The Children of Sanchez (1978)

R | 123 mins | Drama | 22 November 1978

Full page view
HISTORY

Onscreen, the role of "Consuelo Sanchez" is credited to actress Melanie Farrar but in press materials and in 20 Sep 1978 HR and Var reviews, the role is credited to Lupita Ferrer.
       End credits begin with a series of postscripts about the main characters. Title cards superimposed on the characters’ images contain the following written statements: “This was a new beginning. Today Jesus Sanchez is closer to his family than ever before”; “Roberto Sanchez works in a factory in Mexico City and supports his wife and son”; “Marta Sanchez lives in Acapulco with Balthazar and their ten children”; “Manuel Sanchez is married again and has a business of his own”; “Mariquita Sanchez is studying in New York preparing for a career in psychology”; “Consuelo Sanchez lives with her husband and two children in New Laredo. She has become a leader in the women’s movement in Mexico.” Also included in end credits is the following acknowledgment: “For Guadalupe, Cathy, Laurie, Alice, Paul.”
       A 6 Dec 1961 DV article announced that screenwriter Abby Mann intended to make his feature film debut as a producer with The Children of Sanchez the following year, in 1962. Mann, who had recently formed an independent studio, Mann Production Co., purchased the film rights to Oscar Lewis’s 1961 bestseller, The Children of Sanchez: Autobiography of a Mexican Family for over $100,000. As noted in DV, Lewis was a professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois and based his book “on the sociological development of a poor Mexican family,” the Sanchezes. Filming was scheduled to begin fall 1962 in Mexico with ... More Less

Onscreen, the role of "Consuelo Sanchez" is credited to actress Melanie Farrar but in press materials and in 20 Sep 1978 HR and Var reviews, the role is credited to Lupita Ferrer.
       End credits begin with a series of postscripts about the main characters. Title cards superimposed on the characters’ images contain the following written statements: “This was a new beginning. Today Jesus Sanchez is closer to his family than ever before”; “Roberto Sanchez works in a factory in Mexico City and supports his wife and son”; “Marta Sanchez lives in Acapulco with Balthazar and their ten children”; “Manuel Sanchez is married again and has a business of his own”; “Mariquita Sanchez is studying in New York preparing for a career in psychology”; “Consuelo Sanchez lives with her husband and two children in New Laredo. She has become a leader in the women’s movement in Mexico.” Also included in end credits is the following acknowledgment: “For Guadalupe, Cathy, Laurie, Alice, Paul.”
       A 6 Dec 1961 DV article announced that screenwriter Abby Mann intended to make his feature film debut as a producer with The Children of Sanchez the following year, in 1962. Mann, who had recently formed an independent studio, Mann Production Co., purchased the film rights to Oscar Lewis’s 1961 bestseller, The Children of Sanchez: Autobiography of a Mexican Family for over $100,000. As noted in DV, Lewis was a professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois and based his book “on the sociological development of a poor Mexican family,” the Sanchezes. Filming was scheduled to begin fall 1962 in Mexico with a $3,000,000 budget.
       However, a 14 Feb 1962 Var news item stated that literary motion picture agent, Elliot Kastner, left his position at the MCA talent agency to produce The Children of Sanchez for the Mann Production Co. While the 16 Mar 1962 Var announced that Vittorio De Sica had been hired to direct the picture, with a screenplay written by Mann, and a 2 Apr 1962 Publishers Weekly news item listed Carlo Ponti as a producer, neither De Sica, Ponti, Mann nor Kastner were credited onscreen. On 15 Aug 1962, HR reported that Embassy Pictures had acquired international distribution rights and principal photography was scheduled to begin Nov 1962 in Mexico with Sophia Loren in a starring role.
       Before production began, however, the Mexican Film Bureau denied permission to shoot on location in Mexico for fear that the Mexican people would not be shown in a favorable light, according to a 10 Oct 1962 Var article. Because of the delay, negotiation with actors George Chakiris and Rita Morena were put on hold. In addition, Loren and De Sica’s availability for the project became uncertain due to previously arranged commitments.
