A Message to Garcia (1936)

77 or 85 mins | Drama | 10 April 1936

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HISTORY

This film was prepared by 20th Century Pictures, Inc. before their merger with Fox Film Corp. According to the NYT 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 7 May 1915. At the time of the film's released, General Calixto Garcia Iniguez was seventy-nine-years-old and retired, according to NYT . DV 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 HR news item, Roy Del Ruth was originally scheduled to direct the film, but he was moved to It Had to Happen (see above). In Sep 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 HR , 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. NYT stated that Beery, whose regular salary at M-G-M was $6,000 a week, was ... More Less

This film was prepared by 20th Century Pictures, Inc. before their merger with Fox Film Corp. According to the NYT 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 7 May 1915. At the time of the film's released, General Calixto Garcia Iniguez was seventy-nine-years-old and retired, according to NYT . DV 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 HR news item, Roy Del Ruth was originally scheduled to direct the film, but he was moved to It Had to Happen (see above). In Sep 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 HR , 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. NYT 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 HR 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 HR production charts, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a HR 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 (see above). 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). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Mar 1936.
---
Daily Variety
17 Dec 35
p. 3.
Daily Variety
2 Mar 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Apr 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
3 Mar 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Mar 36
p. 56.
New York Times
29 Mar 1936.
---
New York Times
10 Apr 36
p. 27.
New York Times
29 May 1938.
---
Variety
15 Apr 36
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Darryl F. Zanuck Twentieth Century Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Settings
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the essay A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard in The Philistine (Mar 1899) and the book How I Carried the Message to Garcia by Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan (San Francisco, 1922).
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 April 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 9 April 1936
Production Date:
18 November 1935--early January 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
10 April 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6334
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77 or 85
Length(in feet):
8,191
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1909
SYNOPSIS

After many Americans have died fighting the Spanish in Cuba in 1898, President William McKinley sends Lieutenant Rowan to find Cuban General Garcia and his men, who are surrounded by Spaniards, and give him a message concerning the place where U.S. forces will land. In Havana, the infamous spy Dr. Ivan Krug is assigned to locate the messenger. Krug and the Spanish patrol find Rowan in a cafe, and Sergeant Dory, an American expatriate, knocks Krug cold during the ensuing melee. He then takes the belt in which Rowan has hidden the message and drags the unconscious Rowan out. When Rowan revives, he threatens to kill Dory for looking at the message, but Dory offers, for one hundred gold pieces, to lead him to old man Maderas, whose son is on General Garcia's staff. At the Maderas plantation, Rowan and Dory witness the old man's death by a Spanish firing squad as they hide. Maderas' daughter Raphaelita arrives and offers to lead Rowan to Garcia, but warns that Dory is loyal only to the side that pays him the most. In the swamp, when Lita is shot in the leg, Dory removes the bullet, while Rowan embraces her. Lita sends Rowan off after they express their mutual love, and then tells Dory, whom Rowan has instructed to look after her, to follow and see that he gets through. When Dory catch up with Rowan and untruthfully tells him that Lita has died, Rowan decides to turn back, but Dory dissuades him and reveals that he himself deserted the Marines ten years earlier. Lita is captured as Dory leads Rowan to Garcia's ... +


After many Americans have died fighting the Spanish in Cuba in 1898, President William McKinley sends Lieutenant Rowan to find Cuban General Garcia and his men, who are surrounded by Spaniards, and give him a message concerning the place where U.S. forces will land. In Havana, the infamous spy Dr. Ivan Krug is assigned to locate the messenger. Krug and the Spanish patrol find Rowan in a cafe, and Sergeant Dory, an American expatriate, knocks Krug cold during the ensuing melee. He then takes the belt in which Rowan has hidden the message and drags the unconscious Rowan out. When Rowan revives, he threatens to kill Dory for looking at the message, but Dory offers, for one hundred gold pieces, to lead him to old man Maderas, whose son is on General Garcia's staff. At the Maderas plantation, Rowan and Dory witness the old man's death by a Spanish firing squad as they hide. Maderas' daughter Raphaelita arrives and offers to lead Rowan to Garcia, but warns that Dory is loyal only to the side that pays him the most. In the swamp, when Lita is shot in the leg, Dory removes the bullet, while Rowan embraces her. Lita sends Rowan off after they express their mutual love, and then tells Dory, whom Rowan has instructed to look after her, to follow and see that he gets through. When Dory catch up with Rowan and untruthfully tells him that Lita has died, Rowan decides to turn back, but Dory dissuades him and reveals that he himself deserted the Marines ten years earlier. Lita is captured as Dory leads Rowan to Garcia's headquarters. Inside, Rowan finds Krug instead of the general, whose troops have left, and although he is tortured, Rowan does not reveal that the message is hidden in the barrel of his gun, a hiding place suggested by Dory. Meanwhile, Dory is captured by Garcia's men and is about to be shot, when an English tinware salesman, who met Dory, Rowan and Lita in the swamp, convinces Garcia that Dory's story is true. Garcia's men storm the headquarters just as Krug finds the message, and a badly wounded Dory shoots him. He dies in Rowan's arms, Garcia gets the message, and Rowan and Lita are reunited. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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