The Night of the Iguana: Celebrating its 60th Filming Anniversary
In 2023, Puerto Vallarta will be celebrating an important cinematic milestone: the 60th anniversary of the filming of The Night of the Iguana (1963). This masterpiece, based on the play by Tennessee Williams, brought together stars such as Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Sue Lyon and Deborah Kerr, under the masterful direction of John Huston, then one of Hollywood’s leading filmmakers.
To commemorate this event that put Puerto Vallarta on international screens, the Centro Universitario de la Costa of the University of Guadalajara has prepared an academic and cultural program to be held on November 21st and 22nd, 2023.
PROGRAM OF CULTURAL EVENTS
Tuesday, November 21st
Book Presentation: Puerto Vallarta de Película: Cine, Imaginario Urbano y Desarrollo Local
Author: Dr. Marco Antonio Cortés Guardado, former general rector of UdeG.
Venue: La Noche de la Iguana Room (Centro Universitario de la Costa)
Talk: A 60 años de la filmación de La Noche de la Iguana en Puerto Vallarta
Strategic local personalities will participate.
Venue: Los Mangos Library.
Wednesday, November 22nd
Screening of the Documentary: Nuestro Amigo Americano. Vida y Obra de Huston en México
Director: Gerardo Lara.
Venue: Escuela Preparatoria Regional de Puerto Vallarta
Film Screening: The Night of the Iguana
Director: John Huston
Venue: Faro del Malecón.
Visit the Centro Universitario de la Costa social networks for more information.
THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA: BEHIND THE SCENES AND BEYOND
In 1960, John Huston returned to Puerto Vallarta, a place that had captured his heart years earlier. This time, the project he had in mind was the film version of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana.
Guillermo Wulff, a renowned local engineer, recommended Mismaloya as the ideal setting for this filming, thus beginning an adventure that would change the history of Puerto Vallarta forever.
Challenges and Charms of the 60’s in Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya
In 1963, Puerto Vallarta was an inaccessible fishing village, but its unexplored charm attracted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Mismaloya, surrounded by the Sierra Madre, became the main location, although its inaccessibility posed a challenge to the production.
With no roads or basic services, John Huston decided to build the necessary infrastructure and carry generators to ensure the authenticity of the movie. The difficulties fueled the realism and commitment of the actors.
The Media Scandal that Put Puerto Vallarta on the International Tourist Map
The filming attracted much attention from the press, who followed the stars around the sets to get information and photos of the latest couple, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, whose forbidden love affair fueled the media scandal surrounding the production. This romance, along with other love affairs in the shadows, attracted visitors and international attention, boosting the local tourism industry.
The Lasting Legacy of The Night of the Iguana in Puerto Vallarta
Although the film received mixed reviews upon its release in 1964, its impact has endured. Puerto Vallarta has become a renowned tourist destination thanks to its natural beauty and its connection to the world of cinema.
The presence of Taylor and Burton left a social legacy, improving local infrastructure and development. The city, now a major tourist destination, credits The Night of the Iguana for marking the beginning of its growth and cultural diversity.
Today, 60 years after it was filmed, The Night of the Iguana remains a jewel in the crown of Puerto Vallarta.