This movie was part of a propaganda effort of the Franco regime to extol the "traditional" values of the "true" Spain..... by true is meant nationalistic, non-foreign characters in the plot, the archvillains being the Flemish allies of the King and the moorish girl played by a very young Sarita Montiel. It extols the nobility's loyalty to the pure hispanic lineage of Queen Juana, hence to Spain. Thus we have a paean to the class structure which Franco rose to protect in his fascist attack against the Spanish republic. Several films were made at this time in this same spirit, many utilizing Ms. Bautista herself, and all emphasizing nationalistic values such as the revolt against the French during the Peninsular War.
Of course, these issues are of antiquarian interest by now. Suffice it to say that, at the time, Buñuel was making much better stuff on string budgets in Mexico..... and that the current vitality of Spanish cinema began as a revolt to the Catholic and fascist strictures which went away when Franco died.
As merely a movie, Locura de Amor is quite engaging, in a compressed telenovela sort of way..... very melodramatic but with some truly grand set pieces as when Queen Juana enters the cortes to confront the scheming nobles: as she moves forth all her titles are read out loud, a reminder of the greatness that was the Spanish empire at that time when colonization of the world was proceeding at full throttle.
Bautista could be a stirring actress.... this part is written over the top and as such it is played. The rest of the cast is swell. Montiel went on to have one of the most refulgent careers in Spanish cinema and one can understand why. Jorge Mistral played handsomely and sympathetically a part which required him to look handsome and be sympathetic. Minor parts were cast from strength.
If you are interested in Spanish cinema this is an important film to see for what it represents. It is engaging enough to merit watching. Unfortunately it is hard to find. I bought a PAL version in Barcelona which a friend graciously turned to VHS format. I doubt it will ever make it to DVD..... not when "Law of Desire" and the like are still waiting to be released.
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