Emilio 'El Indio' Fernandez is not only the most famous figure in the history of the Mexican film industry, he was for many decades a national symbol. Fernandez's legendary on-and-off screen persona incarnates a type of Mexican "machismo" that grew out of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-17: the temperamental, at times violent, man committed to the defense of cultural nationalism--those ideals and values perceived as authentically "Mexican." Fernandez was born to an Indian mother in the Mexican state of Coahuila. As a young man he participated in the revolutionary struggles, and after the defeat of his faction he sought exile in the United States. In Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 30s, Fernandez worked as an extra and bit player while he learned about filmmaking.