Robin Hood of El Dorado (1936)

84 or 86 mins | Drama | 17 April 1936

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HISTORY

Working titles for this film were Born to Die , I Am Joaquin , In Old California and Murrieta . The film is loosely based on the life of legendary Mexican bandit Joaquin Murrieta. For more information on Murrieta, see the entry above for The Avenger , which was also about him. A Jan 1936 HR news item noted that although this picture was nearly completed in late Aug 1935, M-G-M held up its release in order to "get the full effect of the serialization of the story." The novelization of the film was written by Peter B. Kyne and appeared serially in 130 newspapers throughout the country. The studio set an Apr 1936 release date; however, a Mar 1936 HR article stated that M-G-M decided to rush the release of the picture due to a temporary shortage of M-G-M pictures ready for release in the New York area. The article also indicates that the studio planned to "roadshow" the film in Boston and Miami Beach one week after the New York showing. The Miami Beach booking was reportedly designed to "grab off business" before the end of the Florida tourist season. According to an Apr 1936 HR news item, the release of the picture in England was held up due to objections raised by the British censor board to three aspects of the film: scenes showing horses falling; the depiction of a man being shot to death following a fighting scene; and references to the slicing off a Chinese man's ears. The British release was postponed until M-G-M completed protection shots for ... More Less

Working titles for this film were Born to Die , I Am Joaquin , In Old California and Murrieta . The film is loosely based on the life of legendary Mexican bandit Joaquin Murrieta. For more information on Murrieta, see the entry above for The Avenger , which was also about him. A Jan 1936 HR news item noted that although this picture was nearly completed in late Aug 1935, M-G-M held up its release in order to "get the full effect of the serialization of the story." The novelization of the film was written by Peter B. Kyne and appeared serially in 130 newspapers throughout the country. The studio set an Apr 1936 release date; however, a Mar 1936 HR article stated that M-G-M decided to rush the release of the picture due to a temporary shortage of M-G-M pictures ready for release in the New York area. The article also indicates that the studio planned to "roadshow" the film in Boston and Miami Beach one week after the New York showing. The Miami Beach booking was reportedly designed to "grab off business" before the end of the Florida tourist season. According to an Apr 1936 HR news item, the release of the picture in England was held up due to objections raised by the British censor board to three aspects of the film: scenes showing horses falling; the depiction of a man being shot to death following a fighting scene; and references to the slicing off a Chinese man's ears. The British release was postponed until M-G-M completed protection shots for those scenes. A HR pre-production news item stated that actor Leo Carrillo was to star in this film, and that Raoul Walsh was sought to direct. Subsequent HR news items noted that Joseph Calliea, who was originally signed to play "Three Fingered Jack," was moved to the starring role. Calliea was later pulled from the lead because the studio decided he was too old to play the part of a man who died at the age of twenty-three. Ironically, his replacement, Warner Baxter, was forty-four at the time of the production, six years older than Calleia. HR pre-production news items also noted that actress Margo replaced Jean Parker as "Juanita," and was later shifted to the role of "Rosita" after a young Brooklyn College student named Anita Kurtin won a Hollywood screen test and the starring role in the film. Following Kurtin's assignment to the part, her name was changed to Ann Loring. In addition, HR notes that William Henry was originally set to play "Johnny Warren," and Bradley Page was set for the part of "Slocum." HR news items list actors Lucio Villegas, Elizabeth Wilbur, George Chandler and Gayne Whitman in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to HR , one month prior to the start of production, M-G-M sent a troupe of twenty-seven carpenters, painters and art directors to Sonoma County, California, to reconstruct several old mining camps, including the local landmarks Angels Camp and Sawmill Flats. HR news items also relate the following information: Chester Hale prepared the bandit dance number, featuring Carlotta Monti and Perez. (Perez's first name has not been determined). H. O. Bombacher, one of the oldest residents of the ghost town of Springfield, California, was hired as a technical adviser on the picture. Director William Wellman planned to use three hundred cowboys in the film. Warner Baxter suffered from a "nervous strain" which was attributed to having to wear a noisy pair of forged iron spurs for twelve weeks. The actor was advised by his physician to recover in the quiet of his home. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Mar 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
13 Mar 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 35
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 35
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 35
p. 1, 4, 18
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 36
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 36
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Mar 36
pp. 10-11.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Mar 36
p. 69.
New York Times
14 Mar 36
p. 10.
Variety
18 Mar 36
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to dial
Contr to dial
Contr to dial
Special seq wrt
Contr wrt
Contr to trmt
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dance dir of bandit number
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Warner Baxter's Spanish accent coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Robin Hood of El Dorado by Walter Noble Burns (New York, 1932).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Born to Die
In Old California
Murrieta
I Am Joaquin
Release Date:
17 April 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 13 March 1936
Production Date:
11 July--late August 1935
retakes filmed intermittently until 22 December 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 March 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6214
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84 or 86
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1707
SYNOPSIS

