Saturday, May 05, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Movies

Cinco De Mayo Movies

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, not an American one, although more Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the USA, than Mexicans celebrate it in Mexico.

For Americans, Cinco de Mayo is an excuse to drink alcohol and eat starch, flavored with vegetable irritants.
Americans think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. No, for that is 16 September, which doesn't roll nearly so well off the tongue.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico fighting the French in 1862. France invaded Mexico because Mexico owed them a lot of money. Countries do that. It happened, and will happen again.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates an unlikely victory - that of the raggedy little Mexican Army over the big bad French Army (then the most powerful in the world), in Puebla, Mexico on May 5th 1862. (Not surprisingly, most Mexican celebration of this event occurs in that city of Puebla).

In 1860, Mexico had been waging what historians call "Too many wars." Mexicans fought the Americans in 1846-48, and each other in 1858 and 1860. As has happened, and will happen again, to countries waging too many wars, Mexico's treasury was empty, because war is expensive.

In July 1861, Mexican President Benito Juarez decreed a 2-year moratorium. Mexico would make no payments on its debts to Britain, Spain, and France. This created what historians call, "A tense situation," between Mexico, Britain, Spain, and France.

Britain and Spain reached diplomatic arrangements, (negotiation usually preferable to conflict), but France...

Napoleon III, The Emperor of France, sent 8000 crack troops landing in Veracruz, marching to Mexico City, to conquer Mexico for France. Napoleon wasn't kidding around.

Even so, Napoleon's crackerjacques French army of 8,000 soldiers ran into 4,000 determined defenders at the city of Puebla, who...beat 'em.

Unthinkable, but it happened. 5 May 1862, Battle of Puebla. Outnumbered and outgunned Mexican Army...beat the top-shape French Army. Celebrate! Victory!

Well...the victory didn't last long, because the French regrouped, and wiped out the Mexican Army a year later, establishing Emperor Maximilian I to rule Mexico.  BUT...that's the Cinco de Mayo story.

Here are some movies with a Mexican flavor.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Humphrey Bogart faces the Gold Hat Bandito, played by the unforgettable Alfonso Bedoya, in John Huston's classic film. Negotiation seems impossible.

Viva Max (1969)
Peter Ustinov takes over the Alamo. Jonathan Winters negotiates with him.

El Mariachi (1992)
Robert Rodriguez takes over Hollywood. Victory didn't last, but he had a great start. Negotiations continue...

viva max
el mariachi
cinco de mayo movies
treasure of the sierra madre

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