Juarez (1939)

125 mins | Drama | 10 June 1939

Director:

William Dieterle

Producer:

Hal B. Wallis

Cinematographer:

Tony Gaudio

Editor:

Warren Low

Production Designer:

Anton Grot

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this picture was The Phantom Crown . A pre-production news item in HR notes that the picture was titled Maximilian and Carlotta until the suspension of Bette Davis caused the studio to decide to change its production plans from a co-starring vehicle to a vehicle for Paul Muni. The title was then switched to Juarez to reflect the change in focus. Davis eventually was re-written into the story. The CBCS for the film indicates that Charles Middleton was originally set to play the role of Carbajal. A production still for the film illustrates that actress Gail Page tested for the role of "Carlotta." According to the Var review, the picture was shot on Eastman's new high speed film. The film originally ran fifteen reels, and Warner Bros. considered cutting it into two pictures. The Mexico City scenes were filmed in Calabasas, CA.
       Warner Bros. files at the USC Library add the following information about the production: the studio had commissioned an original script, hoping that they would not have to purchase the Franz Werfel play to make the film. However, the studio lawyer advised producer Henry Blanke that the similarities between the script and the play were so strong that the legal department felt the studio would be subject to an infringement action. After much analysis, the studio purchased the rights to the play. The picture represented Warner Bros. most ambitious project to date. According to the production files, every detail was exhaustively researched for historical accuracy. The files contained long lists of reference books in both English and Spanish. ... More Less

The working title of this picture was The Phantom Crown . A pre-production news item in HR notes that the picture was titled Maximilian and Carlotta until the suspension of Bette Davis caused the studio to decide to change its production plans from a co-starring vehicle to a vehicle for Paul Muni. The title was then switched to Juarez to reflect the change in focus. Davis eventually was re-written into the story. The CBCS for the film indicates that Charles Middleton was originally set to play the role of Carbajal. A production still for the film illustrates that actress Gail Page tested for the role of "Carlotta." According to the Var review, the picture was shot on Eastman's new high speed film. The film originally ran fifteen reels, and Warner Bros. considered cutting it into two pictures. The Mexico City scenes were filmed in Calabasas, CA.
       Warner Bros. files at the USC Library add the following information about the production: the studio had commissioned an original script, hoping that they would not have to purchase the Franz Werfel play to make the film. However, the studio lawyer advised producer Henry Blanke that the similarities between the script and the play were so strong that the legal department felt the studio would be subject to an infringement action. After much analysis, the studio purchased the rights to the play. The picture represented Warner Bros. most ambitious project to date. According to the production files, every detail was exhaustively researched for historical accuracy. The files contained long lists of reference books in both English and Spanish. Press releases refer to the film's extensive research. According to modern sources, the writers had a bibliography of 372 volumes, documents and period photographs. Art director Anton Grot drew 3,643 sketches from which engineers prepared 7,360 blueprints for the exteriors and interiors of the settings. A complete Mexican village was built on the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA.
       News items in HR add that to promote the film in South and Central American countries, Warner Bros. arranged a radio broadcast in which representatives from Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil and the Pan American Union discussed the picture. Warner Bros. also held a special showing for the president of Mexico.
       Materials in the Warner Bros. Files note that shortly before work began on this film, a Mexican producer named Miguel C. Torres began shooting a film entitled Maximilian and Carlotta starring Conrad Nagel. Warner Bros. advised Torres that they owned all motion picture and collateral rights to the Werfel play and asked him to refrain from using the title Juarez and Maximilian . Lacking money to finish his picture, Torres approached Harry Cohn about distributing the film. To end the threat of another company distributing Torres' film before they could release Juarez , Warner Bros. picked up the film and retitled it The Mad Empress (see below). Brian Aherne was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Apr 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Apr 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 38
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 39
pp. 4-5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 39
p. 5.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Apr 39
p. 1, 6
Motion Picture Herald
4 Feb 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Apr 39
p. 51.
New York Times
26 Apr 39
p. 27.
Variety
26 Apr 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Jack L. Warner in charge of prod
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Asst stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Asst prop
COSTUMES
Gowns
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit mgr
Best boy
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Juarez and Maximilian by Franz Werfel (Vienna, 26 May 1925) and the novel The Phantom Crown by Bertita Harding (Indianapolis and New York, 1934).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Maximilian and Carlotta
The Phantom Crown
Release Date:
10 June 1939
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 24 April 1939
Production Date:
late November 1938--8 February 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 June 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8903
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
125
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4841
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1863, Louis Napoleon of France, threatened with the loss of Mexico under its new president, Benito Juarez, decides to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine by instituting sovereign rule. Napoleon cleverly engineers an election that puts the unwitting Maximilian von Hapsburg on the Mexican throne. Upon his arrival in Mexico, the idealistic Maxmilian, who is accompanied by his wife Carlota, is puzzled by the absence of supporters, and soon discovers that his French advisors expect him to confiscate the lands that Juarez has returned to the Mexican people. Slowly realizing that he is the victim of a fraud designed to establish French supremacy in Mexico, Maxmilian refuses to confiscate the lands and refuses to issue a decree that would place repressive penalties on the rebels led by Juarez. Instead, Maximilian decides to abdicate, but Carlota convinces him that he must stay and deliver Mexico from its enemies. To accomplish this, he offers Juarez the position of prime minister, but Juarez will not compromise his belief in democracy, thus creating an unbridgeable gulf between the two. With the end of the American Civil War, the United States orders the French flag out of Mexico and sends aid to the rebel army. Juarez' vice president, Uradi, uses this opportunity to betray Juarez and seizes the munitions, thereby creating a split that places victory within Maxmilian's grasp. Just as Maxmilian is about to command his army, however, Napoleon orders all French troops out of Mexico, crushing any chance of victory. Enraged, Carlota returns to Paris to confront Napoleon, where she suffers a mental breakdown over her husband's plight. Meanwhile, Juarez wins back control of the ... +


In 1863, Louis Napoleon of France, threatened with the loss of Mexico under its new president, Benito Juarez, decides to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine by instituting sovereign rule. Napoleon cleverly engineers an election that puts the unwitting Maximilian von Hapsburg on the Mexican throne. Upon his arrival in Mexico, the idealistic Maxmilian, who is accompanied by his wife Carlota, is puzzled by the absence of supporters, and soon discovers that his French advisors expect him to confiscate the lands that Juarez has returned to the Mexican people. Slowly realizing that he is the victim of a fraud designed to establish French supremacy in Mexico, Maxmilian refuses to confiscate the lands and refuses to issue a decree that would place repressive penalties on the rebels led by Juarez. Instead, Maximilian decides to abdicate, but Carlota convinces him that he must stay and deliver Mexico from its enemies. To accomplish this, he offers Juarez the position of prime minister, but Juarez will not compromise his belief in democracy, thus creating an unbridgeable gulf between the two. With the end of the American Civil War, the United States orders the French flag out of Mexico and sends aid to the rebel army. Juarez' vice president, Uradi, uses this opportunity to betray Juarez and seizes the munitions, thereby creating a split that places victory within Maxmilian's grasp. Just as Maxmilian is about to command his army, however, Napoleon orders all French troops out of Mexico, crushing any chance of victory. Enraged, Carlota returns to Paris to confront Napoleon, where she suffers a mental breakdown over her husband's plight. Meanwhile, Juarez wins back control of the rebels and captures Maxmilian and his loyal followers as they are about to make their last stand. Although arrangements have been made for his release, Maxmilian insists on remaining with his men, and after they are judged guilty, they face the firing squad together. +

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

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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.