Celluloid Pueblo: Western Ways Films and the Invention of the Postwar Southwest
Dr. Jennifer Jenkins
University of Arizona
The US-Mexico border is open for business in By-Ways in Sonora, a 12- minute black-and-white sound film. Shot on spec by Charles and Lucile Herberts Western Ways Film Service in 1939/40, the theme of this piece is safe and affordable tourism in Mexico: good roads, great scenery, andapparentlyvery few locals to deal with. The voiceover claims amazing change down Mexico way, while the montage offers images of Old Mexico in the classic travelogue mode: missions, cattle, and tourist goods. The Herberts stage the spectacle of Mexico as an exotic but safe and domesticated frontier.
The Sonoran desert borderlands have compelled photographers since the advent of the technology. The regions variety of Native, Spanish colonial and hybrid Mexican subjects, from people to landscape to architecture and all of their complex cultural blends, continue to present picturesque compositional opportunities. Charles and Lucile Herberts Western Ways footage, shot in the late 1930s, bridges the archaeological and the commercial, showing the Kino missions in settings often largely unchanged for 250 years and invoking the romantic-nostalgic imagery of Old Mexico. Two notable reels from the Herberts Mexico work document the Kino Mission system, beginning and ending with Mission San Xavier del Bac and including a re-enactment of Father Kinos entrada into the Pimería Alta.
Scottish Rite Cathedral, downtown Tucson (View)
160 S. Scott Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|