In 1848, California is thought by many to be "El Dorado," the mythical land of overflowing riches. It is there that Mexican farmer Joaquin Murrieta lives. He is engaged to Juanita de la Cuesta, daughter of Ramon de la Cuesta, who owns the rancho on which he lives. When Captain Osborne, the governor's inspector, visits the spanish-speaking village, many of the residents distrust the Americano's motives. After an arrow is fired in Osborne's direction, narrowly missing him, Roman is angered by the deed and demands that the man who shot the arrow step forward. Joaquin bravely accepts the blame for the fired arrow when no one else will. As a result, Joaquin is banished from the village and forced to flee into the country. When gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill, the ensuing gold rush brings in many ruthless fortune hunters. One of the prospectors, Bill Warren, shoots a man named Tomas, who is immediately taken to Joaquin's mother for treatment. Following an attack on Joaquin by the white settlers, who want to force him off his land, Rosita is killed and Joaquin swears revenge upon the men who killed her. When Joaquin and his brother Jose kill one of the Americanos, a one thousand dollar reward is posted for Joaquin's capture. Meanwhile, Pete, an unscrupulous prospector, harasses Joaquin and falsely accuses Joaquin of riding a horse that belongs to him, and a fight ensues. Later, Joaquin kills Pete and tells his men to bear arms and join Three Fingered Jack's band of bandits. Joaquin's camp is set up at Hidden Valley, where a meeting is held ... +


In 1848, California is thought by many to be "El Dorado," the mythical land of overflowing riches. It is there that Mexican farmer Joaquin Murrieta lives. He is engaged to Juanita de la Cuesta, daughter of Ramon de la Cuesta, who owns the rancho on which he lives. When Captain Osborne, the governor's inspector, visits the spanish-speaking village, many of the residents distrust the Americano's motives. After an arrow is fired in Osborne's direction, narrowly missing him, Roman is angered by the deed and demands that the man who shot the arrow step forward. Joaquin bravely accepts the blame for the fired arrow when no one else will. As a result, Joaquin is banished from the village and forced to flee into the country. When gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill, the ensuing gold rush brings in many ruthless fortune hunters. One of the prospectors, Bill Warren, shoots a man named Tomas, who is immediately taken to Joaquin's mother for treatment. Following an attack on Joaquin by the white settlers, who want to force him off his land, Rosita is killed and Joaquin swears revenge upon the men who killed her. When Joaquin and his brother Jose kill one of the Americanos, a one thousand dollar reward is posted for Joaquin's capture. Meanwhile, Pete, an unscrupulous prospector, harasses Joaquin and falsely accuses Joaquin of riding a horse that belongs to him, and a fight ensues. Later, Joaquin kills Pete and tells his men to bear arms and join Three Fingered Jack's band of bandits. Joaquin's camp is set up at Hidden Valley, where a meeting is held to discuss the Americanos' take-over of California. In response to the Americanos' threat, Mexicans under Three Fingered Jack's leadership loot the Americanos and the rich Mexican "hacendados." Joaquin takes part in the raids, and during one such operation, is reuntied with Juanita, the hacienda señorita from de la Cuesta's rancho. Juanita, now a rich Mexican socialite, forgives Joaquin's banditry and joins him in fight against the plundering "gringos." When two Americanos are killed by Mexicans, a posse is organized to punish the Mexicans. Following a bungled stagecoach robbery by the bandits, in which the coach driver and a young bride-to-be are unintentionally murdered, Johnnie Warren, the young girl's fiancé, organizes a posse and goes to Hidden Valley to kill Joaquin. Meanwhile, at Joaquin's camp, Joaquin delivers an emotional speech in which he says that he can no longer be the bandits' leader in the wake of his complicity in the young girl's accidental death. Joaquin then bids the bandits farewell, but before he can flee to Mexico, the posse arrives and a shootout ensues. Three Fingered Jack is killed in the attack, and Joaquin, while attempting to escape, is shot and killed at Rosita's grave. +

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

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