       Five years later, Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn, who had been cast as “Jesus Sanchez” in late 1962, as stated in a 12 Dec 1962 Var news item, was given permission by Mann to “attempt to work out some arrangement with the Mexican government whereby the pic[ture] could be made there without censorship,” according to a 12 Sep 1967 DV report. Promotional materials found in AMPAS library files stated that the film rights to the novel reverted back to Oscar Lewis after the filmmakers spent five years unsuccessfully trying to obtain permission to film in Mexico. In 1970, screenwriter-producer-director Hall Bartlett convinced Lewis to sell him the film rights and on 17 Nov 1971, Var and LAHExam announced that Bartlett, Quinn and famed Italian screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, had formed a partnership to make the film. Quinn, who stated that it was his “dream for 10 years” to star in the picture, met with Mexican President Luis Echeverría to secure permission. LAHExam reported that financing was in place, and Bartlett was announced as producer and director. A 22 Dec 1971 Var news brief stated that Quinn was in Mexico City to “finalize details” for filming in Mexico. Although he was convinced there would be “no problems with censorship,” a 20 May 1972 HR brief reported that the Mexican government would not lift the filming ban and Quinn left the project temporarily to executive produce Across 110th Street (1972, see entry).
       According to publicity materials, Zavattini travelled to the U.S. for the first time in 1974 to collaborate with Bartlett on the screenplay. During the nine-month writing process, Bartlett and Zavattini travelled to Mexico City to live with the Sanchez family.
       The 6 Oct 1976 HR and 3 Nov 1976 Var announced that Bartlett finalized a co-production deal with the National Film Bank of Mexico and the Corporación Nacional Cinematográfica (CONACINE). Filming was schedule to begin in Mexico on 24 Jan 1977 with interior filming done at Churubusco Studios. At that time, Dolores Del Rio, Patricia Spindola, Salvador Sanchez and Alex Phillips, Jr., were under consideration for parts; however Sanchez and Phillips, Jr., did not appear in the picture.
       Principal photography began 1 Feb 1977 in Mexico City according to a 28 Mar 1977 Box news brief, with Quinn’s son, Duncan Quinn making his feature film debut. Filming ended 21 Apr 1977 “three weeks early and $200,000 under budget,” as stated in a 22 Apr 1977 DV report. A 28 Sep 1977 Var article stated that the budget was set at $3,000,000, with U.S. bankers financing 75% of the budget and CONACINE funding the remaining amount. Reporting slightly different figures from the 22 Apr 1977 DV, Bartlett claimed to have finished the film in ten weeks of a fourteen-week schedule, $300,000 under budget. In a 18 Nov 1977 HR article, Bartlett stated that the film was shot at seventy-two locations.
       Children of Sanchez was made without a distribution deal because Bartlett insisted on adding specific contract clauses regarding the film’s marketing, advertising and distribution, according to Var. Bartlett’s conditions included “provision for personal appearance tours in U.S. key cities and major foreign markets, and Bartlett’s elected personal representative being able to check all contracts and, if necessary, negotiate changes in advertising campaigns.” U.S. distribution rights ultimately went to Lone Star Pictures International.
       A 6 Jul 1978 HR stated that The Children of Sanchez scheduled its world premiere on 8 Sep 1978 at the Deauville Film Festival in France. According to 9 Nov 1978 and 20 Nov 1978 HR news items, Sanchez opened in Los Angeles, CA, at the Mann Theatre in Westwood from 22-28 Nov 1978 to qualify for Academy Award consideration. A 29 Nov 1978 HR brief announced that the film “has broken the house record,” grossing $24,000 in five days.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1961.
---
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1967.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1968.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1977.
---
Daily Variety
22 Apr 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 1962.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1977
p. 1, 29.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 1978
p. 3, 22.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 1978.
---
LAHExam
17 Nov 1971.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1978
p. 1, 17.
Publishers Weekly
2 Apr 1962.
---
Variety
14 Feb 1962.
---
Variety
16 Mar 1962.
---
Variety
10 Oct 1962
p. 3, 14.
