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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Silent Films of Lupe Velez


Maria Guadalupe Vélez de Villalobos, named after Our Lady of Guadalupe, an important icon of Mexican religiosity, ironically, became one of the most exoticized Latin temptresses of Classical Hollywood cinema during the 1940s. Today, Vélez is remembered as a Mexicana that broke into Hollywood during the silent era, only to later become one of the most hyper-sexualized Latinas in United States film history. The author began to research Vélez because she wanted to learn more about what writers seemed to be avoiding and it is for this reason that she discusses the silent film history from the perspective of a film archivist. The author hopes that the research can perhaps begin to unravel why the silent period of Vélez's career has so often been left in the dark.

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