Guadalajara en verano [Guadalajara in Summertime]

(Prods. Bueno, 1964) Prod: José Luis Bueno; Dir: Julio Bracho; Scr: Adolfo Torres Portillo; Photo: Alex Phillips; Music: Manuel Esperón; Assoc Prod: Y. Xavier Torres L. de Guevara; Prod Chief: Alberto A. Ferrer; Asst Dir: Julio Cahero; Film Ed: Jorge Bustos; Art Dir: José Rodríguez Granada; Makeup: Sara Mateos; Sound: Jesús González Gancy; Choreog: Cuca García Brambila; EASTMANCOLOR

CAST: Elizabeth Campbell (Peggy), Xavier Loyá (Javier), Claudio Brook (Prof. Fernando Luna), Alicia Bonet (Lourdes), Patty Hobbs (Susan Woodbridge), David Reynoso (Pepe), Lynn Karol (Monica Foster), Enrique Rocha (Juan), Claudia Nicol (Claudia), Dean Reed (Robert Douglas), María del Carmen Rodríguez Morquecho "Almendrita" (Laura), Fernando Soto "Mantequilla" ("Chinto" (Jacinto)), Andrea Palma (doña Josefina Rosas), Emma Roldán (dóna Lucrecia), Lola Casanova (singer), Enrique Díaz Indiano (priest)

NOTES: this is a mildly entertaining romance with heavy doses of travelogue-type footage of Guadalajara and other locations in the state of Jalisco (such as Lake Chapala). Producer José Luis Bueno later made two other, similar, films: Cuernavaca en primavera (Cuernavaca in Springtime) and Los angeles de Puebla (The Angels of Puebla). All three features had multiple plot-lines and a lot of cinematic sightseeing.

Despite the ensemble cast, top-billed Elizabeth Campbell is given a great deal of attention (even the movie's poster features a full-length image of her in a bikini). While some of the foreign performers seem to be dubbed, it's very difficult to say if Campbell was or not. She seems to be doing her own dialogue, and very well indeed. Campbell is showcased in a variety of low-cut dresses and a revealing red and white bikini, and her portion of the "plot" is slightly more involved than some of the others.

The rest of the cast is satisfactory. Among the trivia notes: Claudio Brook appears with his future wife, Alicia Bonet, and Andrea Palma is the sister of director Julio Bracho. Dean Reed, who had a sporadic career in Hollywood and international cinema as a singer and actor, later developed leftist political views and spent the rest of his career working in Socialist countries (Dean Reed, American Rebel is a documentary about his life).

Guadalajara en verano follows the adventures of a group of visitors to that city: Peggy, Susan, and Robert are American students attending the summer school there; Claudia is a French architecture student; Monica is a divorcee who is writing an article for the "Los Angeles World." This group meets up with Professor Fernando Luna (who pairs off with Monica), charro Pepe (who captivates Peggy, since she loves the charros in Mexican movies!), rich playboy Javier (who has a stormy relationship with Claudia), Pepe's sister Lourdes (teamed up romantically with Robert). Also in the mix are acting student Juan (brother of Pepe and Lourdes, he loses Peggy to his more macho brother), Lourdes' younger sister Laura, hansom cabbie Chinto, and elderly landladies doña Josefina and doña Lucrecia.

At the end of the summer, Fernando proposes to Monica, Robert proposes to Lourdes, and Pepe proposes to Peggy (although he apparently agrees to go back to Oregon with her, rather than staying in Mexico). The romance between Javier and Claudia is left unresolved. The end of the film reverses the opening, as the principals depart from Guadalajara via bus, train, and airplane.

Guadalajara en verano isn't a very deep or serious film; all of the protagonists (except Chinto and the two old ladies) are upper middle class or above. Pepe the charro is actually a rich young man who is dedicated to preserving this tradition, rather than someone who works for a living. Claudia asks Javier why he doesn't "study" (he says he's almost qualified to be a pilot), but not why he doesn't work (he's obviously rich: Peggy, jealous of Pepe's attentions to Claudia, goes with Javier to his house in Chapala, a mansion with a huge indoor swimming pool). Most of the relationships are reasonably innocent and decorous: early in the film, Juan tries to kiss Peggy, but she stops him. Later, when Peggy goes off with the womanizer Javier (despite Lourdes' warning that "he's alone in his house"), all of the other couples "coincidentally" show up to protect her virtue. Only Javier is portrayed as having somewhat less than honest intentions (in one scene, a priest criticizes his playboy morals), but even he reforms by the conclusion and proposes marriage to Claudia.

There are plenty of shots of Guadalajara's streets, parks, museums, fountains, etcetera, as well as some "folkloric" musical interludes featuring a child's chorus, a brass band, mariachis, dancers, and singer Lola Casanova. Professor Luna explains that slavery was abolished in Mexico in the early 19th century ("50 years before Lincoln?" Monica asks), and criticizes gringos who only know their own nation's history and are ignorant of great liberators like Hidalgo, Bolivar, Morelos, and so on. "Well that's what the summer school is for," Monica retorts. There is also a rather bizarre scene in which Juan does the "To be or not to be" soliloquy from "Hamlet" during a rehearsal for the play, and Dean Reed later sings "Don't Tell Him No" (to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In") as the young people do the twist on the beach.

Overall, Guadalajara en verano is a glossy piece of promotional froth, but it does feature some spectacular views of Elizabeth Campbell, and also contains some interesting commentary on Mexican images of estadounidenses (U.S. citizens).

Posted 25 June 1999 by

Vid cap added 12 Feb 2001.

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