Girl from Mexico, The (1939): Star Vehicle for Lupe Velez, Which Became Film Franchise

Directed by Leslie Goodwins and scripted by Lionel Houser and Joseph Fields, The Girl from Mexico was a low-budget vehicle for the star Lupe Velez, whose career was declining.

Velez’s only film released in 1939, it marked her return to the screen after eighteen months.

Veles plays Carmelita Fuentes, a hot-headed, fast-talking Mexican singer, who is taken to the Big City of New York for a radio gig. While there, she falls for the ad agency man.

This film’s unexpected box-office success led to a sequel, Mexican Spitfire, and eventually to a franchise of seven films.

All eight films were directed by Goodwins, cast comedian Leon Errol as comic foil, and displayed Vélez’s indefatigable energy.

Needless to say, in the process she perpetuated cultural stereotypes, such as broken-English malapropisms, troublemaking ideas, sudden bursts of temper, sight gags, physical shticks (like being thrown into a fountain and returning the favor), occasional songs, and bursts of Spanish invective.

Running time: 71 minutes

RKO released the film on June 2, 1939.