Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On Miguel Inclán

Tonight, Angela lured me away from grading for a moment with a really interesting PBS documentary on John Ford and John Wayne. I learned, among other things, that Ford really didn't know that Wayne could act until the director saw him in Red River, directed by Ford's rival, Howard Hawks. I'm inspired now to watch some of their movies that I either should have seen and haven't, or haven't had the desire to see but now want to (in particular, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and an odd depressing wartime piece called They Were Expendable).

The doc also highlighted Fort Apache where -- in a major twist of irony -- Henry Fonda plays the stubbornly conservative lieutenant while Wayne plays the more open-minded captain. The clip that they showed corresponding to this film showed Fonda sitting in front of Apache chief Cochise, who tries to settle with the American soldiers before Fonda rudely dismisses him. (Apparently, the Americans then try to go after the Apaches... and the Apaches slaughter them. Oops.)

I thought it was a little unusual that in this clip an Apache was speaking in Spanish; about halfway through, however, that disturbing thought was displaced with the realization that I recognized the voice. Sure enough, IMDB indicates that Cochise is played by famed Mexican character actor Miguel Inclán. I had forgotten that Inclán did two films with Ford -- the other one is The Fugitive -- shortly following the high period where it seems that he is in every major representative film from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Ask any of my students from my Cinemas of Latin America classes over the years and they'll sing the praises of Inclán in María Candelaria, Doña Bárbara, Salón México and Buñuel's masterpiece Los olvidados, where he plays the twisted, blind beggar who curses the youth that populate the film. He is not even remotely attractive, but his presence in each of these films is memorable.

Here is what I find funny: I can hit the "next blog" button and undoubtedly find a generic Britney or Jessica photo -- but when I googled "Inclan," there indeed are no photos available of him on the Internet. This is a crime: the man rightfully deserves at least a tribute webpage. If I didn't have more grading to do, heck, I'd do it myself.

1 comment:

prez said...

Here he is!