The Little Giants (1958)
Monday, Apr 01, 2019, 7:00PM
Osher Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
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The Little Giants (1958, Los Pequeños Gigantes)
987 minutes; Blu-ray courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures


Preceding the screening of The Little Giants, don’t miss Producer George Pepper’s fourteen-year-old grandson, Rafael Pepper-Clarke’s speech to restore his grandfather’s credits to the four festival films, and Author Diana Anhalt’s brief book talk about “A Gathering of Fugitives: American Political Expatriates in Mexico 1948-1965.” The book is groundbreaking for its investigation of the role of the FBI and surveillance of the exiled Hollywood and cold war community in Mexico. Screenwriter and Director Hugo Butler’s son, Michael Butler, will be on hand after the film to answer questions along with George’s daughter, Margot Pepper.

The Little Giants is the true story of how a Little League baseball team from Monterrey, Mexico, with limited resources—some of its members were barefoot street-children recruits—managed to travel to the United States beating impossible odds, win the 1957 World Series with the only perfect game in Little League championship history.

Here, director and co-screenwriter Hugo Butler (Hugo Mozo) with co-screenwriter Edward Huebsch (alias Eduardo Bueno) perfect the revolutionary docufiction style, combining elements of documentary and narrative fiction. All of the players from the Monterrey team, including pitcher Ángel Macías, play themselves in the film recreating actual events and borrowing from cinema vérité, improvising their lines.

Like Crusoe, the film, produced by George Pepper (alias George P. Werker) is a commentary on colonialism and entitlement. It has become popularized in Mexico, probably because of its metaphoric associations to David and Goliath; the colonized facing off with their imperialist masters. It is also a metaphor for the blacklisted artists vs. their McCarthyite censors.

The team’s victory and ensuing fame—partially owing to the Olmec Productions film—changed the course of Monterrey, Mexico. The team became legendary throughout Mexico, boosting its town’s economy. Most of the players went onto successful careers that enabled them to raise two generations of professionals.


This event is part of SFAI’s Visiting Artist + Lecture Series presents BREAKING THROUGH THE BLACKLIST FILM FEST: THE BUÑUEL-BUTLER-PEPPER TRIO.