María Félix, an extravagant and beautiful woman, was an incredible actress. Considered by many to be one of the greatest actress of her time, her fame was limited only by her decision to not go to Hollywood. She became a legend among Spanish-speaking audiences as early 1943 when her third film, Doña Barbara, was released.
She continued to play similar characters, that is, strong-minded women with little regard to social mores and men, whom she used for her rise to fame. Although she played several femme fatales, all her characters cannot be wholly described as such. In the Mexican consciousness, she was a woman unwilling to adhere to societal rules, a woman, who rather strangely has entered the country’s modern folklore, becoming a legend even to herself so that even every character she played had traces of her public persona.
Befriending some of the most famous people, not only from Mexico, but from Europe as well, such as Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Emilio Fernández, Cecil B. DeMille, María established herself as one of the most important screen influences of the 20th century. María continues to be a mystery on the screen.
In order to see her in action, I decided to look for her movies, which, sadly, are hard to find with English subtitles. The only movie that seemed to be available quickly was Beyond All Limits through Netflix. Of course, it is hardly her best film, but still enjoyable. The larger-than-life emotions and the theatrical music points to nothing but the great melodramatic tradition of the 50s. And, of course, NO ONE has ever looked as beautiful in high heels and high-end fashion walking through the unpaved streets of a small Mexican fishing town.
For pictures and updates, visit the blog I run about Maria Felix on Tumblr. I update often, so I think it’s pretty cool!
Here you see a list of the films I have seen starring María Félix, ranked in terms of my favorites, not necessarily in terms of their cinematic qualities.