Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898-1948)

Que viva Mexico : Photographs and Materials Related to the Film

Includes photographs and materials related to his film, Que Viva Mexico!

Includes materials about Upton Sinclair.

To request these materials for use, complete a Lilly Library charge card indicating the specific item(s) desired.

Examples:

PG 3476						PG 3476
.E54						.E54
Photo Items 1013-1019				Caption 3a

Introduction

The basic facts concerning Sergei Eisenstein's attempt to make a film in Mexico in 1931 are well established. In 1928, Eisenstein, Eduard Tissé and G.V. Alexandrov left Russia for Western Europe. In April of 1930 Eisenstein signed a contract with Paramount pictures, and arrived in Hollywood in June. Several projects including a film version of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, were proposed, but agreement could not be reached on any of them, and in October the contract was terminated.

Through the intervention of Charlie Chaplin, Eisenstein met with Upton Sinclair and his wife, and they agreed to help finance a film to be made in Mexico. The contract was signed on 24 November 1930.

Eisenstein and his party arrived in Mexico City on 9 December 1930. They left in mid-February of 1932, in a flurry of artistic, economic and political controversy, with the film still unfinished. They were refused entry visas to the U.S. At Laredo, Texas, and did not reach New York until the end of March. On 19 April 1932, Eisenstein sailed for Europe, and despite later negotiations, he was never able to complete the film or edit the footage than had been shot.

In 1933, a portion of the film, which had remained under Sinclair’s control, was released as Thunder Over Mexico. Since then, other portions of the film have been released on occasion, but the film that Eisenstein would have made has been irretrievably lost. While the facts are straightforward enough, their interpretations have been widely divergent. As the 15-page bibliography in Geduld and Gottesman’s Sergei Eisenstein and Upton Sinclair: The Making and Unmaking of Que Viva Mexico! attests the interest in this 50-year-old film – or un-film if you prefer – has been high ever since the venture was first announced. Charges and counter-charges as to who was the villain, who the victim, have been leveled by the principals as well as by people with no connection at all to the original enterprise.

Geduld and Gottesman’s book is probably the most balanced and complete treatment of the whole affair, which is currently available. It is based on large part on the correspondence between Sinclair, Eisenstein and other individuals involved in the actual filming, correspondence which is in the Lilly Library Manuscripts (see “Other Source Material in Lilly Library,” p. 107ff).

The photos, negatives, loose photo captions, and postcards in this collection were acquired by Lilly Library as part of the Upton Sinclair archives. The photos were taken before and during the actual filming, and include both shots of scenes from the film and of the crew at work and play. The captions were intended to accompany photos used to publicize the release of Thunder Over Mexico. The nearly 80 postcards include both commercial cards and ones prepared from photos taken by and of the crew.

The photos and negatives have been numbered consecutively through 1225. There are many nearly identical shots of the same subject, which have been designated –a, --b, --c, etc. Counting these separately, the total number of photos and negatives, excluding duplicates, is 1514.

The preparation of the list, which was accomplished by the separate efforts of two individuals, took almost exactly as long as the making of the film. Inconsistencies in identification and terminology have been corrected as far as possible, but may still be found. Any additional information which can be furnished by individuals using this collection as to correct identification of persons, places and/or dates will be greatly appreciated.

The identification of dates, locales and people, and the spellings of names found in this list are taken from Geduld and Gottesman’s book. The basic arrangement of the photos and negatives is chronological, based on the “Chronology and Itinerary” in Geduld and Gottesman. For ease of storage, the large and medium size photos and the small (ca. 3.5 x 4.5 cm.) photos have been arranged in separate sections. Within each of these, the photos are further divided into shots from and for the film and biographical shots, in which crew members and others not in the film appear. Because this arrangement results in photos taken in one locale appearing in four different places in the list, a place name index has been added to assist those who maybe interested in material from particular locations (see page 111).

In requesting photos in the collection, please give the full call number (PG 3476 .E54) followed by the photo item, caption or postcard number(s) of the material desired. Be sure to indicate whether the item desired is a photo, postcard or caption (e.g. PG 3476 .E54 Photo Items 37-45).

