Document Type


Publication Date



Hollywood star, María Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete, best known as Dolores del Río, was admired for her beauty and cross-over appeal during her career (1930–1960s). Since her first role in Joanna (1925), the construction and marketing of del Río as a cinematic star has captured the spectator’s social imagination and presents images of Latinas that are beautiful, “exotic,” accessible, translatable, and consumable. Body and language play vital roles in constructing the image spectators have grown to expect from del Río. Her filmic identity negotiates the “wilderness of theory or difference” Elaine Showalter discusses in “Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness,” and which film theorist Linda Williams examines as the “wild zone” in “A Jury of Their Peers: Marleen Gorris’s A Question of Silence.” Del Río’s identity exemplifies how her career was bound by language that constructs Latina culture and sexuality within a patriarchal ideology. I demonstrate how del Río utilizes her roles in the films María Candelaria: A Love Story of Mexico’s Floating Gardens (1943) and The Fugitive (1947) to negotiate the “wilderness of difference” that women actresses struggled through in the early twentieth century.

Copyright Statement

This is an author's accepted manuscript of an article published in Women's Studies, 43(2), 202-229. February 20, 2014. © Taylor & Francis, available online at: Doi: 10.1080/00497878.2014.863106