Variety
12 Dec 1962.
---
Variety
17 Nov 1971.
---
Variety
22 Dec 1971.
---
Variety
3 Nov 1976.
---
Variety
28 Sep 1977.
---
Variety
20 Sep 1978
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Carmel Enterprises Presents
A Hall Bartlett Film
Produced in association with Conacine
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
Head grip
Head elec
Insert photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Negative supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Head prop man
Set and const
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus and lyrics
Mus mixer
Flugelhorn
Reeds
Trumpet
Cello
Vocalist
Vocalist
SOUND
Mike man
Asst mike man
Prod sd/Sd rec
Supv sd ed
Sd eff mixer
Re-rec in stereo at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt and titles
Opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup asst
Hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Creative consultant
Creative consultant
Asst to prod
Prod chief
Asst prod chief
Scr supv/Continuity
Post prod by
Chief projectionist
Exec secy
Accounting head
Casting
Casting
Actor's delegate
Spec asst to Mr. Bartlett
Prod asst
Prod asst
Generator op
Generator op
Transportation gaffer
Coord secy
SOURCES
LITERARY
Adapted from the book The Children of Sánchez, Autobiography of a Mexican Family by Oscar Lewis (New York, 1961).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 November 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 November 1978
Production Date:
1 February--21 April 1977 in Mexico City
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™
Color
Color by DELUXE®
Lenses
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
123
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1968 Mexico, the Sanchez family makes an Easter Pilgrimage to Mexico City to the town of Puebla. In church, the eldest daughter, Consuelo Sanchez, prays to the Virgin Mary to keep her family together and deliver them from poverty. Consuelo remembers when her mother was alive, and the family was happy, but after the matriarch’s death, their father, Jesus Sanchez, became cold and distant. Fifteen years later, Jesus is a food buyer for a local restaurant, struggling to support his children and grandchildren. Jesus asks his boss, Señor Gomez for a raise, but Gomez refuses. Jesus walks home to the slums of Mexico City, where he and his extended family live in a one-room apartment. At dinner, the family watches the news about the upcoming election. Consuelo urges Jesus to vote because change is needed in Mexico, but Jesus believes it is useless to vote and orders Consuelo to know her pace and remain silent. Although Chata, the housekeeper, tells Consuelo that a woman’s job is to bear children, Consuelo refuses to be a mother because she values her independence. In the corner, pregnant Paula suffers contractions as her sister, Delila, takes care of her. Consuelo is annoyed when Jesus invites Delila to stay for dinner. Jesus sends Consuelo to find her brother Manuel, who is gambling at a local bar. When Crispin, the father of Marta Sanchez’s children, whistles for her to come outside, Jesus forbids his daughter from seeing him and Marta threatens suicide. Manuel comes home and Jesus berates his son for being a terrible husband and father. Jesus invites Delila ... +


In 1968 Mexico, the Sanchez family makes an Easter Pilgrimage to Mexico City to the town of Puebla. In church, the eldest daughter, Consuelo Sanchez, prays to the Virgin Mary to keep her family together and deliver them from poverty. Consuelo remembers when her mother was alive, and the family was happy, but after the matriarch’s death, their father, Jesus Sanchez, became cold and distant. Fifteen years later, Jesus is a food buyer for a local restaurant, struggling to support his children and grandchildren. Jesus asks his boss, Señor Gomez for a raise, but Gomez refuses. Jesus walks home to the slums of Mexico City, where he and his extended family live in a one-room apartment. At dinner, the family watches the news about the upcoming election. Consuelo urges Jesus to vote because change is needed in Mexico, but Jesus believes it is useless to vote and orders Consuelo to know her pace and remain silent. Although Chata, the housekeeper, tells Consuelo that a woman’s job is to bear children, Consuelo refuses to be a mother because she values her independence. In the corner, pregnant Paula suffers contractions as her sister, Delila, takes care of her. Consuelo is annoyed when Jesus invites Delila to stay for dinner. Jesus sends Consuelo to find her brother Manuel, who is gambling at a local bar. When Crispin, the father of Marta Sanchez’s children, whistles for her to come outside, Jesus forbids his daughter from seeing him and Marta threatens suicide. Manuel comes home and Jesus berates his son for being a terrible husband and father. Jesus invites Delila and her daughter to stay the night. Later, Consuelo catches Jesus and Delila in bed together. Disgusted that Delila is the same age as her, Consuelo protests the relationships and storms away to the home of Paquita, her maternal grandmother. Consuelo talks about her dreams of becoming an independent woman, but Paquita warns that it will take a long time before women are truly free. The most Consuelo can expect from life is to fall in love with a man, and Paquita thinks that it takes strong women to put up with macho men. The next day at work, Consuelo’s co-worker, Mario, professes his love for her and Consuelo