Spain has always explained itself through its comedy. Whether in the novel, in the theater or in the cinema (or in the bar), the picaresque, la pazguatería and self-pity define the national character. That is why comedy is the highest grossing genre in Spanish cinema. From the sociopolitical satire of Luis García Berlanga to the magical surrealism of José Luis Cuerda, through the sexual ineptitude of José Luis López Vázquez, the cockiness of Tony Leblanc or the irreverence of Santiago Segura, our comedy is essential to understand us. These are the 11 comics that best represent us.
‘Welcome, Mister Marshall’
“As your mayor, I owe you an explanation; and that … ”
The mayor of Villar del Río went out to the balcony of the City Hall and entered a loop in which he promised so many times that he was going to give explanations that in the end he did not explain anything. This incoherent mess scene encapsulates what Spanish politics is all about. Welcome, Mister Marshall it was written between Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem, but they did not work together, but each wrote a different script. And they didn’t work alone either: the playwright Miguel Mihura was in charge of the second version of the script, the only one that included the phrase of the town hall balcony and that, therefore, is attributed to him. Mihura charged 25. 000 pesetas for the charge. For comparison, it is half of what José Isbert won, but much less than what the real star of the show, Lolita Sevilla (70. 000 pesetas, one of the most expensive salaries of the time). In Welcome, Mister Marshall , Mihura put into practice his characteristic absurdist dialectic, which was finally beginning to bring him joy: in 1952, while working on that script, his masterpiece Three top hats finally got its premiere, 20 years after writing it.
- Films with Pepe Isbert available on FlixOlé.
- The comedies of Paco Martínez Soria in FlixOlé.
- All the titles of José Luis López Vázquez available on FlixOlé.
- Gracita’s comedies Morales from the FlixOlé catalog.
- Alfredo Landa’s films found in FlixOlé.
- All titles with Lina Morgan from the FlixOlé catalog.
- The films of Antonio Ozores available on FlixOlé.
- The comedies of Pajares and Esteso that you can see on FlixOlé .
- The titles of Millán Salcedo and Josema Yuste available on FlixOlé
- The comedies of Chiquito de la Calzada in FlixOlé.
- The films of Santiago Segura available on FlixOlé.
‘The city is not for me’
Paco Martínez Soria
“Look, the poor man is stupid”
The image of Martínez Soria with the beret on, just arrived in Madrid and carrying two chickens, It is the history of Spanish cinema. This is how, 55 years later, everything the world continues to remember the actor. The country lived with him the migration from rural areas to large cities and in The city is not for me (1966), upon arrival, an apparently disabled guy offers him thousand-peseta bills, believing they are pictures of saints. The moment could escape the viewer who is not familiar with the scam of the stamp, because it only lasts a few seconds, but it is a meta-reference of the director Pedro Lazaga. Six years earlier, his comedy The Cheats (1952) , starring Tony Leblanc, Antonio Ozores, Concha Velasco and Laura Valenzuela, had It was such a blockbuster that all the public in Spain understood what the scam of the stamp consisted of. In a sense, all of Lazaga’s cinema took place in the same universe: a Spain that was being modernized by fits and starts. And Paco Martínez Soria was his official grandfather.
‘Robbery at three’
José Luis López Vázquez
“Fernando Galindo, an admirer, a friend, a slave, a servant”
In this Iberian adaptation of 1962 of the thriller of banks, a subgenre that was beginning to become fashionable in Hollywood , López Vázquez was more Groucho Marx than ever. He played the director of a branch that plans a robbery of his own bank with the help of other employees, but that did not mean that if he saw a stunning “solid” (the Swiss Katia Loritz) he could sputter: “Fernando Galindo, an admirer, a friend, a slave, a servant. ”
The phrase has illustrated T-shirts, has been used in political debates to ridicule servility and has symbolized an attitude towards life: that of the ball without self-love ( without the intention of gutting the ending, Galindo is the most loser of all robbers). Because everyone is someone’s Fernando Galindo. And all this thanks to a script that Pedro Masó wrote in just nine nights. “One of my nine children had just been born,” he would recall, “and that’s only done out of hunger.” The director José María Forqué applied in this sainete an “underground humor” that the Aragonese call “somarda” and it produces concern in the viewer. The dealers were horrified by Robbery at 3 , they thought it was “a silly joke”, so Forqué went on vacation to Paris. There he learned that his film was being a box office success.
‘How’s the service!’
