|Index||4 reviews in total|
Good film that was beset by difficulties with the censors caused by a
relentless critical to Catholic religion and miracles . The movie deals
upon a bunch of motley people , the Mayor , the teacher , the
pharmaceutic , the doctor who set up a caper about a miracle for
profits the village where a spa doesn't work. They persuade to Jose
Isbert feigning to have seen a Saint : ¨Dimas¨. Dimas will appear in
the person of Richard Basehart who will find the village's dumb played
by Manuel Alexandre .
In the flick there are especially comedy , humor , joy , satire and social critical which tended not to be very well received by the censor . The movie displays a Spanish star-studded such as : Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez ,Juan Calvo , Manuel Alexandre, Jose Isbert , Alberto Romea ; Italians : Paolo Stoppa and one American , Richard Basehart , married to Italian Valentina Cortese who starred ¨Calabuch¨ along with Edmund Gwenn and equally directed by Berlanga .
Direction by Luis Garcia Berlanga is pretty good , assistant direction is Jesus Franco . Franco Ferrara's music is excellent . Fine cinematography in white and black by Francisco Sempere . Berlanga's conceptual and political audacity, so evident in this film , ¨Los Jueves, Milagro¨ (1957), was modified by the censors and was delayed for several years before its eventual release . He filmed other polemic movies during the 50s as ¨Bienvenido Mister Marshall¨ (1953) and considered to be one of the best Spanish films of the history . Their next joint venture was ¨Plácido¨ (1961), which received an Oscar nomination in 1963. That same year, Berlanga made one of his best films: ¨El Verdugo¨ (1963); however, his strong portrait of Spanish society didn't please the pro-Franco authorities, although the film was well-received at the Venice Festival. He continued filming other interesting pictures as in 1973 he went to Paris to begin filming ¨Grandeur nature¨ , another problematic film , focusing this time on the fetishism of a man who falls in love with a doll . Several years later, after Franco's death, he filmed a trilogy comprising ¨La Escopeta Nacional¨ (1978), ¨Patrimonio Nacional¨ (1981) and ¨Nacional III¨ (1982), where he clarified the disorders evident in the Spanish upper middle-class upon being confronted with a new political status quo . Following the same theme he filmed a peculiar comedy titled La Vaquilla (1985), set in the Spanish Civil War .
Rating : 6,5 above average . Well worth watching .
The dramatic action takes place in Fuentecilla, small isolated people
(the train ever for in the station), with a former spa thermal waters
with curative properties recognized in the past, but now fallen into
oblivion. Six friends, who make up the influential people in the town,
decide represent a miracle for promotion of tourism, economic activity
in the place and its own interests. The group the mayor (don Antonio),
the maestro (don Salvador), the doctor (don Manuel), the pharmacist
(don Evaristo), owner of the spa (Ramon) and an agricultural owner (don
It's the fifth long film of Berlanga and last of his first stage. Develops an argument original Berlanga. It is filmed in Alhama de Aragon (Zaragoza) and in the sets of Studies Chamartín (Madrid). It obtained an honorable mention in the International Festival of Valladolid.
The film sums comedy and cinema fantastic and presents a funny social satire of Spain in the mid 1950. It is a mockery of simplicity that abounds in the religious fervour of ordinary people, gullible and manipulated. It is a mockery of the omnipresence of religion in the world civil and its enormous influence. It is a mockery of the use of religion as an instrument of power. It is a mockery of the culture tricky, truth and opportunistic of the authorities.
This is one of the best comedies of Berlanga, despite the problems that had with the censorship and interference that suffered from religious organizations. The work is full of irony, tenderness, criticism and black humor. Its premiere constituted a failure of box office.
We can see magnificent performances as the Jose Isbert and always brilliant Manuel Alexandre, his character is short but always serving enjoyed his interpretation. And as anecdotes the emergence as a child actor Luis Varela that after he was great actor of comedy and the performance sober of Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez in the character of parish priest.
Beautiful movie about the story of how a silly lie to take advantage of others can end up in a distressful nightmare. The prominent men of a small Spanish town decide to fake a miracle to increase the affluence of tourists to this town, long time back famous for its spa. Brilliant treatment of a well spread social reality in Spain as it is the reduction of population of small rural villages. The lack of communication of the town is shown by a daily train that passes by making a lot of noise but without even decreasing slightly the speed. Great treatment of characters. On one side the prominent, arrogant, greedy men of town daring to do anything to get a little more of money and on the other side the innocent, forgotten and needy people daring to believe anything to make their life more liveable. Food for thoughts and feelings. Enjoy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I was able to get this movie, I read a lot of negative criticism
about it, especially from people who seem to be very fond of Mr.
Berlanga's distinguished career. This early film was marked by
controversy and bad blood from the beginning; look at the office number
given by IMDb; 236 people viewed it at its release. Yes, only 236
people: talk about box office failure! Berlanga was starting to be a
bitter critic of his society at this point; he had already had problems
with censorship, but somehow he was able to have his view respected on
his previews films. Not with these one. Censorship was so hard that
Berlanga requested to feature the name of the Priest who imposed major
changes on the script as the actual script writer. It didn't happen
that way, but the movie's script had to reflect the changes introduced
by the censors resulting in a much watered down picture and quite far
from Berlanga's intentions, but still bearing Berlanga's seal. Thus,
the film didn't satisfy anybody; neither the catholic censors nor
And some of the controversy goes on after 50 years of its release. Fortunately, I'm a casual observer and I can overlook those debates so deeply attached to Spain's tumultuous mid to late XX century life, and take this movie for its sheer value.
It's been said that Berlanga's early style reminds that of Frank Capra. You can take "Los Jueves" a little bit like an evil sister to "What a wonderful life". Instead of having a good hearted man who has selfishly influenced the lives around him and is now in disgrace, you have a bunch of mean and really selfish characters (the teacher, the mayor, the doctor, the inn owner and the wealthiest citizen) who are now in disgrace and come with a plan to boost the economy of the once prosperous town of Fontecilla: they will fake the apparition of Saint Dimas and make a huge business out of it. As in "What a wonderful life", you have a celestial intervention to make our protagonists see their lives in retrospective. But instead of having a nice angel in the making, our citizens of Fontecilla will get gangster looking, straight from film noir Richard Basehart, who will make them see the evil of their ways with a very unorthodox method.
At the end, everything goes well, faith and goodness triumph, and why should this be a bad thing? In the process, we are highly entertained, the photography is great, the direction is excellent, the pacing is fluid and all the actors are superb, remarkably Jose Isbert and a solid as always Basehart.
Give this movie a chance and enjoy it!
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