Even while leading his rebel troops into civil war against the Mexican federales, bandit leader/patriot Pancho Villa was finalizing a contract with the Mutual Film Corporation. Several films both factual and fictional resulted from this transaction, including the one-reel quasi-documentary The Battle of Toreon, which was double-featured in most markets with the six-reel The Career of General Villa. Most of the "actuality" footage in Battle of Toreon was photographed by future Oscar-winner Charles Rosher, who got along splendidly with Villa, even though Rosher was aware that one misstep or misunderstanding might cost him his life. The Career of General Villa, a romanticized account of how Villa rose from persecution and deprivation to become one of the prime movers of the revolution, was supposed to have been directed by D.W. Griffith, but Griffith was too busy with Birth of a Nation to travel to Mexico, so he entrusted the film to an assistant, Christy Cabanne. Actor/director Raoul Walsh, who supervised much of the background footage and the restaged action scenes, played Villa as a young man. Other Griffith regulars in the cast included Mae Marsh and Robert Harron. The dramatized portion of this two-part presentation was later retitled The Life of General Villa.
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