“Libertén, calamitén and screw you”
Alfonso Paso was the most successful playwright in Spain in the sixties: the most represented (he had seven plays simultaneous in Madrid, filling the three daily functions), the one who earned the most money and the first Spaniard to reach Broadway. His theater was based on a social comedy but very friendly, as seen in this scene from a movie based on one of his texts. The maids were delighted to be, decency was the most important and labor rights were too confusing to try to understand.
Class consciousness was never as endearing as with Gracita Morales. The actress represented, along with Rafaela Aparicio and Florinda Chico, an image of “the maid delighted to be one” that the Spanish population assumed without question. Gracita Morales was pigeonholed in this role and when she went down the street people would ask her, imitating her piping voice, where was the young man. But that public image had nothing to do with her. Not only because, as Concha Velasco said, Morales was the person who used the most swear words in Spain (“From her I learned the bastard of clubs or the whore of golds,” she explained), but also because Morales has been described as “despot “,” Envious “or directly” crazy “for their colleagues. Mariano Ozores said that her husband had been “a kind of Valium for her” and, therefore, after the divorce, she suffered from depression for years with notable mood swings.
During the filming of Operation Bi-ki-ni threw a glass ashtray at an actress. What he did have in common with his characters was an obsession with cleanliness: he could spend hours cleaning his dressing room compulsively. Even in her dramatic roles, like that of Peak 2 , she acted as a servant with a whistling voice who brought breakfast to the “senorito” (in this case, the late José Luis Manzano). “It was banned because it was temperamental. It created a state of anxiety that made life impossible for all of us. Being a wonderful person, with an amazing charisma and personality … it was not worth working with him ”, said José Luis López Vázquez, with whom Morales shot 15 movies like Today like yesterday (1966), Sor Citroën (1967) or My husband and his complexes (1969).
Come to Germany, Pepe
“Spanisch, are you talking?”
How many actors have given a name to a cinematographic movement? In 1970 Alfredo Landa premiered eight films, including his three commercial peaks: You will not wish the neighbor of the fifth (which was the highest grossing film in Spanish cinema during 31 years), Port leg (a Today, the most watched movie on television, with 10 million viewers and a 60, 5% screen share when aired on TVE in 1992) and Vente a Alemania, Pepe (the ideologically foundational film of Landism, released at the beginning of 1971). Alfredo Landa’s characters represented how the Spanish saw themselves during the late Franco regime.
In 1968, the German head of migration policy, Joseph Stingl, visited Spain to promote the emigration of Spanish workers to his country, which urgently needed labor for its industrial development. Between and 1970, shortly before the film was released, around 60. 000 Spaniards emigrated to Germany. But Come to Germany, Pepe concluded with a dissuasive moral: life there was worse than here. “The first person who came to Germany should have been shot!” Exclaimed Landa in a fit of frustration. The scenes of Alfredo Landa flirting with Swedish or German women showed that Spanish mixture of arrogance (the myth of the Iberian male) and impotence (a prudish country without any sexual education), that is why the eroticism of Landismo was so childish: its viewers were sexually immature .
‘Two magazine girls’
“Whoever wants to catch fish, let the tralar get wet”
This role is inspired by the real trajectory of Lina Morgan. When his name was still Angelines López, he was part of the dance corps of the magazine ¡Wake up to the boy! and one of the main stars was injured. She came in to replace her and, once on stage, she began to improvise gestures (crossed eyes, lips turned out, twisted legs) with a physical comedy that made the audience go crazy. Many top-rated stars refused to share the stage with her lest she outshine them, but Lina Morgan didn’t need anyone else. According to her artistic partner Juanito Navarro, she was the first comic protagonist of a magazine in Spain. When they reproached her for always doing the same, she defended “Charlot and Cantinflas created characters, can’t I do the same without being criticized?” In her maturity, Morgan gave work to her former colleagues in the magazine, such as Mari Begoña, who played her aunt at Hostal Royal Manzanares, issued in Spanish Television between 1996 and 1997.
‘I made Roque III’
“Have you heard of polymorphondulitis?”
With Antonio Ozores it was not just what he said, but how he said it. Its anarchic structure when speaking (two or three clear words, a handful of phrases run over and unintelligible and at the end another sentence understood ible, but that had nothing to do with the beginning) implied an atypical way of working: he hardly learned his dialogues, but improvised everything, he created words that did not exist at the time (such as the disease of polymorphondulitis, which he later calls fonditurris and fondipedorris) and later in the dubbing room he would construct entire dialogues. “Good old Antonio didn’t learn a script in his fucking life,” Andrés Pajares would say years later. That is why one of his most emblematic phrases is “No hija no”, which he always repeated in the One, two, three and which became so famous that he even shot a movie titled like this in 1987. And it all came about doing a play with Lina Morgan: she was wrong, he told her “No, no daughter” and the audience burst out laughing.
