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Before there was Viva Zapata!, the acclaimed film for which John Steinbeck received Academy Award nominations for best story and screenplay, there was the original Zapata.
In the research library of UCLA, James Robertson unearthed Steinbeck's original narraive of the life of Emiliano Zapato, "the Little Tiger," champion of the peasants during the Mexican Revolution. This story, upon which Steinbeck based his classic script Viva Zapata!, brilliantly captures the conflict between creative dissent and intolerant militancy to give us both a timesless social statement and an invaluable work of art.
This new volume includes the screenplay, with copious notes by the film's acclaimed director, Elia Kazan, as well as Steinbeck's captivating narrative.
himself. He was trying to hold Huerta in check. Then Huerta killed him. He was a good man, Emiliano. He wanted to build houses and plant fields. And he was right. If we could begin to build—even while the burning goes on. If we could plant while we destroy… FERNANDO: This is your defense? SOUND of execution offstage. PABLO: You and Villa will beat Huerta, soon! But then, there will be other Huertas, always other Huertas! Killing only makes new enemies, Emiliano…. FERNANDO: You deserted our
careful what you say to me! EMILIANO: Eufemio, did you take land away from these people? EUFEMIO: I took what I wanted. An INDIAN WOMAN behind EUFEMIO moves. EMILIANO: Eufemio, I… EUFEMIO: I took their wives, too. He looks directly at a MAN who stands behind EMILIANO. Close Shot—the Man We recognize him as a MEMBER of the DELEGATION. He is looking at the WOMAN behind EUFEMIO. Murder is in the air. Close Shot—the Woman, her eyes filled with shame and fear. Group Shot around
authorities of the Spanish church, far from being cruel and rapacious, actually brought to Mexico a new sense of the dignity of men and brought, also, a concept of the importance of the individual soul—a thing which was completely foreign to Indian thinking. Indeed, the early members of the Spanish church allied themselves quite often with the Indians against the Spanish conquerors. The cruelties and the slaveries of the Spanish domination were condemned equally by the Spanish throne and by the
with another individual.”21 Steinbeck composes such a scene very carefully. We first see eggs being beaten for rubbing down Arabian stallions. A hungry little girl dips her finger into the mixture and licks it. The mother, seeing Zapata observe this, slaps the child, who looks away in shame, and Zapata also looks away in shame. The manager says such people are lazy and orders servants to rub down the horses better. When the manager beats a starving boy whom he catches stealing food from the
time has come! EMILIANO has raised his HORSE’s front foot and is pulling off a loose shoe. EMILIANO SPEAKS soothingly to the HORSE. EMILIANO: Steady, Blanco… steady…. EUFEMIO: I don’t understand it. How can this Madero stay in the United States? Why don’t they lock him up? FERNANDO: Up there they protect political refugees— EUFEMIO: Why? PABLO (groping for an explanation): Well—up there they are a democracy. EMILIANO: We’re a democracy, too, and look what’s happened. PABLO (earnestly):