Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Old Gringo’

OLD GRINGO – Lee Holdridge

September 12, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Old Gringo was intended to be a lavish Mexican epic film marking the English-language debut of Argentine filmmaker Luis Puenzo, whose film La Historia Oficial had won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1985. It was based on an acclaimed novel by Carlos Fuentes and starred Gregory Peck as Ambrose Bierce, an ageing acclaimed writer who moves to Mexico just prior to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1910. Bierce is dying of a terminal illness, but keeps it secret as he wants to end his days on his own terms. He befriends a revolutionary named Arroyo (Jimmy Smits), and also crosses paths with an American schoolteacher named Harriet (Jane Fonda), and as the violence escalates so does his friendship with Arroyo, something which is complicated by the romantic feelings they both have for Harriet. Old Gringo tries to tackle numerous weighty subjects simultaneously – the politics of the Mexican Revolution, the regrets of old age, the concept of legacy and fame, a love triangle – but the consensus was that it tried to take on a little bit too much; Roger Ebert, in his review, wrote that ‘there is a potentially wonderful story at the heart of Old Gringo, but the movie never finds it. The screenplay blasts away in every direction except the bulls-eye. It’s heavy on disconnected episodes, light on drama and storytelling.’ The whole thing was a critical and commercial failure, and Puenzo never made another film in English. Read more…