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Pancho Villa, Inc.

"In 1914, a Hollywood motion picture company signed a contract with Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa in which he agreed to fight his revolution according to the studio's scenario in return for $25,000. The Hollywood crew went down to Mexico and joined Villa's guerilla force. The director told Pancho Villa where and how to fight his battles. The cameraman, since he could only shoot in daylight, made Pancho Villa start his fighting every day at 9:00 a.m. and stop at 4:00 p.m. -- sometimes forcing Villa to cease his real warring until the camera could be moved to a new angle. When the completed film was brought back to Hollywood, it was found too unbelievable to be released -- and most of it had to be reshot on the studio lot."

["The film and television historian Erik Barnouw, in his excellent survey of the documentary, lists a dozen cases from the early years where material was simply faked. Finding that on film Teddy Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill looked more like a hike on a hot day, producers at Vitagraph re-enacted the battle of Santiago Bay in miniature on a tabletop and added it to what they had shot in Cuba. The British producer James Williamson filmed the Boer War on a golf course. Thomas Edison made a documentary of the Russo-Japanese War on Long Island. Biograph exhibited a movie called 'The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius' made nowhere near Mt. Vesuvius. The Danish mogul Ole Olsen produced a safari documentary by buying a couple of aging lions from the Copenhagen zoo, moving them to an island, and, inter-cutting stock jungle footage, filming them being killed by hired 'hunters'..."]

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