More than twenty years before Adrian Lyne directed his famous movie "An Indecent Proposal", Spanish journalist/novelist/playwright Emilio Romero wrote a play named "Verde Doncella" (whose translation would be more or less "Green Maiden"), the title being sort of a playword with a class of apples, in one hand, and a woman who is still a virgin, in the other hand. One of the best directors of the story of cinema, Rafael Gil, turned it into a film shortly afterwards. The plot is about a young couple formally engaged (not a married twosome as in the American picture) that can´t get married because of the lack of money and a mature and unattractive mysterious man who offers them a suitcase filled with 1.000.000 pesetas (of 1968!) in return for having the privilege of spending one night with the bride before the wedding takes place. This constitutes a real dilemma for the lovers, since they must choose between the sacrifice of their honour and a life of poverty and struggle. What will they do...? Surprise, surprise! This film is rather more credible than Lyne´s (otherwise not bad) because the Man With The Suitcase (whose name we never get to know) is a man without any kind of physical appeal (wonderfully played by the late and magnificent rasping-voiced character actor Antonio Garisa) and Robert Redford is an attractive, elegant and well-educated gentleman. (Many people think that it should be HER [Demi Moore] who paid him!) Someone said once (maybe it was Lyne himself) that "Proposal" should have starred Danny DeVito instead. Anyway, the film I´m talking about is a real treat due to the seriocomic strength of its plot and the exceptional performances of the actors: Sonia Bruno, one of my favourite actresses (now long retired) and a very representative type of young woman of the 60s, is superb, and so is Juanjo Menéndez in the role of her fiancé. I have already mentioned Garisa (although anything else that I could say would always be an underestimate) and I don´t want to ignore those two terrific supporting actors who play her parents: Julia Caba Alba, as a middle-aged groovy pop lady that has had a room filled with posters of famous singers of that marvellous era, and Rafael López Somoza as the Socialist Republican fighter who refuses to get up from his bed as long as the political regime doesn´t change. (This role is an amiable caricature of people with left-wing leanings and we could consider it as a cross between the exiled worker played by Somoza himself in "Ninette Y Un Señor De Murcia" three years earlier and the character of Edgardo from Enrique Jardiel Poncela´s play "Eloísa Está Debajo De Un Almendro" [whose film version was also directed by Gil in 1943, with Juan Espantaleón in that part]). One of the most memorable scenes of the movie shows us Garisa attending the marriage of the couple and eating a piece of the wedding cake, thus giving a demonstration of his perverse fetishism. In short, this film is really a must-see and an authentic proof of the power of money. (The movie art has already got plenty of these proofs, but it´s never enough, is it?). Catch this one if you can.
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