Juan Orol

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Juan Orol
Born Juan Rogelio García García
(1893-07-30)July 30, 1893
Santiso, Pontevedra, Spain
Died August 26, 1988(1988-08-26) (aged 91)
Mexico City, Mexico
Years active 1927–1981
Spouse(s) Amparo Moreno (1934-1937)
María Antonieta Pons (1940-1945)
Rosa Carmina (1950-1955)
Mary Esquivel (1955-1963)
Dinorah Judith (1964-1988)

Juan Orol (August 4, 1897 – May 26, 1988) was a Mexican actor and film director of Spanish origin. He was known as the King of Mexican Film noir. He is also known as the great Involuntary surrealist of the Cinema. Orol was also one of the main promoters of the Rumberas film in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.


Early life[edit]

Juan Rogelio García García was born on July 30, 1893 in the parish of Santiso, in the town of Lalin, Pontevedra, Spain. This migrant from the great Galician diaspora of the early twentieth century prematurely left his homeland for economic reasons. Accompanied by his parents, life took him to Cuba, and then alone, to Mexico. In Cuba, Orol lived in the "solares", the Cuban popular neighborhoods. There, he had much contact with people of African origin, who taught all dance techniques.[1]

Orol exercised in multiple simultaneous jobs in his early life: boxer, baseball player, mechanic, racing driver, journalist, actor, bullfighter and police officer. He left boxing to disfigure his face. He was about to run in Indianapolis, but he missed a few tenths to the mark of 118 miles per hour. He fought in South America under the name of "Espartero" or "Esparterito". Later, he start to on the radio as artistic director and publicist, while contacting the nascent Mexican film industry.[2]


Orol debuted in the Cinema of Mexico as supporting actor of the newly created Aspa Films under the direction of Ramón Peon, also known as the Cuban Griffith in Sagrario (1933). The following year, in view of the blockbuster, Orol risks his own capital and premieres simultaneously as producer, writer and star in the film Mujeres sin alma, also directed by Peon. He debuts as director in the film Madre querida (1935), the third production of Aspa Films. Orol, was a devotee of American Film noir, including a great admiration for the famous film gangsters of the 1930's and 1940's: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.

After the success of his first film, he filmed a second film in 1934, which serves as co-director with Ramon Peon: Mujeres sin alma, ¿venganza suprema?, which was an unexpected success and which appeared his first muse: Consuelo Moreno. The Orol films started having a seal of warranty and style, theme is almost always materialize in including the tropic, the Rumba Cubana dance, the exotic landscapes, beautiful and provocative women and the Cabaret as an ideal location. Orol managed to attract an audience to his films. He later joined the gangsters. Orol came to film in different countries: Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, United States. and Spain, participating in a wide filmography that includes 56 films, of which eight are productions, or co-productions with Cuba. Juan Orol was likewise a "one man band" performing in movies. In most of them, he participated in more than two or three of the main activities of the film: production manager, director, producer, screenwriter and actor.

The first orol production in the Cuban cinema was Siboney (1938) film, which features music by Ernesto Lecuona. Orol acts as director, producer, screenwriter and actor. In this film debuted the Cuban dancer María Antonieta Pons, the second Orol muse.

With María Antonieta Pons, Orol made films like Cruel destino (1944), Los misterios del hampa (1945), Embrujo antillano (1945) and Pasiones tormentosas (1946). This film would be the last made by the Orol-Pons dumbbell.

Then, Orol would make El amor de mi bohío (1946), as co-director, producer, actor, writer and composer, and with the Costa Rican actress Yadira Jimenez in the lead role. After his divorce and artistic separation with María Antonieta Pons, Orol discover his next muse and wife: Rosa Carmina. Rosa debuts by the Orol's hand in the film Una mujer de Oriente (1946). Rosa Carmina become the main muse of Orol. Orol and Rosa Carmina filmed about fifteen movies between 1946 and 1955. Probably the most noteworthy are the classic film Gangsters contra charros, regarded today as a Cult film.

After his separation with Rosa Carmina, Orol directed the Mexican-Cuban production La mesera del café del puerto (1955). In the same year, Orol discover to his next muse: Mary Esquivel. Esquivel debuts in the film Zonga, el a´ngel diabólico (1956). His last film with Esquivel was Tahimí, la hija del pescador (1958).

Eventually Orol knows his last muse, Dinorah Judith, with whom performed his last period as director. At this time, his films were destroyed by the critics, and reputedly, Orol falls in a strong depression. His latest films are La maldición de mi raza (1964), Antesala de la silla eléctrica (1966) and the cult classic El fantástico mundo de los hippies (1970), made with American co-production. His latest film film as director was El tren de la muerte (1978). The last appearance of Orol on the big screen was as actor in the film Ni modo, asi somos (1981). He does a cameo of himself in a brief scene in under a minute.

He died of liver disease in Mexico City on May 26, 1988, in the ruin of loneliness.

