By Poncho Davalos
As a child I grew up watching Cantinflas movies. I remember every Saturday I waited eagerly for 2 pm to watch his movies on TV. For me, as for a lot of Mexicans, it was a very sad day when he died in 1993. He was an icon. For myself as a 10 years old kid to see on TV the coverage of his death in Mexico City was very impressive; the many people lining the main avenues in the city, crying and waiting to see the hearse. Really it was a national event that lasted three days.
Almost 21 years later I still love to watch his movies. And for this reason I decided to go with Harriet, Joyce and Roberto to watch “Cantinflas” the movie. I knew the movie has been in the middle of controversial moments because the actor who performs Cantinflas is from Spain and some actors thought a Mexican actor sould have been chosen to play him, but as I say, life is full of chances and he took the chance to flight from Spain to Mexico City to do the casting.
If you are not familiar with Cantinflas here is a little background :
– His full name was Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes
– He was born on 1911
– He had 14 brothers and sisters though just 8 survived
– Mario Moreno “Cantinflas” was considered the Mexican Charlie Chaplin
– His wife was from Moscow
– Six years after adopting a child his wife died and he never married again.
There are many stories about his nickname “Cantinflas” but according to the movie everything happened as it usually does on a night when he was acting and he forgot his lines. He was playing a drunk speaking nonsense. The part required him to say his name and rather than say Mario Moreno, he created Cantinflas and it stuck ever since.
The Royal Academy of the Language included the verb “cantinflear” in 2011 to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Cantinflear means, “to speak in a silly and nonsensical manner, without meaning.”
I didn’t know before Cantinflas became an actor he tried to be a: bullfighter, boxer, sweeper and clown. This is an untold story of Mexico’s greatest and most beloved comedy film star of all time. I was very pleased with the quality of the movie, the art, music and performances. I think it was mostly Mexican actors and actresses in the movie playing roles as Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Maria Felix, Dolores del Rio and more. It was very interesting to learn about his life. Really I encourage you to take the time to learn more about one of our most important Mexican actors from the golden years.