Five years ago yesterday, on her 88th birthday, the Mexican actress and style icon María Félix passed away in her sleep. She acted in some 48 movies during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, and is remembered as perhaps the most beautiful star of the Mexican silver screen.
What launched María Félix to fame, though, was an early role in the film adaptation of the Venezuelan novel, Doña Bárbara. Written by Rómulo Gallegos and published in 1929, Doña Bárbara is the tale of a wealthy rural family led by a cruel and domineering woman. It is a love story that portrays Venezuelan society in the early 20th century as torn between tradition and modernity, civilization and barbarism.
Today, Doña Bárbara is still considered by many to be Venezuela’s most legendary and lasting fictional work. When the film version came out in 1943, the epic story — as well as Mexican knockout María Félix — won the hearts of moviegoers all over Latin America. To see for yourself, watch a clip below.