Mexican Movies in the United States

A History of the Films, Theaters and Audiences, 1920–1960


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About the Book

A surge of immigration in the United States in the 1920s coincided with burgeoning developments in entertainment—including cinema. Movie houses sprang up in areas where Latin American populations were concentrated, and the advent of talkies propelled the Spanish speaking movie industry into high gear. As the U.S. entered World War II, films from Mexico dominated that industry, creating a culture of Mexican cinema that offered entertainment, a reflection of native values and customs, and a link to the homeland.
This book is a richly detailed look at Mexican cinema’s boom years in the United States, 1920 to 1960. Chapters focus on the appeal of Mexican cinema and the venues that evolved where Hispanic populations were centered. Theaters, distributors, audience demographics, popular and critical reception of the films, and stars all receive attention. Included are lists of theaters in California, Texas and cities in other states that exhibited Mexican films between 1920 and 1960.

About the Author(s)

Rogelio Agrasánchez, Jr., is director and curator of the Agrasánchez Film Archive in Harlingen, Texas, the world’s largest private collection of Mexican cinema. He is the author of several books.

Bibliographic Details

Rogelio Agrasánchez, Jr.
Foreword by Carl J. Mora
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 80 photos, tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6410-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0456-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Carl J. Mora      xi

Preface      1

1. The Appeal of Mexican Cinema for Hispanics in the United States      3

2. Los Angeles, California      47

3. Pomona Valley, California      70

4. New York City      80

5. El Paso, Texas      96

6. San Antonio, Texas      108

7. The Rio Grande Valley      140

Epilogue: An Era of Mexican Film Entertainment      161

Appendix: U.S. Theaters That Exhibited Mexican Movies, 1920–1960      169

Notes      187

Bibliography      193

Index      199

Book Reviews & Awards

“a vital resource…detailed historical accounts…Agrasanchez provides a foundation for new directions in film historical research”—Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies; “fascinating…a detailed and intelligent analysis of both the phenomena of the US Mexican movie industry and the character of its audience”—Classic Movies.