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.
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