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A Message to Garcia

A Message to Garcia(1936)

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This film was prepared by 20th Century Pictures, Inc. before their merger with Fox Film Corp. According to the New York Times review, the film diverged from historical fact in the following instances: the message, really oral, was the statement by President McKinley that the U.S. was declaring war on Spain and was eager for General Garcia's cooperation; Rowan was also sent to collect information about Spanish manpower and armaments; he made the trip safely and saw no Spaniards; the characters of Dory, Lita, Krug and the tinware saleman were fictional. Author Elbert Hubbard died on the S.S. Lusitania when it was sunk by Germany on May 7, 1915. At the time of the film's released, General Calixto Garcia Iniguez was seventy-nine-years-old and retired, according to New York Times. Daily Variety reported that because the resemblance to Garcia of actor Enrique Acosta was so striking, an extra, who was a veteran of the Cuban insurrection, thought that the general had risen to lead his troops again.
       According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Roy Del Ruth was originally scheduled to direct the film, but he was moved to It Had to Happen. In September 1935, it was reported that John Ford would direct this film upon his return from a vacation in Florida, before George Marshall was given the assignment. According to Hollywood Reporter, Wallace Beery was loaned by M-G-M originally to be in Twentieth Century-Fox's Professional Soldier (see below), but he was cast in this film instead. New York Times stated that Beery, whose regular salary at M-G-M was $6,000 a week, was paid $75,000 for his work in the film. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Simone Simon was origianlly cast as the female lead before she was replaced by Rita Cansino (later known as Rita Hayworth) because of Cansino's proficiency in both English and Spanish. She ultimately was replaced by Barbara Stanwyck. Actors from Twentieth Century-Fox's Spanish stock company appeared in the film. William Stelling, Helen MacKellar, Si Jenks and Pat Flaherty were listed as cast members in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, while the film was in production, the Spanish minister in Washington "intimated" to Twentieth Century-Fox that Spain would ban all of their films if this film was "in the least bit considered offensive to Spanish-speaking people." The Spanish government earlier had issued a similar warning to Paramount regarding the film The Devil Is a Woman. No further information has been located concerning the threat to Twentieth Century-Fox. An earlier film with the same title, which was also based on Hubbard's essay, was produced by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1916, directed by Richard Ridgely and starred Robert Conness and Mabel Trunnelle (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2913).