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The Puerto Vallarta Movie Pick: The Night of the Iguana on DVD

by Craig Zabransky on August 16, 2011

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As the blockbuster movie season wanes in the final month of summer, many people return to renting DVDs. I just added Limitless (released August 16th) to my Netflix queue. I’ll admit I want to see the car chase scene filmed on the streets along the seaside Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.

After putting it to the top of my list, I recalled the movie that essentially put Puerto Vallarta on the top of the international scene. And this August marks forty-seven years since the film debuted in New York City.

Hollywood’s Golden Age in Mexico

At the tail end of the golden age of Hollywood, Ava Gardner, Richard Burton and director John Huston all came to Puerto Vallarta to film The Night of the Iguana.  Yet, he main plot was hardly the film. An off set romance ignited interest in the sleepy seaside town. The international press and paparrazzi arrived in full force. They all came to see, photograph, and report on Elizabeth Taylor (not cast in the movie) and Richard Burton’s torrid affair.

Eventually, both actors purchased a house in Puerto Vallarta and spent much of their lives there after the film. But the movie and its romance allowed the world to discover Puerto Vallarta.

the beach located not far from Mismaloya - the set of the film.

Three Reasons to rent The Night of the Iguana on DVD today

The classic film is still worth watching today even if you are not a classic movie buff. Here are three reasons.

1) To see how much Puerto Vallarta and Hollywood productions have changed in the last 47 years. It’s incredible.

2) To watch the film’s beautiful imagery of Mexico in black and white footage. It will make you to travel to the pristine beaches and see them in color. And actually many of the jungle beaches around Mismaloya (a film location) remain unchanged. Thankfully.

3) To determine which you prefer the fantastic or the realistic?  By the end Richard Burton’s character, the Reverend Shannon’s struggles reach an apex as he describes the “realistic” and the “fantastic.”  For me, it was the movie’s climax and its best scene. Easy decision? maybe not, watch it and let me know which you choose?

Photo: Film – Courtsey of Turner Classic Movies; Beach shot by Craig Zabransky

Craig travels around the world to write tales of travel aimed to encourage and inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. And after calling Mexico home for over a year, it secured a special place in his heart. He continues to return often and often considers it his second home. You can find more of his travels on his Stay Adventurous site and follow him on his Twitter: @stayadventurous..
Craig Zabransky
View all posts by Craig Zabransky
  • http://www.simplyvallarta.com Chase Buckner

    I just watched Night of the Iguana for the first time last year and I was blown away by how “edgy” the film must have been when it first came out. It was definitely more interesting than I expected an old black and white to be!

  • Marivic

    I love classics but have never seen this. Thanks for the tip, I will go and rent it soon.

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ Craig Zabransky

    @Marivic, definitely put it on your list if love classics… as @Chase mentions it is a bit edgy, and rather enjoyable too.

    stay adventurous, Craig

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