Salvador Toscano

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Salvador Toscano Barragán
Salvador Toscano c 1921.jpg
Salvador Toscano, c. 1921
Born 22 March 1872
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Died 14 April 1947
Mexico City
Occupation Filmmaker and director, producer, distributor of early Mexican films.
Known for First Mexican filmmaker

Salvador Toscano Barragán (22 March 1872 – 14 April 1947), also known as Salvador Toscano, was a director, producer and distributor of early Mexican cinema films.[1] He was Mexico's first filmmaker.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Toscano was born in 1872 in Guadalajara, Jalisco.[1][2] He began studying to become a mining engineer, however changed his career to become a filmmaker.[2][3] He used a Cinematograph camera and projector which was first introduced in France in 1895.[2] It was introduced into Mexico a year later when the first presentation of film in Mexico was made on 15 August 1896.[2][5]

Toscano opened Mexico's first public movie theatre at 17 Jesús María Street in Mexico City in 1897.[2][7][8] In the public theater he showed such famous early films as The Great Train Robbery, A Trip to the Moon, and The Kingdom of the Fairies.[2]

Toscano began his movie career by filming local scenes in Mexico and local news events.[2][3][5] Some early short film titles of these, made in 1896 and 1897, were Men in Scuffle on the Main Square and Rural Police Riding Their Horses.[5]

Toscano began full length production filming in 1898, directing and producing his own movies.[2][3] They were mostly documentaries pertaining to Mexico.[2][3] Toscano was the producer of the first full-length film in Mexico.[2][3][6][7] It was fiction based on the play Don Juan Tenorio.[2][3][4][6][9] The film was made in 1898 starring the Mexican actor Paco Gavilanes.[2][6]

Toscano was a documentary filmmaker mostly however. He filmed on the Mexican Revolution and most of his movie making was on this subject.[2][3]

Toscano had a rival named Enrique Rosas who also produced films in Mexico at the same time.[5] Many movie theaters had been constructed by 1902 in Mexico City and within a few years many more were spread throughout Mexico.[5] Toscano's last film was shot in 1921.[2]

Toscano's daughter Carmen took many scenes of his Mexican revolutionary documentary films and reintroduced it under the title of Memorias de un mexicano (Memoirs of a Mexican) in 1950.[2][3][4][5][10] The scenes were filmed by Toscano between 1897 and 1923. Much of the footage was about President Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary events of his reign.[2][3][5][7][10] The reintroduced film was 100 minutes long and premiered 24 August 1950.[2][3][5][10]

One of the propaganda "photo-ops" Toscano made of Díaz was called General Díaz on a Stroll Through Chapultepec Park.[5] Toscano also made documentary films of Díaz's grand celebration of Mexico's first one hundred years of independence.[5]

Since 1982 the movie industry of Mexico has awarded the Salvador Toscano Medal in recognition of outstanding contribution to Mexican cinematography.[11]


  • Lopez, Ana, "Early Cinema and Modernity in Latin America", Cinema Journal, 40.1 (2000), pp. 48–78.
  • Michel, Manuel, "Mexican Cinema: A Panoramic View", Film Quarterly, July 1965, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 46–55.
  • Herbert, Stephen et al., Who's Who in Victorian Cinema: A Worldwide Survey, BFI 1996, ISBN 0-85170-539-1
  • Nicholson, Irene, "Mexican Films: Their Past and Their Future", The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television, April 1956, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 248–252

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Directores del Cine Mexicano: Salvador Toscano". Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Salvador Toscano Barragan - Mexico's first filmmaker". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Mexican Cinema". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "Movies - Cinema of Mexico". Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Standish, pp. 120-121
  6. ^ a b c d Bethell, p. 521, The first man in Mexico to make a primitive fiction film was Salvador Toscano Barragan (1872-1941), in 1898, with the first of many film versions of that nineteenth-century romantic staple, "Don Juan Tenorio."
  7. ^ a b c d Raat, p. 35, The father of the Mexican film industry was Salvador Toscano Barragán.
  8. ^ Noble, p. 59
  9. ^ Noble, p. 27
  10. ^ a b c Noble, p. 58-9 and p. 195
  11. ^ Jaszczak, p. 348


  • BETHELL, Leslie, The Cambridge History of Latin America, Cambridge University Press 1995, ISBN 0-521-23225-2
  • CIUK, Pearl. (2000). Diccionario de directores del cine mexicano . (2000). Dictionary of directors of Mexican cinema. México: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA) y Cineteca Nacional. Mexico: National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta) and Cineteca Nacional. ISBN 970-18-5590-6
  • DÁVALOS Orozco, Federico (1996). Albores del cine mexicano . Davalos Orozco, Federico (1996). Albores of Mexican cinema. ISBN 968-6932-45-3
  • JASZCZAK, Sandra, Awards, Honors & Prizes: International and Foreign 1996-97, Gale Group 1996, ISBN 0-8103-9175-9
  • NOBLE, Andrea, Mexican national cinema, Routledge 2005, ISBN 0-415-23010-1
  • RAAT, Dirk, Twentieth-century Mexico, University of Nebraska Press 1986, ISBN 0-8032-8914-6
  • RAMÍREZ, Gabriel (1989). Crónica del cine mudo mexicano . Ramirez, Gabriel (1989). Chronicle of Mexican silent film. ISBN 968-805-416-X
  • REYES, Aurelio de los (1983). Cine y sociedad en México 1896-1930: vivir de sueños . Reyes, Aurelio de los (1983). Cinema and society in Mexico 1896-1930: live dreams. Vol. Vol. 1. 1. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. ISBN 968-36-3125-8
  • STANDISH, Peter et al., Culture and customs of Mexico, Greenwood Publishing Group 2004, ISBN 0-313-30412-2
  • VARIOS (1996). Salvador Toscano: 1872-1947. Pionero del cine nacional. Pioneer of national cinema. México: Comité para la Conmemoración de los Cien Años del Cine Mexicano. Mexico: Committee for the Commemoration of the Hundred Years of Mexican Cinema. Folleto del homenaje a Salvador Toscano con motivo del Centenario del Cine Mexicano. Brochure tribute to Salvador Toscano to mark the centenary of the Mexican Cinema.
  • VIÑAS, Moisés (1992). Índice cronológico del cine mexicano (1896-1992) . Vine, Moses (1992). Chronological index of Mexican cinema (1896-1992). México: Dirección General de Actividades Cinematográficas de la UNAM. ISBN 968-36-2487-1