Emilio Fernández

Emilio Fernández

Infobox actor
name = Emilio Fernández

caption =
birthdate = birth date|1904|3|26|mf=y
birthplace = Hondo, Coahuila, Mexico
deathdate = death date and age|1986|8|6|1904|3|26|mf=y
deathplace = Mexico City, Mexico

"El Indio" Fernández (born Emilio Fernández Romo; March 26 1904 – August 6 1986) was a Mexican actor, screenwriter and director of the Cinema of Mexico.


Early life

He was born in Mineral del Hondo, Coahuila. His father, Fernando Garza, was a military man, and after 1910, a revolutionary while his mother was a Kickapoo Indian, a tribe that inhabited the region of Sabinas, hence the "indio" nickname. El "indio" dropped school to serve in the revolutionary uprising lead by Adolfo de la Huerta. President of Mexico Álvaro Obregón sent Huerta into exile (in Los Angeles, California) and Fernández received a 20-year prison sentence but escaped prison and followed Huerta to the United States. Huerta worked as a music teacher and Fernández as an extra in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s. After Lázaro Cárdenas became president and granted an amnesty to the Huertista rebels Fernández returned to Mexico.


With his experience in Hollywood he joined the Mexican movie industry as a screenwriter and actor. "El Indio" obtained his first acting role in "Corazón bandolero" (1934) of Raphael J. Sevilla. His looks also landed him a starring role playing a native in "Janitzio" of Carlos Navarro.

He also wrote the script for "La isla de la Pasión" ( a.k.a Clipperton, 1941), a film he would also direct. His next two films as a director were successful not only in Mexico but the rest of Latin America, "Flor silvestre" (1943) and "María Candelaria" (1943). Both filmed with photographer Gabriel Figueroa. He developed his own style which had such an effect in the industry that his portrayal of rural Mexico became a standard for the film industry and also became the image of Mexico in the world.

Modeling for The "Oscar"

Tasked with creating an award for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons came up with the idea of a knight holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film. In need of a model for his statue Gibbons was introduced by his then wife Dolores del Río to El Indio. Reluctant at first, Fernández was finally convinced to pose naked to create what today it is known as the "Oscar".

Exile to The U.S.

Forced into exile in the United States - he lived in Los Angeles - following his participation in the unsuccessful rebellion of Adolfo de la Huerta against Mexican President Álvaro Obregón Salido

Notable film collaborations

*Gabriel Figueroa

Considered the premier Cinematographer of Mexico’s Época de oro, between 1930-1960, Figueroa was nominated for several awards, including the Oscar in 1964. Worked as DP on twenty-five projects with Fernandez including the Palme d'Or winning María Candelaria, Flor Silvestre and the multi-Ariel winning Enamorada. Together they glorified “Mexico’s landscapes, dramatic, cloud-laced skies, and more importantly, its stoic Indian faces.” [Mora, Carl J. Mexican Cinema: Reflections of Society 1896-1988. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, 58.]

*Pedro ArmendárizVery much El Indio's Alter-ego on the screen, the charismatic Armendáriz dominated and defined Mexican cinema in the 1940s, often as a foil and lover to Fernandez's muse Dolores del Río. Starred in the first film that Fernandez directed (1941's Isla de la pasión) and many of his most iconic most notably as the cursed pearl fisherman in the 1947 adaptation of La Perla.

*Dolores del RíoA massive silent star in the Hollywood of the 1920s, her career faded during the sound era and despite her appearance (in a rather natty leopardskin leotard) in Orson Welles' 1943 film Journey into Fear it seemed like her best years were behind her. That was until Fernandez offered her the lead role the following year in Flor Silvestre. This was a triumph and saw her relaunched in her home country - and incidentally in her first Spanish language role - as a major icon. Six further collaborations followed including the film that defined Mexico's Golden Age - María Candelaria

*Sam Peckinpah


As Director

* 1941 - La Isla de la pasión
* 1942 - Soy puro mexicano
* 1942 - Flor silvestre (1942 Film)
* 1944 - Maria Candelaria
* 1945 - Las Abandonadas
* 1945 - Bugambilia (1945 Film)
* 1946 - Pepita Jiménez
* 1946 - Enamorada
* 1947 - La Perla
* 1947 - The Fugitive (uncredited as co-director w/ John Ford)
* 1948 - Río Escondido
* 1948 - Maclovia
* 1949 - Salón México
* 1949 - Pueblerina
* 1949 - La Malquerida
* 1950 - Duelo en las montañas
* 1950 - The Torch
* 1950 - Un Día de vida
* 1951 - Víctimas del pecado
* 1951 - Islas Marías
* 1951 - La Bienamada
* 1952 - Siempre tuya
* 1952 - Acapulco
* 1952 - El Mar y tú
* 1952 - Cuando levanta la niebla
* 1953 - La Red
* 1953 - Reportaje
* 1953 - El Rapto
* 1954 - El Rebelión de los colgados
* 1955 - La Rosa blanca
* 1955 - Nosotros dos
* 1955 - La Tierra del fuego se apaga
* 1958 - Una Cita de amor
* 1960 - El Impostor
* 1962 - Pueblito
* 1963 - Paloma herida
* 1967 - Un Dorado de Pancho Villa
* 1969 - Un Crepúsculo de un dios
* 1974 - La Choca
* 1976 - Zona roja
* 1979 - México Norte (remake of his own Pueblerina)
* 1979 - Erótica


External links

* (es) [http://cinemexicano.mty.itesm.mx/directores/indio_fernandez.html Biography] at the Cinema of Mexico site of the ITESM.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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