Pajares and Esteso
Although it seems like one of those made up words de Ozores, Juan Nepomuceno existed and is the saint to whom Pajares and Esteso were entrusted in their debut as a comic couple, Los bingueros, by 1979. In the film it brought them luck (they were doing so well that the rest of the bingo players chased them while Pajares shouted “We are in a democracy!”) And Esteso has always said that it was hers too: they made nine collaborations that swept the box office . Los bingueros was born because the wife of producer José María Reyzabal liked bingo a lot and the game had just been legalized in Spain. For the filming, the Apolo room in Barcelona gave up its facilities during closing hours (from four to eleven in the morning) and, according to Pajares, there began an insomnia that would make him addicted to sleeping pills for the rest of his life.
‘The jewel robbery’
Tuesday and Thirteen
“The eye, the eyelet, the eyelet for me …”
The first Tuesday movie and 13, Josema Yuste and Millán Salcedo, then two of the most famous people in Spain, was titled Here it smells died (1990) and was massacred by critics and celebrated by the public. After that surprise blockbuster, they repeated in 1991 with director Álvaro Sáenz de Heredia in this kind of thriller – prison comedy-trial drama in which Yuste and Salcedo played various characters. The script was limited to a plot line, which they then completed with gags, jokes and phrases typical of their repertoire. “In Spain they really like surrealism and in other parts, like Latin America, they don’t understand anything”, the director would explain.
As no shopping center agreed to let them roll (the theft of the Eye of Nefertiti takes place during Egyptian department store week) had to get by by filming in small stores and then pretending they were all part of the same building. A visual feat that few value, although Tom Cruise must have seen it because Mission Impossible, released five years later, began exactly the same as The jewel robbery . Last year Millán Salcedo suffered an epileptic seizure in which they had to cut off a piece of his tongue and he joked: “The good thing is that when it happens to you there is no tunnel. Luckily, this is not how the The robobo of the jewel and, above all, dead“.
‘Here comes Condemor, the sinner of the prairie’
Chiquito de la Calzada
“I’ve gone for the vaginal diodene!”
Álvaro Sáenz de Heredia was also in charge of the debut of Gregorio Sánchez, Chiquito de la Calzada. The director went to Malaga to see him with the script so that, between the two of them, they could adapt it to his way of speaking. Once translated into the Chiquito language, he did not learn it, but his representative, Arturo del Piñal, spent the filming in closets, under tables or behind doors to tell him his lines: his humor was so anarchic that It was impossible for him to learn it with structure. Later, like Antonio Ozores, Chiquito saved his scenes in the dubbing room.
The origin of the Chiquito dialect was always a mystery because his explanations were along the lines of “fistro comes from a galaxy of 1801 ”, but there are theories that, for example , the origin of fistro was some very ugly tropical fish that he saw in Japan (where he performed as a cantaor during the sixties) and that when he asked what they were they answered “fish trop”. Another rumor is that Here comes Condemor (1996) was written for Tuesday and 13 as a sequel to Here it smells like death (after the terror, they went to the west) with Josema Yuste in the role of Chiquito and Millán Salcedo in the by Mustache Arrocet. But in 1996 the duo was about to separate and Spain was obsessed with Chiquito de la Calzada.
‘The day of the beast’
“I am satanic. And from Carabanchel ”
Pedro Almodóvar had produced the Álex de la Iglesia’s first film, Mutant action (1993), but refused to finance The Day of the Beast (1995) because he is very superstitious about religion and he didn’t like dealing with the devil. “In the end it was produced by Andrés Vicente Gómez, who is more used to dealing with the devil than Pedro”, the director would say, who had to present the project to the Ministry of Culture three times because they denied him the grant the first two . The day of the beast , in addition to supernatural terror, had a load of pure comedy thanks to the character of José María, played by the then unknown Santiago Segura. That “satanic from Carabanchel” was based on the neighborhood heavies of the nineties so immersed in the iconography of the musical and aesthetic current of the heavy metal who directly considered themselves Satanists . De La Iglesia, who wanted to do a quixotic adventure, was the discoverer of Segura (who won the Goya as a revelation actor for this film) and Andrés Vicente Gómez , who was definitely not afraid of anything, produced his directorial debut: Torrente, the stupid arm of the law.
And thus, Santiago Segura became one of the most famous, popular and most influential Spanish comedians as an actor and director: three years later, in 2001, the sequel to Torrente finally broke the record of You will not wish the neighbor of the fifth .