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Fronteras: Edward James Olmos Discusses The Classic 'The Ballad Of Gregorio Cortez'

Actor and director Edward James Olmos, best known for his roles including patriarch Abraham Quintanilla Jr. in the film “Selena,” his Oscar-nominated roles as teacher Jaime Escalante in “Stand and Deliver,” and Detective Gaff in “Blade Runner” and “Blade Runner 2049,” joins us to discuss the new Criterion Collection release of “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.”

“The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” is a story about Cortez, a South Texas folk hero. A misunderstanding in translation over a horse theft led to a gunfight, killing Sheriff W. T. Morris. Cortez went on the run, pursued by the Texas Rangers. When he was eventually caught, Cortez spent spent nearly a decade in jail before being granted a pardon. Cortez’s exploits have been told in song for over a century.

WATCH | Original theatrical trailer of “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez”


“The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” was initially released 1982, based on the Américo Paredes book, “With a Pistol in His Hand.” The film was directed by Robert Young, and starred Olmos, who also served as associate producer.

WATCH | A discussion of the making of the film


Texas Public Radio’s Nathan Cone spoke to Olmos by phone from Los Angeles about the film’s production.

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.