The Story of Rosita Alvírez

    Many corridos trace their roots back to medieval times, particularly corridos with universal folkloric themes such as incest, adultery and other social taboos.  These are themes that find resonance regardless of the time period.  The corrido of Rosita Alvírez is an example of these in which the stain of dishonor can only be washed away with blood.  It seems that this corrido was seen in several incarnations from the 19th century to the 1930s.  Originally, it told the story of a good, but headstrong girl who meets an undeserved and unfortunate death after refusing to dance with an older man named Hipólito at a dance.
    The filmmakers jacked up this rather thin plot changing Rosita from a simple but stubborn girl who turns down the wrong man at the wrong time, to a cold-blooded, heartless seductress.  This Rosita has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever and is played to a smoldering, kittenish fare-thee-well by María Luisa Zea.
    In the film, Rosita arrives in a new town with her widowed mother after the death of her drunken, philandering father to live with relatives. In very short order, she manages to break up her cousin's engagement, and she sets two best friends, Hipólito and Marcos (who was engaged to her cousin), against each other over her favors. Meanwhile, as if she hasn't caused enough trouble, Rosita agrees to marry with a wealthy older man, telling him that when she attends the dance, Hipólito and Marcos will kill each other, freeing her to marry the older landowner who promises to give her everything her heart desires. She also tells him, "Oh, by the way, I plan to continue fooling around with the local cowboys," and the old man accepts this.
     At the climatic dance, Hipólito and Marcos shoot each other up, but neither is fatally wounded, and, during the melée, Hipólito, turns his gun on Rosita and kills her.  The film ends with Hipólito and Marcos in jail, Hipólito awaiting execution and Marcos awaiting a very uncertain future trying to patch up his life and broken engagement.  As they sit in the jail, morose but perfectly coifed, shaved and dressed, Pedro Vargas and his band sing the final stanzas of the corrido, admonishing women to be virtuous and men not to kill for love.
    This is a interesting and lively motion picture and well worth watching.  It set a box-office record in Mexico City, and enraged a writer whose foto-novela or comic-book style graphic novella of this story was the purported inspiration to the script (Yañez 19).  The film is filled with lively music, dancing, beautiful scenery, steamy (for the day) love scenes as well as lots and lots of horsemanship and rodeo-like events.
    What can be said when such a blatant and sexist twist is added to a classic corrido by changing the title character into a totally unsympathetic and evil Jezebel?  That is hard to assess, though it is a strong commentary on an overt fear in traditional Mexican society of a women's sexuality.  It certainly makes a more interesting movie, and gave Miss Zea an unbelievable opportunity to purr, pout, bat her lashes, spew invective and screech insults.  Not a stick of scenery on the set was left without her teeth marks on it, and she is such a conniving tramp that she makes Scarlet O'Hara look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  The most violent scene is between Hipólito and Marcos who have a five minute knock-down, drag-out fight scene, while Hipólito, drunk and furious, keeps trying to say, "¡Rosita es una… ! ¡Rosita es una… !"
     "Puta" is the only word that he could have possibly meant.

Click here to see a film clip from
Yo Maté a Rosita Alvirez

El corrido de Rosita Alvírez

Año de mil novecientos
Muy presente tengo yo
En el pueblo de Cuesillo
Rosita Alvírez murió.
Rosita Alvírez murió.

Su mama se lo decía
Rosita esta noche no sales.
"Mama no tengo la culpa
Que a mi me gusten los bailes.
Que a mi me gusten los bailes."

Hipólito llegó al baile
Y a Rosa se dirigió
Como era la más bonita
Rosita lo despreció
Rosita lo despreció.

"Rosita no me desprecias
La gente lo va a notar."
"Pues que digan lo que quieran
Contigo no he de bailar
Contigo no he de bailar."

Hecho mano a la cintura
Y una pistola cargó
Y a la pobre de Rosita
No más tres tiros le dio.
No más tres tiros le dio.

Su mamá se lo decía
Ya vistes hija querida
Por andar de pizpireta
Te había de costar la vida
Te había de costar la vida.

Rosita le dijo a Irene
No te olvides de mi nombre
Cuando vayas a los bailes
No desprecias a los hombres
No desprecias a los hombres.

Rosita ya está en el cielo
Dándole cuenta al creador
Hipólito está en la cárcel
Dando su declaración
Dando su declaración.

(English Version)

In the year 1900
I was there and can't forget
In the village of Cuesillo
Rosita Alvírez died
Rosita Alvírez died.

Her mother said
Rosita tonight, don't go out
"Mamma, it's not my fault
I like to go to dances
I like to go to dances."

Hipólito showed up at the dance
And straight to Rosa he went
Because she was the prettiest
Rosita laughed in his face
Rosita laughed in his face.

"Rosita, don't laugh at me
Everyone will notice."
"Let people say what they will
With you, I'll never dance
With you, I'll never dance."

He stuck his hand in his belt
There he carried a gun
And at poor little Rosita
He only fired three shots
He only fired three shots.

Her mother said to her
Now you see, beloved daughter
For being a brazen hussy
It cost you your life
It cost you your life.

Rosita told Irene
Don't ever forget my name
And when you go to dances
Don't insult the men
Don't insult the men.

Rosita is now up in heaven
Telling her story to God
Hipólito rots in jail
Telling his to the judge
Telling his to the judge.