08 · 3 · 18

The Silent Age of Dolores del Río

By: Gabriela Martínez @GabbMartivel | Azul Ramírez

Prior to her success as a character in the golden age of Mexican cinema, Dolores del Río had a prolific career in American cinema. Promoted by the filmmaker Edwin Carewe, del Río debuted as a silent film actress with the film Joanna (1925, Edwin Carewe).

This was followed by another thirteen silent tapes that helped Dolores del Río consolidate her career in Hollywood before venturing into sound films in the United States and Mexico.

Joanna (1925, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Joanna (1925, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Dolores del Río played Carlotta Da Silva, a lady of Spanish-Brazilian origin. Dolores only appears a few minutes in the film, but as of this moment, the American public began to take an interest in her career.

The film was based on the short story Joanna, of the Skirts Too Short and the Lips Too Red and the Tongue Too Pert, by Henry Leyford Gates.

High Steppers (1925, dir. Edwin Carewe)

The film is based on the novel Heirs Apparent, by Philip Gibbs. It tells the story of Julian Perryam (Lloyd Hughes), who is expelled from the Oxford University and returns to his family home in the outskirts of London. One day he discovers that his sister and his mother are obsessed with jazz and his father, editor of a newspaper, is too busy to notice.

Pals First (1925, dir. Edwin Carewe)

It was the first film starring Dolores del Río.

What Price Glory? (1926, dir. Raoul Walsh)

What Price Glory? (1926, dir. Raoul Walsh)

With this film, Dolores del Río achieved public recognition. The story is set in France, where Captain Flagg (Victor McLaglen) and Sergeant Quirt (Edmund Lowe) compete for a charming woman, played by del Rio, during the First World War.

The Whole Town’s Talking (1926, dir. Edward Laemmle)

In 1919, Chester Binney, a wounded veteran of the First World War, is discharged from the US Army and returns to Los Angeles, his hometown. There he is reunited with his old boss, George Simmons, who hopes to begin a romance between his daughter, Ethel, and Chester. However, to prevent Chester from being misjudged by society, George invents a murky past that involves the enigmatic actress Rita Ralti.

Resurrection (1927, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Inspired by the novel Resurrection (1899) by the Russian writer León Tolstoy. Katyusha, a country girl, is seduced and abandoned by Prince Dimitry. Years later, Dimitry finds himself in a jury to accuse Katyusha for a crime where he realizes that his abandonment is what led her to such a crime. He follows her to prison in Siberia, with the intention of forgiving her and redeeming himself.

The Loves of Carmen (1927, dir. Raoul Walsh)

Los amores de Carmen (1927, dir. Raoul Walsh)

The Loves of Carmen (1927, dir. Raoul Walsh)

Adaptation of Carmen, novel by the French writer Prosper Merimée. Set in Seville in 1820, during the reign of Fernando VII, tells the story of Carmen (Dolores Del Río), a young gypsy who works in a cigar factory and falls madly in love with Lieutenant Don José (Don Alvarado).

The Gateway of the Moon (1928, dir. John Griffith Wray)

Arthur Wyatt, an American railroad conductor, gets lost in the Amazon jungle in South America. He is rescued by Chela, the beautiful princess of a native tribe.

The Trail of ’98 (1928, dir. Clarence Brown)

The Trail of '98 (1928, dir. Clarence Brown)

The Trail of ’98 (1928, dir. Clarence Brown)

The story takes place in 1897, when fortune-hunters who come from all over Canada go to the Klondike area of the Yukon to look for gold, in a long and dangerous journey that puts the adventurers to the test.

Ramona (1928, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Ramona (1928, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Ramona (1928, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Ramona refuses to marry Felipe, her adoptive brother, and flees to marry a Native American. When her husband and son die, she goes mad and flees to the desert. Felipe finds her, helps her to recover her health and the two are reconciled.

No Other Woman (1928, dir. Lou Tellegen)

In 1928, Dolores led the cast of this film directed by the Dutchman Lou Tellegen. No Other Woman is a dramatic film released by Fox Film Corporation on June 10, 1928.

The Red Dance (1928, dir. Raoul Walsh)

La bailarina de la ópera (1928, dir. Raoul Walsh)

The Red Dance (1928, dir. Raoul Walsh)

At the end of 1928, Dolores was in her third film directed by Raoul Walsh. Tasia (Dolores del Río), a beautiful low-class dancer from Russia, is admired by Grand Duke Eugenio (Charles Farrell). At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, the Duke falls into captivity and this allows Tasia to be close to him.

Revenge (1928, dir. Edwin Carewe)

Revenge (1928, dir. Edwin Carewe)

The film is inspired by the novel The Bear Tamer’s Daughter, by Konrad Bercovici.

Evangeline (1929, Edwin Carewe)

Tape based on the homonymous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Like Ramona, the film featured a musical theme played by Dolores and written by the popular actor and singer Al Jolson.

Evangeline is located in a small coastal town of Acadia, province of Nova Scotia, in the mid-eighteenth century, where Evangeline (Dolores del Rio), a girl in love with young Gabriel (Roland Drew), lives. With the arrival of the English, the problems for the couple arrive too, because the war leads to the separation of men from women and children.