Pancho Villa Signs Movie Contract

    Francisco "Pancho" Villa Movie Contract Signed "Francisco Villa." Five pages, 7" x 11.5" (sight), El Paso [Texas], January 5, 1914. This is a typed contract between Villa and the Mutual Film Corporation, a New York film studio considering production of a silent film based on the Mexican folk hero's life. Villa was represented in this contract by attorneys Eugenio Aguirre Benavides and Gunther R. Lessing of El Paso. (Sixteen years later, Lessing was hired by Walt Disney as general counsel.)

    In need of money to continue his role in the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa signed this contract, which stipulated that for $10 plus 20% of all net returns from the release of the film, the Mutual Film Corporation gained "exclusive right to take cinematograph moving or motion pictures of all movements of troops, military operations, battles, etc., and other occurrences of interest of the army and troops under the command of the said Villa." Villa agreed to furnish the film crew safe conduct "through the lines of the troops under the command of said Villa," while also furnishing them "safe and sufficient means of transportation in Mexico." According to the contract, other conditions also applied, such as the agreement that the film crew "at all times be subject to the orders of the said Villa."

    Eventually, the silent film-The Life of General Villa -was produced with Villa playing himself, premiering on May 14, 1914, in New York. (Except for a few fragments, the location of the film is unknown today.) The signatures of Eugenio Aguirre Benavides, Gunther Lessing, Frank Thayer (representative for Mutual Film Corporation), and other representatives of the studio occur on page five. Villa's signature is signed boldly and clearly under "Ratified." All five pages are matted and attractively framed to an overall size of 42.5" x 16.25". The pages of the letter are toned with smoothed folds.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,284

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Floor auctions

    Open for bidding: (View All)

    Fine Art
    Ends on 01/30/2018

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 June 10 - 11 Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Chicago.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 December 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 December 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,735,414