Personal life[edit]

Juan Orol was famous for import numerous actresses (mostly Cuban) to the Mexican Cinema. His first wife was Amparo Moreno, sister of the actress Consuelo Moreno, his first cinematic muse. With her he fathered to her first child, Arnoldo Orol Moreno, who between the late 1940s and early 1950s, served as executive produced of three of the Orol films. Arnoldo died in a workplace accident on a film set. Amparo died by tuberculosis in 1937.[3]

In 1938, he met in Cuba to the dancer María Antonieta Pons. Orol and Pons were dancing couple, and he decided to release her as an actress in Mexico in the film Siboney (1938). Orol and Pons were married between 1940 and 1945.[4] After divorcing Pons, Orol decided to launch to the Costa Rican actress and dancer Yadira Jimenez. However, their collaboration was fleeting. In Cuba, through the radio host Enrique Brion, Orol discovered Rosa Carmina, his next muse. Orol and Rosa Carmina were married between 1950 and 1955. Rosa Carmina is considered the most representative of his muses. After, Orol married to the also cuban actress Mary Esquivel. They were married between 1955 and 1963.[5]Later, a friend introduced him to his niece, Dinorah Judith. Judith will be his last muse and his latest wife, remaining attached to it until his death.[6]


Juan Orol was compared with the American filmmaker Ed Wood, canonized as "the worst director of all time". Orol not need a posthumous tribute to be recognized. He was successful at the box office of his time. The public admired his muses and his evil gangsters, not caring about the plot and technical poverty of his productions, ignoring criticism that vilified his work that criticism directly described as "very bad". Ed Wood, for his part, never hit the mainstream, his works were a series of failures that exhibited scarcely second circuits. But both share the precariousness of their mode of production, blind faith in their cinematic grotesques, and his followers today are considered "cult directors".[7] Orol says: I'm the director of the great public.[8]

Juan Orol is also regarded as the spiritual father called Rumberas film for having laid the foundations that enriched the genre.[9] He is also credited with the Mexican Cinema by imported two of the biggest stars of the genre: María Antonieta Pons and Rosa Carmina.

In 2012, Juan Orol is the subject of a tribute in the biopic El fantástico mundo de Juan Orol, directed by Sebastian del Amo. Orol is played by the Mexican actor Roberto Sosa.[10]

Filmography (Selected)[edit]

As Director[edit]

  • Madre Querida (1935)
  • ¿Mujeres sin Alma:Venganza Suprema? (1935)
  • Honraras a tus padres (1936)
  • Siboney (1938)
  • Cruel destino (1944)
  • Los misterios del hampa (1945)
  • Embrujo antillano (1945)
  • Pasiones tormentosas (1946)
  • El amor de mi bohío (1946)
  • Una Mujer de oriente (1946)
  • Tania, la Bella Salvaje (1947)
  • El Reino de los Gángsters (1947)
  • Gángsters contra charros (1947)
  • La mesera coja del café del puerto (1947)
  • El charro del arrabal (1948)
  • Amor salvaje (1949)
  • Cabaret Shanghai (1949)
  • Percal (Trilogía) (1951-2)
  • !Que idiotas son los hombres¡ (1952)
  • La Diosa de Tahití (Los chacales de la Isla Verde) (1952)
  • Sandra, la mujer de fuego (1953)
  • El Sindicato del Crímen (1954)
  • Bajo la influencia del miedo (Gangsterismo en el deporte) (1955)
  • Secretaria peligrosa (Agente internacional) (1955)
  • Zonga, el Ángel Diabólico (1957)
  • La tórtola del Ajusco (1960)
  • Tahimi, la hija del pescador (1961)
  • Bajo el manto de la noche (1962)
  • La maldición de mi raza (1962)
  • Antesala de la silla eléctrica (1967)
  • El Fantástico mundo de los Hippies (1968)
  • Historia de un Gángster (1968)
  • El tren de la muerte (1979)

As Actor[edit]

  • Sagrario (1934)
  • Siboney (1938)
  • Una Mujer de oriente (1946)
  • El Reino de lod Gángsters (1947)
  • Gangsters contra charros (1947)
  • El Sindicato del Crímen (1954)
  • Bajo la influencia del miedo (1955)
  • Plazos traicioneros (1958)
  • Historia de un Gángster (1968)
  • México de Noche (1974)
  • Adriana del Río, actriz (1979)
  • Ni modo, Así somos (1981)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Muñóz Castillo, Fernando. Las Reinas del Trópico, México, 1993, ed.Grupo Azabache, p.211
  2. ^ [ http://www.elespectadorimaginario.com/pages/febrero-2012/investigamos/la-vida-es-peor-que-una-pelicula-de-juan-orol.php#sdfootnote7sy La vida es peor que una película de Juan Orol]
  3. ^ Desde mi luneta: Musas, divas y esposas de Juan Orol por ciclos
  4. ^ SOMOS (1999), p. 10
  5. ^ The Broken Image: Las mujeres de Juan Orol
  6. ^ La actriz Fernanda Romero interpreta a Dinorah Judith
  7. ^ La vida es peor que una película de Juan Orol: El Ed Wood mexicano
  8. ^ Muñóz Castillo, Fernando. Las Reinas del Trópico, México, 1993, ed.Grupo Azabache, p.212
  9. ^ SOMOS (1999), p. 6-8
  10. ^ El Universal: El fantástico mundo de Juan Orol llega al cine

External links[edit]