|A Message to Garcia|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George Marshall|
|Produced by|| Raymond Griffith |
|Screenplay by|| W.P. Lipscomb |
and Gene Fowler
Sam Hellman (uncredited)
Gladys Lehman (uncredited)
|Based on||Suggested by Elbert Hubbard's immortal essay |
and the book by
Lieut. Andrew S. Rowan
|Starring|| Wallace Beery |
|Music by|| Louis Silvers |
|Cinematography||Rudolph Maté, A.S.C.|
|Edited by||Herbert Levy|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|April 10, 1936|
A Message to Garcia is a 1936 American adventure spy film directed by George Marshall and starring Wallace Beery, Barbara Stanwyck and John Boles. The film is inspired by the 1899 essay "A Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard, loosely based on an incident during the ramp up to the Spanish–American War.The essay had previously been made into a 1916 silent film, also called A Message to Garcia. In the story, U.S. Army Lieutenant Rowan, under cover, carries a secret message from President McKinley to General García, the leader of a rebellion against Spanish rule on the island of Cuba.
The film opens with the Maine Incident in which an American warship blew up in Havana harbor, allegedly following sabotage by Spain, triggering the outbreak of the Spanish–American War. President William McKinley, wishing to make contact with General Calixto García, the leader of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain, summons a U.S. Army officer, First Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan, to the White House and gives him a message which he is to personally deliver into Garcia's hands.
Rowan first travels to British Jamaica where, posing as a Canadian merchant sailor, he joins the crew of a neutral British ship on its way to Cuba. But the Spanish have already discovered the mission and have hired the cynical, amoral Dr. Ivan Krug to identify the American and stop him before he can reach Garcia. Krug takes passage on the British ship and questions everyone on board. This leads Rowan to jump ship at night in a row boat and slip into Cuba.
There, continuing to dodge Krug and Spanish soldiers, Rowan meets a con man, Sergeant Dory, who is a deserter from the U.S. Marine Corps. Dory guides him to the home of a Cuban patriot who knows Garcia's whereabouts. But Spanish soldiers kill the patriot. So Rowan and Dory set out in the company of Raphaelita Maderos, the patriot's daughter.
Aided by villages of Cuban patriots, the three make their way toward their destination. Spanish troops led by Krug remain constantly on their trail, forcing them to hide in the swamp. They also encounter Henry Piper, a British merchant from Sheffield, who has become lost in the Cuban interior. The Spanish succeed in wounding Maderos and Dory removes the bullet from her. So Rowan must continue on without her, leaving Dory behind to provide care and protection. But she orders Dory to go after Rowan to make sure he gets safely to his destination, believing that his message is more important than any one of their lives.
Dory successfully guides Rowan across an alligator-infested river and past Spanish patrols, delivering him to what he believes are General Garcia's headquarters. Then Dory departs, not realizing that the Spaniards had recently taken the stronghold. Rowan thus falls into the hands of the Spanish, and Doctor Krug begins a process of torture to discover the whereabouts of the message that Rowan has hidden in the barrel of his pistol.
Dory, meanwhile, is captured by the Cuban rebels who wish to execute him for having previously sold them useless ammunition. Dory's personal appeal to Garcia for help to rescue Rowan, who he now realizes is in Spanish hands, is refused and he faces the firing squad. Only the dramatic arrival of the British merchant Piper, who verifies the truth of Dory's story, saves the American from being shot. Garcia then organizes a rescue attempt, which Dory volunteers for.
Rowan has resisted torture, refusing to break. But when the Spanish bring in Maderos, whom they have captured, she tries to persuade him to end his suffering and reveal the message. He still resists, holding out long enough for the Cuban rebels to launch a major assault on the Spanish position. Dory rescues Rowan but is killed in the process. Rowan, however, is then able to present McKinley's letter to Garcia, who tells him "This message means the liberation of our people."
The film was made by the independent company Twentieth Century Pictures, but was distributed by 20th Century Fox following the merger between the two studios. The final day of filming was November 16, 1935.Twentieth Century had developed a reputation for producing high-budget prestige films, and this was one of the company's final efforts. The parts of Dory and Raphaelita are fictional and were created to provide roles for Beery and Stanwyck, who were well-established box office stars. The British comedian Herbert Mundin appeared to add comic relief in his role as an English merchant. Dell Henderson plays President William McKinley but with a stentorian voice dubbed by John Carradine.
The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to the U.S. emerging predominant in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately to the Philippine–American War.
William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. During his presidency, McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and kept the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of the expansionary monetary policy of free silver.
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The Big House is a 1930 American pre-Code prison drama film directed by George Hill, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and starring Chester Morris, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone and Robert Montgomery. The story and dialogue were written by Frances Marion, who won the Academy Award for Best Writing Achievement. As one of the first prison movies, it inspired many others of this genre.
The Last of the Mohicans is a 1920 American film adapted from James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel of the same name. Clarence Brown and Maurice Tourneur directed an adaption by Robert Dillon — a story of two English sisters meeting danger on the frontier of the American colonies, in and around the fort commanded by their father. The adventure film stars Wallace Beery, Barbara Bedford, Lillian Hall and Alan Roscoe.
Wallace Fitzgerald Beery was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1934), as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa! (1934), and his titular role in The Champ (1931), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 films during a 36-year career. His contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stipulated in 1932 that he would be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio. This made Beery the highest-paid film actor in the world during the early 1930s. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery Sr. and uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.
The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was a treaty signed by Spain and the United States on December 10, 1898, that ended the Spanish–American War. Under it, Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba and also ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The cession of the Philippines involved a compensation of $20 million from the United States to Spain.
The De Lôme letter, a note written by Señor Don Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, to Don José Canalejas, the Foreign Minister of Spain, reveals de Lôme’s opinion about the Spanish involvement in Cuba and US President McKinley’s diplomacy.
TheTeller Amendment was an amendment to a joint resolution of the United States Congress, enacted on April 20, 1898, in reply to President William McKinley's War Message. It placed a condition on the United States military's presence in Cuba. According to the clause, the U.S. could not annex Cuba but only leave "control of the island to its people." In short, the U.S. would help Cuba gain independence and then withdraw all its troops from the country.
Calixto García Íñiguez was a Cuban general in three Cuban uprisings, part of the Cuban War for Independence: the Ten Years' War, the Little War, and the War of 1895, itself sometimes called the Cuban War for Independence, which bled into the Spanish–American War, ultimately resulting in national independence for Cuba.
A Message to Garcia is a widely distributed essay written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899, expressing the value of individual initiative and conscientiousness in work. As its primary example, the essay uses a dramatized version of a daring escapade performed by an American soldier, 1st Lt. Andrew S. Rowan, just prior to the Spanish–American War. The essay describes Rowan carrying a message from President William McKinley to "Gen. Calixto García, a leader of the Cuban insurgents somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba—no one knew where". The essay contrasts Rowan's self-driven effort against "the imbecility of the average man—the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it".
The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- "Carry a message to Garcia!"
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Andrew Summers Rowan was born in Gap Mills, Virginia, the son of John M. Rowan and Virginia Summers. He was an American army officer who served in the Spanish–American War, the Philippine War, and the Moro Rebellion, and became famous for reportedly delivering a message to Gen. Calixto Garcia in Cuba.
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