San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Presents May 1 Screening of “La Perla,” Starring Famous Cal Poly Alumnus – Cal Poly News

The Latino Outreach Council and the Cal Poly Office of University Diversity and Inclusion collaborate to show a film featuring Pedro Armendáriz, who attended from 1928 to 1932

SAN LUIS OBISPO — As part of a years-long collaboration, the Latino Outreach Council of San Luis Obispo County and Cal Poly’s Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion are co-sponsoring the screening of “La Perla,” a iconic Mexican-American film. , during the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the Fremont Theater.

The 1947 film is based on John Steinbeck’s classic short story “The Pearl”, released the same year. Steinbeck and acclaimed Mexican director Emilio Fernández co-wrote the screenplay. The film stars Cal Poly alumnus Pedro Armendáriz as a poor fisherman who discovers a perfect pearl that then transforms his life and that of his family.

Armendáriz was a famous Mexican actor born near Mexico City in 1912. From age 16 to 22, he attended Cal Poly, then a polytechnic high school and college, from September 1928 to the spring of 1932. He graduated in May 1931 .and remained a student at the college for part of the next year.

While at the polytechnic, Armendáriz took several studio classes in his first two years, then branched out into liberal arts classes. In his senior year, he studied journalism, served as president of the Press Club, helped edit the El Rodeo yearbook, and took his only acting class in 1930–31.

Notably, he was also an active member of Campus Playshop and performed in student theater productions. He then returned to Mexico City, where he pursued the love of acting he fostered at Cal Poly, and within three years starred in his first dramatic film.

Known as “Mexican Clark Gable”, Armendáriz starred in iconic films from the golden age of Mexican cinema, such as 1943’s “Flor Silvestre” (“Wild Flower”) and “María Candelaria”, released in 1944, in collaboration with legendary Mexican actors including Dolores del Río and María Felix.

Armendáriz has also worked internationally and in Hollywood. He made several films with actor John Wayne and directors John Ford and John Huston. His last film appearance was in the James Bond film, “From Russia with Love”. He died in 1963.

The Steinbeck Institute will join the screening for a pre-film presentation. A reception will follow with a brief Q&A session with the Steinbeck Institute. And after the broadcast of “La Perla”, Armendáriz will receive a posthumous award which will be presented to the Chief Consul of the Mexican Consulate in Oxnard, Euclides Del Mar Arbona. He will personally present the award to Armendáriz’s closest living relatives.

Those interested in attending the film can purchase tickets at:

For more information about Cal Poly’s Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion, visit

Photo Info: Senior photo of Pedro Armendáriz, aged 18, in 1931.
(Photo courtesy of Cal Poly.)

April 20, 2022
Contact person: Megan Rivoire

Comments are closed.