic. The film is long & historically detailed. I could see that a lot of background work had been done before this project began. I am amazed that Davis had the energy & intellect to give to this film following "Dark Victory," a deeply emotional film.
Muni, Davis & Mexican Liberation
Whether or not "Juarez" is absolutely historically accurate isn't significant to me. I've learned there aren't many absolutes in this life. The performances that stand out are Paul Muni's, playing the title role, and Bette Davis', playing Carlota Juarez, Benito's (Muni's) wife. The scene where they enter into Mexico believing they are going to be cheered with welcome and find near silence or jeers is one of the moments that sticks in my mind. Davis playing the super supportive woman behind the man is awesome. I'll want to watch this film again.
- Martha De Leon
This movie is a definite watch. It's interesting to see Hollywood take Mexican History on as a subject for film. Bette Davis is amazing as always and Paul Muni is also one of our great actors.
Praise for TCM, Bette Davis & Paul Muni
I want to recommend this film to viewers of TCM and thank the programmers for scheduling to broadcast it this week (Friday, the 24th of July 2009). The subject matter is about Mexico's struggle for freedom. Paul Muni plays Benito Juarez and Bette Davis his wife, Carlota. This is a full feature film that is not too far of course from being historically accurate. The acting is superb. Miss Davis makes a very elegant Carlota Juarez.
Glad Juarez is Programmed This Month
Paul Muni and Bette Davis are outstanding as Benito and Carlotta Juarez. I liked them much earlier in "Bordertown" and am glad to see them paired together in this film. It is always a wonder when Bette Davis transforms herself into a character that is whole cultures away from her true identity. No one ever got that better, IMHO.
Benito & Carlotta Juarez, Napoleon III
The leading cast is stellar with Paul Muin playing the title role of Mexico's Benito Jaurez, Bette Davis playing his influential wife, Carlotta & Claude Rains as Napoleon III. Tricked by Napoleon into governing where he's not welcomed, Juarez has no other choice but to take a bold stand for Mexicans who are about to be overrun by Napoleon. The combination of Muci, Davis & Rains means great acting is going on. As it turns out, their performances have created a classic.
Bette Davis & Paul Muni Reunite
After successfully appearing together in"Bordertown," Davis & Muni reunite to become Benito & Carlotta Juarez in a semi-historical drama. Perhaps know best for a single outtake when Davis has a costume malfunction, getting her lacey costume caught on a button as she embraces a man begging, "Dear God help me" as scripted. But then cracks up the whole set after she's stuck to his button, saying, "dear God help me, I'm stuck on his button," without missing a beat. The crew looses it as Davis' smiling reaction is so funny. Must've been the comic relief they needed while filming this serious heavy drama.
Captivating, Historic Tale
If you are a Bette Davis fan then this costume drama is a must see. There is artistic license with the story, but some quality was done for this film. For example, La Paloma, the dove, was in fact a favorite song of this tragic couple. Napoleon III and Joephine are seen as the manipulative individuals they actually were. Both are excellant performances. Carolota is one of the most tragic women of the 19th century. She did love her unfaithful husband. Thematically pride enters the picture and hubris becomes a major issue. Paul Muni's portral is effective if a bit stilted look at Juarez. The sets and costumes are well worth viewing. Unfortunately, most identify with the European aggressors as the pawns they really were.
- lee geiger
Interesting, but not as good as it could have been. Music is wonderful, as is Ahern.
This might make a good DVD
- Jeffrey Kenison
I believe this could make a good DVD in the future. After all, it stars some of my favorite actors: Paul Muni, Claude Rains, Donald Crisp, etc.
- paul neven
a great movie with great stars paul muni and bette davis and claude rains are all great in this movie
Huston, Davis and "Juarez"
The definitive portrait of Mexican hero and president Benito Juarez, written with love and care by John Huston who lived in Mexico on and off for many years and also directed several films there. He also co-wrote "Jezebel" and directed Bette Davis in "In This Our Life." Paul Muni, Bette Davis and Brian Aherne in the three pivotal roles are superbly cast against this background of international diplomacy. One of the best historical drama ever made by Hollywood, far better in authenticity and quality than other more popular films. Should be required viewing by American and Mexican historians, as well as film students.
Enjoyable BW film
- HArry Booth
A most enjoyable B/W late thirties film.Visually most entertaining film with credible dialogue and script thatcame out of the late thirties Hollywood. The music score by the greatErich Wolfgang Korngold greatly contributes to its enjoyment . Mr JohnHuston's direction of Paul Muni, Bette Davies, Claude Rains, Brian Aherneetc., demonstrates the great lengths that he has taken to portray theintegrity of a credible story. It will be nice to see this film on DVD ifit is ever transferred.
One of the best pre-war films
- milton s miltiadou
This is one of the best researched films for the costumes and settings. Austere but believable locations with magnificent theatrical representation and with real actors despite Mr Huston's concerned with Paul Muni's added dialogue. It is a pity that this film has not made it to DVD - let's hope someone listens