Mexican Vintage Video

I found the video below on a blog, the author of which found it on another blog. It’s a great video from early 1940’s Mexico. In full technicolor glory! The sort of video I’ve been searching for for ages. I’ve seen lots of videos from my own country from the early 40’s, but few of them in colour. And the contrast between the two nations during that period cannot be overstated.

I’d love to be able to step back to 40’s and 50’s Mexico and spend a few years seeing the sights as they were, when the Zocalo was a green plaza without half a town’s worth of plastic tents filled with protesters on hunger strike. Check out the lives of Diego, Frida and Leon Trotsky as they made modern Mexican history. Visit Coyoacan when it was still a town in it’s own rights, separated from DF by green fields and canals.

I went hunting through the links on the video’s YouTube page to see what other bits of film I could dig up. TravelTalks had a second short Mexico film about motoring through the country which is worth watching. There’s also this 1941 US made film about Mexico in general. And another, but from a little later in 1947. In Spanish, there is the first ever Telecast in Mexico from 1950.

Here’s the rather crooked looking President Diaz Ordaz opening the Mexico City metro system, and a video of the first line being built. For sports fans here’s a propoer widescreen video covering the opening of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, and this brief video showing the opening of the World Cup in Mexico two years later.

17 thoughts on “Mexican Vintage Video

    1. I agree that it was fortunate that this film got into circulation before color film became scarce during WW II.

      Anybody else notice the hats that the women in the Reforma Hotel roof garden were wearing?

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      1. Color film was not scare during WWII, In fact, it was utilized professionally more than ever before. James FitzPatrick’s “TravelTaalks,” which were released by MGM from the early ’30s to the early ’50s, were, in fact, ALWAYS filmed in color.

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  1. I want to travel back in that time and try to stop the urban nightmare that now is the city. I don’t know if I should cry or laugh when I see those images. I cannot put the picture in my mind of a street with transit of old cars over the ruins of the Templo Mayor…crazy!

    Here’s another vintage video about the city, with bad quality unfortunately:

    That was a wonderful travel in time Fary, thanks.

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    1. I know what you mean! What could have been, huh….

      That’s another great video find. I guess that JFK was Catholic was probably a big deal in Mexico. The quality isn’t brilliant, as you say, but you can make out a few landmarks. Torre Latinoamericana for one. Which I guess was still relatively new back then.

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  2. Pretty cool find! A lot of interesting changes, and a lot of interesting similarities. Reforma Ave looks so different without the large glass and steel buildings it has now. Looking around the Angel, it’s bordered by nothing at all!

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    1. To say it’s changed is an understatement to say the least! There’s a few buildings there that I must now hunt down though! Not the Reforma Hotel, sadly….coming up to 25 years too late to check out that roof garden.

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  3. It’d be fun to recreate this video, but there’s a few places in the video that I can’t place. Anyone able to help???

    Departamentos Washington – where are these?
    Hotel Reforma – still there, or has it been rebuilt?
    The Metro Goldwyn Mayer building.
    The apartment block built by the matador.
    The Polo field.
    The Mexico City Country Club.

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      1. I’ve had a look on Google Street View with no luck. But the building may have gone.

        I have now found the Hotel Reforma, MC Country Club and have a possible for the polo field.

        The apartment blocks built by the matador is going to be the hardest to find I suspect.

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  4. Wow! What a cool video. Y’all are noting the changes, but I’m amazed at how much is still the same. But the statue of George Washington appears to have been replaced by the Reloj Chino. Unless there’s another similar building behind in the city.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we’d be surprised if you could recognize as much from a film shot in the 1940’s

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    1. I looked into the Chinese Clock as a possible location….I don;t think it is sadly. I used Google Maps Street View (what a work of wonder that is!) and can’t see anything there. But it was a worthwhile tip. I turned up an awfully old photo from 1848 showing the glorieta de la Fuente de la Libertad, which is now gone with the Reloj Chino in its place. Whether there was anything sat there between the two monuments I do not know.
       glorieta de la Fuente de la Libertad

      http://www.mexicomaxico.org/Reforma/reformaGlor.htm

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