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lunes, 20 de septiembre de 2010

Historias de la Radio

Tres pequeñas historias basadas en los concursos radiofónicos, todas ellas enlazadas a través del locutor Gabriel y su prometida; dos inventores que quieren patentar un pistón y necesitan dinero; un ladrón que contesta a una llamada telefónica en el piso donde robaba, y un niño que necesita ir a Suecia para operarle son los protagonistas de estas historias en torno a la radio.


Hay películas entrañables, pero pocas como ésta del talentoso Sáenz de Heredia (Raza). En ella se narran tres concursos radiofónicos enlazados por el locutor Gabriel y su prometida. La mezcla de la mecánica del programa, de los divertidos gags provocados por los concusantes y de las vida de los protagonitas, hacen del film una de las obras más paradigmáticas de la sociedad española de posguerra. Quien no suelte una lagrimita en el episodio final del maestro es que no tiene corazón.

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.

Cinco historias en una sola y todo gira en torno a la Radio, esa entrañable amiga de antes, pues no tiene nada que ver con la de hoy día, no es ni mejor ni peor sólo diferente en todos los aspectos. Sano entretenimiento. El Coleccionista

Director: José Luis Sáenz de Heredia. Intérpretes: Francisco Rabal, Margarita Andrey, Ángel de Andrés, Rafael Bardem, Xan das Bolas, José Isbert, Tony Leblanc, Juanjo Menéndez, José Luis Ozores, Carlos Acevedo, Gracia Montes. Guión: José Luis Sáenz de Heredia. Música: Ernesto Halffter. Fotografía: Antonio L. Ballesteros. Año: 1955. País: España. Duración: 92 min. Género: Comedia

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