Friday, July 10, 2009


"To what do I attribute my success? I think, simply, I'm different. I'm not beautiful, but I have lovely eyes and I know exactly what to do with them. Even though the public thinks I'm a pretty wild girl, I'm really not. I'm just me Lupe Vélez, a simple and natural Lupe. If I'm happy, I dance and sing. And if something angers me, I scream and sob, and I feel a little better. Someone named that personality. If I tried to look like Norma Talmadge or like the aristocrat Dolores del Río or sweet Mary Pickford, I would be nothing more than a imitation. That's [why] I only want to be me, Lupe Vélez."

The 14th edition of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (SFSFF) launches this evening with The Gaucho (1927), the first of two entries in this year's program that features the "Mexican spitfire" Lupe Vélez. Vélez made her leading lady debut in The Gaucho co-starring Douglas Fairbanks and went on to have a bright albeit brief Hollywood career. Not only does Vélez grace SFSFF's opening night, but she'll return for the closing night finale in D.W. Griffith's final silent film Lady of the Pavements (1929), co-starring William Boyd. A festival couldn't be more lusciously bookended.

Truly a Latin beauty, Veléz epitomized the glamour requisite for the Golden Age of Hollywood and must have struck quite the celebrity figure on the red carpet premieres of her films. I add her to my ongoing series of Magazine Rack tributes to the screen divas of yesteryear.

No comments: