Villoldo and his criollo tango, “Sacame una película, gordito”
By León Benarós
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ho was the fat guy in question that attracted Villoldo’s curiosity?
No other but an Italian that came to our city in 1905 fronting the choir of an opera company that stayed in Buenos Aires when his partners left.
This character had jobs as pianist at cafés where writers, theater people, and journalists used to go. But his destiny was another one. The beginnings of cinema tempted him. So in 1908 he became the pioneer of Argentine cinema when he made the first film with script in its history. His name was Mario Gallo.
He had two partners for the distribution of foreign movies. Later he shot short documentaries like “Plazas y paseos de Buenos Aires” (Plazas and promenades of Buenos Aires) and lastly he began “El fusilamiento de Dorrego” (the shooting of Dorrego) with actors of our theater milieu.
Thereafter he shot “Juan Moreira”. It was adapted by a future man of tango, José González Castillo and the young actor Enrique Muiño was starred. Around 1910 he shot “La creación del himno” (the creation of the anthem) and “La revolución de mayo” (The revolution of May). The same year he made “Muerte civil” (Civil death) starring the tragic Italian Giovanni Grasso.
Later on, among other titles, it’s worthwhile to highlight “La batalla de Maipú” (The battle of Maipú), shot in the location that today occupies the River Plate stadium and, previously, a race track. The actors that played the role of San Martín and O´Higgins had never before rode on horseback. Because of that they fell to the ground when they tried the historical embrace.
Gallo left his imprint in the industry of cinema and opened the big screen to the historic genre. He had his years of fame. As the history of tango includes a great portion of the daily history of our city and of our country too, someone paid attention to him. In this case, a founding name like that of Ángel Villoldo’s.