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The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

El espíritu de la colmena (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, Fantasy | 5 January 1977 (France)
A sensitive seven-year-old girl living in 1940 in a small Spanish village is traumatized after viewing the movie "Frankenstein" and drifts into her own fantasy world.



(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »

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7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Isabel Tellería ...
Ketty de la Cámara ...
Milagros, la criada
Estanis González ...
Guardia civil
José Villasante ...
Juan Margallo ...
Laly Soldevila ...
Doña Lucía
Miguel Picazo ...


In Castilla around 1940, a traveling movie theatre brings James Whale's black and white film classic "Frankenstein" (1931) to a small village. Two young girls, Isabel and Ana, are subsequently determined to find the monster themselves. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 January 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Spirit of the Beehive  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Voted third best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary. See more »


When the fugitive jumps from the train and rolls down the hill, he's wearing boots, but in the next shot he's wearing low-cut shoes. See more »


Ana: [unable to sleep] Isabel?
Isabel: [opening her eyes] What?
Ana: [whispering] Tell me what you were going to tell me.
Isabel: [whispering] About what?
Ana: The movie.
Isabel: Not now... Tomorrow.
Ana: Now... You promised. Why did he kill the girl, and why did they kill him after that?... You don't know - you're a liar.
Isabel: They didn't kill him, and he didn't kill the girl.
Ana: How do you know? How do you know they didn't die?
Isabel: Everything in the movies is fake. It's all a trick. Besides, I've seen him alive.
See more »


Referenced in The Years in the Desert (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

gullible youth
24 February 2005 | by (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) – See all my reviews

Erice's film about a young girl who sits through a screening of the l931 classic Frankenstein with her older sister moves slowly along but has some startling moments that unexpectedly bubble up. The girl (Ana Torrent) has a face that would melt anyone's heart and gives a terrific performance for a child (or anyone). The older sister (Isabel Telleria) also terrific, likes to lead her little sister along, and convinces her that Frankenstein exists in the here and now and can be easily found in an abandoned farm or by simply closing your eyes. The farm is a much more compelling setting and seeing the little girl alone there gives you the chills because you know one day someone might actually show up and while it probably won't be Frankenstein, it could be someone dangerous. Her inevitable disillusionment is dramatically presented when she runs away from her home. Her adventure takes the viewer along on a emotional ride especially when we see our little friend sitting down beside the toxic mushrooms that her father told her and her sister never to eat. Set in the seemingly endless Spanish countryside in 1940 and nicely filmed in color, it is a quiet little film with a big dramatic impact.

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