Juarez (1939)

Juarez (1939)

TOMATOMETER

——

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Juarez Photos

Movie Info

Juarez was originally designed to concentrate almost exclusively on the tragedy of Hapsburg Emperor Maximillian, whose attempts to establish a puppet government in Mexico on behalf of Napoleon III ended in disaster and death. But when Paul Muni decided that he wanted to play Zapotec-Indian-turned-Mexican President Benito Pablo Juarez, the film's emphasis perceptibly shifted -- and Bette Davis, cast as Empress Carlotta, was shunted to second billing rather than first. Muni's makeup and costuming convincingly transforms him into Juarez incarnate. But unlike his other historical impersonations (Pasteur, Zola), Muni's Juarez is a one-note characterization: stoic, uncompromising, and v-e-e-r-y slow of speech. Far more exciting dramatically is Bette Davis as Empress Carlotta, whose highly stylized descent into madness is a tour de force both for the actress and for director William Dieterle. Claude Rains and Gale Sondergaard, as Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, in essence repeat their diabolical characterizations from Anthony Adverse (1936), while John Garfield is singularly miscast as Pofirio Diaz. The best performance is delivered by Brian Aherne, whose kindly, honorable Emperor Maximillian is less a despot than a misguided political pawn. When Aherne, about to be executed at Juarez' orders, requests that his favorite Mexican song "La Paloma" be played as he is led before the firing squad, audience sympathies are 100% in Maximilian's corner--which was not quite what the filmmakers intended. Based largely on Bertita Harding's book The Phantom Crown (the film's original title), Juarez takes every available opportunity to parallel its title character's fight against foreign intervention with the then-current European situation. To protect their investment in Juarez Warner Bros. purchased outright a like-vintage Mexican film on the same subject, The Mad Empress, suppressing the latter film's release in the United States.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Drama , Western , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Bros.

Watch it now

Cast

Bette Davis
as Carlotta von Habsburg
Donald Crisp
as Marechal Bazaine
John Garfield
as Porfirio Diaz
Gale Sondergaard
as Empress Eugenie
Paul Muni
as Benito Pablo Juarez
Claude Rains
as Napoleon III
Gilbert Emery
as Ambassador
John Miljan
as Mariano Escobedo
Irving Pichel
as Carbajal
Louis Calhern
as LeMarc
Holmes Herbert
as Marshall Randon
Henry O'Neill
as Miguel Miramon
Joseph Calleia
as Alejandro Uradi
Robert Warwick
as Maj. DuPont
Gilbert Roland
as Col. Miguel Lopez
Pedro de Cordoba
as Riva Palacio
Monte Blue
as Lerdo de Tejada
Brian Aherne
as Maximilian von Habsburg
Montagu Love
as Jose de Montares
Noble Johnson
as Regules
Charles Halton
as Mr. Roberts
Grant Mitchell
as Mr. Harris
Walter Kingsford
as Prince Metternich
Harry Davenport
as Dr. Samuel Basch
Hugh Sothern
as John Bigelow
Georgia Caine
as Countess Battenberg
Frank Lackteen
as Coachman
Frank Reicher
as Duc de Morny
Mickey Kuhn
as Augustin Iturbide
William Edmunds
as Italian Minister
Egon Brecher
as Baron von Magnus
Fred Malatesta
as Senor Salas
Billy Wilkerson
as Tomas Mejia
Walter Fenner
as Achille Fould
Alexander Leftwich
as Drouyn de Lhuys
Lillian Nicholson
as Josefa Iturbide
Walter O. Stahl
as Senator del Valle
Bill Wilkerson
as Tomas Mejia
Gennaro Curci
as Senor de Leon
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Juarez

All Critics (3)

A dull epic directed without inspiration by William Dieterle.

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Warner Brothers spectacle of highest order with Muni never better.

July 27, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Quote not available.

Full Review… | September 29, 2005
Three Movie Buffs

Quote not available.

August 12, 2005
EmanuelLevy.Com

Quote not available.

July 18, 2005
Light Views

Audience Reviews for Juarez

½

Well appointed but lumbering, miscast drama. Bette is fine, all spit and fire but John Garfield, who was embarrassed by his forced casting, is completely out of place as Porfirio Diaz with his New York accent still firmly in place. Paul Muni, a very fine actor in modern dress roles, does what he always does when heavily made up he lets the makeup do the acting for him. A good try but stodgy.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

3.5/5.0. A fine film, but it lacks that something extra to make it great. It is notable for the fact that Bette Davis' character is rather subdued, something she is not known for. It's also uncommon to have other stars outshine her - Paul Muni as always is terrific, John Garfield and Claude Rains are great and Brian Aherne turns in the best performance of them all. It starts out better than it finishes. Great production values.

James Higgins
James Higgins
½

77/100. A fine film, but it lacks that something extra to make it great. It is notable for the fact that Bette davis' character is rather subdued, something she is not known for. It's also uncommon to have other stars outshine her - Paul Muni as always is terrific, John Garfield and Claude Rains are great and Brian Aherne turns in the best performance of them all. It starts out better than it finishes. Great production values.

James Higgins
James Higgins

Juarez Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Juarez on our Movie forum!

News & Features