Three different stories whose central axis are radio listeners: several contestants have to get to a radio station studio dressed as Eskimo, a thief answering a call in the house which is ...
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Paquita and her brother Venancio, both single and childish, live in a small town near Madrid. Their bossy eldest sister Ignacia, also an old maid, dominates them. One night, Paquita hears ... See full summary »
Fernando Fernán Gómez
Angel is a poacher who lives in the forest with his domineering mother. One day he goes to the city and meets Milagros, an escapee from a reform school and the lover of a known criminal so he takes her to his house in the mountains.
Rodolfo and Petrita each live in separate quarters in dilapidated Madrid, while looking to have a little apartment (or "pisito", in Spanish dialect). Unfortunately their low salaries ... See full summary »
Isidoro M. Ferry
José Luis López Vázquez,
Concha López Silva
Galindo works in a bank. One day he convinces the other employees in the bank to plan a hold-up in the bank they are working. They prepare everything carefully. However, real robbers come ... See full summary »
José María Forqué
José Luis López Vázquez,
A platoon of mismatched republican soldiers cross the front-line to steal the bull that the enemy is going to fight on the saint patron date of the village. In addition to ruining the ... See full summary »
Luis García Berlanga
At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the nun Maria is forced to flee her convent. She takes refuge in a brothel, until it is liberated by a woman's anarchist group. Maria joins the ... See full summary »
Three different stories whose central axis are radio listeners: several contestants have to get to a radio station studio dressed as Eskimo, a thief answering a call in the house which is stealing and a school teacher who participates in a contest to get money to cure a child of his village. The stories are linked by the love story of a speaker and his fiancée and through interviews of real celebrities from the time of film. Written by
By the time he made this, Sáenz de Heredia (who also filmed the Generalísimo's pungent attempt at a movie script, "Raza") was as efficient a facilitator of respectable, high-gloss, low-calorie regime-friendly entertainments as they come. Where this one deserves most credit is in the storyline, which contrives to hang several short tales onto a single narrative thread. The device works, and this in combination with a suavely persuasive offscreen narrator gives a sense that "the radio" is not merely a plotting pretext, but the object of a genuinely felt tribute. Of course we're talking not about the radio as instrument of government propaganda, nor as purveyor of mindless muzak, but as something that gets fat middle-aged men out of bed in the morning (to do slimming exercises), gives humble inventors the chance to win money for their prototypes (by dressing up as eskimos), persuades thieves to reach agreement with their intended victims in donating money to the Church, and allows old schoolmasters to win money in a quiz game called "Double or Nothing", in order (natch) to send a sick child to Stockholm for treatment.
When Heredia tries his hand at straightforward slapstick, as with the José Isbert number of the eskimo-inventor with the dangerous dog early in the film, it's quite nicely done, and the laughs come easily. When he laces the comedy with sentimentality, and deliberately racks up the sentiment in a steady crescendo throughout, it would take a very undemanding (or old-fashioned) audience nowadays not to get restless. That a dispute (for example) between would-be burglar and intended victim is resolved by a Parish priest is perhaps sociologically admissible; that this priest should be portrayed as a paragon of wisdom and Christian virtues is perhaps understandable given ths strictures of censorship and so on; but the sentimental excesses of this movie go well beyond that, and include a penitent bread-thief in a church, a dying boy whose every other script sentence contains a Noble Gesture; and a schoolmaster who is so well aided by the praying boy and the intercession of Saints, that he develops a previously unsuspected footballing career. If this kind of thing doesn't stand up so well nowadays (not to mention statues of saints that come alive) it's perhaps just a question of fashion. All the same, you end up thanking your nearest St Antony for the genius of a Berlanga, who could make a film funny without playing any of the cheap sentiment cards that this movie has recourse to. Watchable but terminally dated.
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