LARGE & MEDIUM SIZE PRINTS AND NEGATIVES

FROM AND FOR THE FILM
Mexico City, ca. Jan. 1931
Tehuantepec, ca. 6 Feb. 1931
San Blas, ca. 17 Feb. 1931
Mérida, Yucatan, ca. 22-31 Mar. 1931
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, 12-17 April, 1931
Izamal, Yucatan
Xochimilco, ca 10 May-16 June 1931
Hacienda Tetlapayac
MEXICO CITY, ca. 31 Aug. - 9 Sept. 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. Sept. - Nov. 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. 12 - 20 Nov, 1931
MEXICO CITY - ca. 12 - 20 Nov. 1931
UNIDENTIFIED FILM SHOTS
BIOGRAPHICAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND NEGATIVES - LARGE AND MEDIUM SIZE
MOUNT VERNON, VIRGINIA, ca, May 1930
CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA, Summer 1930
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA, Summer 1930
MEXICO CITY, ca. December 1930
TEHUANTEPEC. ca 6 February 1931
CHICHEN ITZA, YUCATAN, 12-17 April 1931
IZAMAL, YUCATAN, 21-28 April 1931
PROGRESO, YUCATAN Ca. 29 April 1931
HACIENDA TETLAPAYAC, HIDALGO STATE, May-August 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. Sept-Nov. 1931
MEXICO CITY, 12-20 Nov. 1931
UNIDENTIFIED BIOGRAPHICAL SHOTS

SMALL PHOTOGRAPHS AND NEGATIVES (ca. 3.5 x 4.5 cm)

FROM AND FOR THE FILM
TEHUANTEPEC, ca 6 Feb 1931
MÉRIDA, YUCATAN, ca 22-31 March 1931
CHICHEN ITZA, YUCATAN, 12-17 April 1931
IZAMAL, YUCATAN, 21-28 April 1931
HACIENDA TETLAPAYAC, HIDALGO STATE, May-August 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca 31 Aug-9 Sept. 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca 12-20 Nov. 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. Nov 1931
UNIDENTIFIED FILM SHOTS (SMALL PRINTS)
BIOGRAPHICAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND NEGATIVES, SMALL SIZE (ca 3.5 x 4.5 cm.)
MÉRIDA, YUCATAN, ca March 1931
CHICHÉN ITZÁ, YUCATAN, 12-17 April 1931
IZAMAL, YUCATAN, 21-28 April 1931
PROGRESO, YUCATAN, ca. 29 April 1931
HACIENDA TETLAPAYAC, HILDAGO STAGE, May-August 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. Sept-Nov 1931
UNIDENTIFIED BIOGRAPHICAL SHOTS, SMALL SIZE

PHOTO CAPTIONS

These are typed notes similar to those attached to a number of the film shots. They were evidently done to identify photos released for publicity.

POSTCARDS

Postcards, both commercial and biographical, and postcard-sized pictures. They are arranged in chronological order.

TEHUANTEPEC, Feb 1931
SAN BLAS, ca. 17 February 1931
MÉRIDA, YUCATAN, ca. 22-31 March 1931
CHICHÉN ITZÁ, YUCATAN, 12-17 April 1931
PROGRESO, YUCATAN, ca. 29 April 1931
MEXICO CITY, CA. 31 August - 9 Sept. 1931
MEXICO CITY, ca. Sept-Nov 1931
MEXICO CITY, 12-20 Nov 1931
BIOGRAPHICAL SHOTS, DATE AND LOCALE UNKNOWN

OTHER SOURCE MATERIAL IN LILLY LIBRARY

BOOKS AND CATALOGUES
JOURNALS
REPRINTS AND CLIPPINGS
MISCELLANEOUS

PLACE NAME INDEX

The numbers which follow the entries are item numbers, not page numbers. The letters preceding the item numbers indicate whether the material consists of photos from the film (F), biographical photos (B), captions (C) or postcards (P).