1942, November 20 – PREMIERE OF “LA GUERRA GAUCHA”

Film – the film’s budget was so constrained that in one scene, director Lucas Demare had to play a Spanish soldier who gets hit by a lance, however the lance hit him so hard that for a moment they feared that he had actually been killed…the film however turned out to be a great success; for its time it was the biggest and most expensive film in Argentinean history….the musical score was composed by Lucio Demare composer of many tangos including the immortal “Malena“…the idea and the screenplay came from Homero Manzi, the lyricist of some of the most beloved tangos like “Paisaje” and “Sur”…The film, based on the epic novel by Leopoldo Lugones, (who committed suicide in 1938)  is set in 1817 when Argentinean guerrillas are fighting a battle of independence..

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Interestingly the film was inspired by the intense debate at the time over whether Argentina should side with the Axis or Allies in World War II; the debate caused a return to the country’s tango and indigenous gaucho roots…the film was also groundbreaking in that it was produced through a cooperative of artists along the lines of United Artists in the U.S…Luca Demare a bandoneon player and singer with the orchestra of his brother Lucio, started working in cinema in Spain as a chalkboard holder… the total production cost was 269,000 pesos, approximately 55,000 US dollars…the extras  were paid between 3 and 4 pesos per workday; a theater seat at the time, cost 3 pesos…the cost was completely recouped in the nineteen weeks the film stayed at the opening theaters.

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