suggests they run away to Monterrey. Meanwhile, a woman and her eleven-year old son confront Jesus at the famers market. The woman insists that Jesus is the boy’s father and begs for financial support, but Jesus contends that she is promiscuous. When the woman informs him that the boy has the same distinctive birthmark on his penis as Jesus, the proof of his paternity, Jesus takes the boy aside and looks at his penis. Convinced, Jesus gives the woman money. Later, Jesus visits his common law wife, Lupita, with whom he has two daughters. His daughter, Tonia, asks when Jesus will marry her mother and Lupita berates him for his neglect. Jesus threatens to withdraw financial support if they continue complaining. Meanwhile, Consuelo runs away with Mario. When Paula gives birth to Manuel’s son, Manuel immigrates to the U.S. and Paula names the child Jesus. As the family celebrates the birth, Delila orders Marta to take care of her daughter, Rafaela. Marta balks at taking orders from her father’s mistress and threatens to move out. She gathers her children, Arturo and Trini, and leaves for Acapulco. On the bus, Marta does not have enough money to pay her children’s fare and accepts cash from a stranger named Balthazar and his uncle. The next day, at a beach shack in Acapulco, the two men force Marta to choose one of them as a lover and she selects Balthazar because he is younger. Back at the Sanchez home, Delila cleans a framed photo of the family matriarch. Furious that Delila is touching his beloved mother’s picture, Roberto throws a switchblade at her and it stick into the wall. Roberto reminds Delila that she can never replace his mother. When Delila threatens to tell Jesus, Roberto runs to Paquita for advice and she advises him to move out to become independent. She gives her grandson her fur coat to sell for cash. Roberto later joins the Mexican Air Force in Guadalajara. Months later, Jesus wins 100,000 pesos in the lottery. The same day, he finds out that Paquita is on her deathbed. When Jesus visits his former mother-in-law, she urges him to tell his children that he loves them before it is too late. Jesus fears his children will take advantage of him now that he has money, but he promises to try. Meanwhile, in Monterrey, Consuelo announces she is pregnant, but Mario seems hesitant about having a baby. Jesus buys land in the hills outside of Mexico City and tells Delila his plans to build a spacious home for his extended family. Delila wants to be included and agrees to accept all of his children, as well as the other women in his life. Back in Monterrey, Consuelo has an abortion after finding out that Mario has a secret wife and child, and sends for her father. Unable to forgive Mario for his lies, she returns home with Jesus. Jesus later finds Marta and her children in Acapulco with Balthazar. They all return to Mexico City. Jesus finds Manuel sleeping in the streets and informs his son that Paula died and begs him to return home to his children. Manuel refuses and runs away again. When Lupita informs Jesus that Tonia has become a prostitute, Jesus finds her at a bar and drags her back to the Sanchez home, announcing that his illegitimate daughter will live there too. During Cinco De Mayo celebrations, Tonia brags about the new dress Jesus bought her. Tonia claims that she is Jesus’s favorite child, provoking Consuelo and Delila to resent her. Later, Consuelo confronts Jesus, complaining that Jesus’s attention to Tonia humiliates his other children, but Jesus denies the accusation. When Consuelo asks why Jesus treats Tonia better than his other children, and admits that she longs for him to express his love, Jesus counters that it is enough to feed and give shelter to his children. Devastated, Consuelo disowns her father and leaves again. She sells everything she owns, moves into her own apartment, and works multiple jobs to put herself through flight attendant school. At one of her jobs, waitressing at a strip club, Jesus tracks her down, and his look of disappointment breaks her heart. Jesus leaves before Consuelo can talk to him. Consuelo has a nervous breakdown when a male patron touches her inappropriately and she wakes up in a hospital two weeks later. The doctor informs her she has passed her flight attendant exams. Months later, Jesus finishes building his home. At a house warming party, Roberto arrives with his new wife, Marimba, and her parents. Jesus sends Roberto and the parents inside to have a private conversation with Marimba because he recognizes her as a prostitute. Marimba says she sold her body to support her family and claims Roberto knows and understands. Consuelo arrives at the party, wanting to adopt her niece, Mariquita, since her mother, Paula, died and her father, Manuel, abandoned the family, but Jesus refuses. Consuelo announces that she is financially independent and does not need to put up with Jesus’s abuse anymore. She claims that Jesus makes his children suffer because they are not his biological offspring. Enraged, Jesus pulls off his belt and whips her and everyone around him. Jesus’s sister-in-law, Guadalupe, swears that Consuelo is lying. Later that evening, Consuelo comes back to apologize. She tells Jesus that she wanted to hurt him because he never shows love to his children. Consuelo wants a closer relationship with Jesus, but insists that he treat her better. As Jesus weeps, he admits, “I don’t know how.” +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.