Locura de amor (1948)


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Locura de amor Movie Reviews

Classic Spanish movie about the historical love story between Juana La Loca and Felipe Hermoso

Historical and acceptable film dealing with jealousy , passions , treason and political intrigues . This is the historic tale with a politic fight behind , concerning a deep love story who transformed Juana , Queen of Spain , into Juana “The mad” , the nutty queen . Juana (Aurora Bautista) is married off by her pious parents , the two famous Catholic kings : intelligent Fernando of Aragon and sensible Isabella of Castille , to ally Spain , united by their marriage, to the Burgundian and other Habsburg heritage of archduke Maximilian and Maria’s son Philip (Fernando Rey , who many years later , he would star French Connection) . As in 1496, Juana De Castilla, daughter of the Catholic Kings, travels to Flandes to marry the Archduke Felipe De Austria, known as ‘El Hermoso’ or The Handsome . When they meet, it’s love at first sight, for her all-consuming , for him one of many happy bed partnerships as she later figures out . Juana becomes queen of Spain when her mother and her older brothers die in 1504 . As early deaths in her family soon make Juana Isabella’s heir , but Ferdinand suggests she inherited her grandmother’s craziness and supports Philip’s ambition to govern instead , which take place the politic intrigues in the kingdom and then multiple drama is inevitable . Combined with Philip’s relentless infidelity , which includes a gorgeous Moorish woman named Aldara (Sara Montiel, one of the Spanish-speaking world’s biggest stars) , and other lovers as the things go awry when Juana uncovers his treason . Some nobles (Manuel Luna , Eduardo Fajardo , Jesus Tordesillas) support Philip’s ambition to rule instead , which becomes the stakes of political maneuvering in the Cortes ; while the queen is helped by an Almirante (Juan Espantaleon) and by Captain Alvar (Jorge Mistral) , the latter a young officer under orders of Gonzalo Fernandez De Cordoba , ¨El Gran Capitan¨ who had achieved in Italy notorious battles as Ceriñola and Garillano . As mental health Juana starts getting worse and Felipe makes the Burgos Court , nobility-dominated parliament , declare the incurable insanity of Juana and confines her in the monastery of Las Huelgas, proclaiming himself as the king . Finally , Juana is locked at a convent in the city of Tordesillas , Valladolid .

¨Locura De Amor¨ deals with Juana “The mad” , concerning a peculiar story of love , lies and jealousy with a political confrontation behind . This interesting as well as intimate story is a passionate retelling and a touching drama . Carlos Blanco writes the script along with the prestigious Jose Maria Peman , based on a story by Manuel Tamayo Baus and being filmed in usual style of the forties and in stylistic scholarship , without leaving a trace the historical issues , in terms of dramatic and narrative excitement . Average acting by main star , Aurora Bautista , she gives an excessively theatrical acting . Nice main cast as well as support cast : Manuel Luna , Jesus Tordesillas , Juan Espantaleon , Felix Fernandez , Conrado San Martin , all of them play similarly to stage actors ; as the influence of the theater in players results to be extreme and embarrassing . Original and evocative music by Juan Quintero , Juan De Orduña’s ordinary . The settings are passable though mostly made in ¨Carton-Piedra (stone)¨ as well as matte-painting . The palaces and castles are a right manner to show the life style of those days along with the gowns , royal activities , aristocracy , the Middle Age way of life and mentality of those days . Adequate clothing , costumes and set design , including the actual castle of the Mota . Mediocre cinematography in black and white by Jose F. Aguayo , he carries out a photography with juicy atmosphere , but a perfect remastering being necessary because of the copy of the film is worn-out . Cameraman Jose Aguayo is deemed to be one of the best classic Spanish photographers with a long and prestigious artistic career .

The motion picture was lavishly produced by CIFESA , the most known production company during Francoist period , that often financed these false but breathtaking historical spectacles . Being regularly directed by Juan De Orduña in his particular style . Orduña debuting on camera in 1924 with “The House of Troy , and forming his own company shortly thereafter . Although Juan de Orduña is best known for his work in director, not be neglected juvenile stage actor. With director Florian Rey formed the production company “Goya Films” . He adapted to cinema famous novels such as Zalacaín El Aventurero , Cañas Y Barro , El Frente De Los Suspiros , Nobleza Baturra , Lola Se Va a Los Huertos , being especially known for his historical renditions such as Teresa De Jesus , Alba De América , La Leona De Castilla , Agustina De Aragón and Locura De Amor . His most successful picture was El Ultimo Cuple with Sara Montiel .

Other retelling about this known story based on the play by Manuel Tamayo Y Baus are the followings : A silent version (1909) by Ricardo Baños ; a comical rendition titled ¨Juana La Loca De Vez En Cuando¨ by Jose Ramon Larraz with Lola Flores as Reina Isabel I ‘La Católica’ , Beatriz Elorrieta as Infanta Doña Juana De Castilla , Jaime Morey as Felipe ‘El Hermoso’ , Manolo Gómez Bur as Cardenal Cisneros and Quique Camoiras as Fray Tomás Torquemada and ¨Juana La Loca¨(2001) by Vicente Aranda in which Pilar Lopez De Ayala won several awards , giving a powerful and portentous interpretation as Juana , Daniele Liotti as Felipe , Rosana Pastor , Giuliano Gemma , Roberto Álvarez and Eloy Azorín.

dramatic movie

Excellent performance and very classic. A very interesting movie concerning the life of Spain’s Queen JUANA LA LOCA. A wonderful way to show this true document in a dramatic way for a film. Aurora Bautista did a powerful interpretation of the mad queen. I give it a 10. The scenery is perfect and the castles are a perfect way to show the life style of those days along with the clothing, social activities, the way social life and mentality of those days. The direction couldn’t be better. The cast was very intelligent chosen and they all did a wonderful interpretation. In a way, it teaches a lot of SPAIN and the most attractive thing was their perfect diction and language employed in their characters.

of its time….

This movie was part of a propaganda effort of the Franco regime to extol the “traditional” values of the “true” Spain….. by true is meant nationalistic, non-foreign characters in the plot, the archvillains being the Flemish allies of the King and the moorish girl played by a very young Sarita Montiel. It extols the nobility’s loyalty to the pure hispanic lineage of Queen Juana, hence to Spain. Thus we have a paean to the class structure which Franco rose to protect in his fascist attack against the Spanish republic. Several films were made at this time in this same spirit, many utilizing Ms. Bautista herself, and all emphasizing nationalistic values such as the revolt against the French during the Peninsular War.

Of course, these issues are of antiquarian interest by now. Suffice it to say that, at the time, Buñuel was making much better stuff on string budgets in Mexico….. and that the current vitality of Spanish cinema began as a revolt to the Catholic and fascist strictures which went away when Franco died.

As merely a movie, Locura de Amor is quite engaging, in a compressed telenovela sort of way….. very melodramatic but with some truly grand set pieces as when Queen Juana enters the cortes to confront the scheming nobles: as she moves forth all her titles are read out loud, a reminder of the greatness that was the Spanish empire at that time when colonization of the world was proceeding at full throttle.

Bautista could be a stirring actress…. this part is written over the top and as such it is played. The rest of the cast is swell. Montiel went on to have one of the most refulgent careers in Spanish cinema and one can understand why. Jorge Mistral played handsomely and sympathetically a part which required him to look handsome and be sympathetic. Minor parts were cast from strength.

If you are interested in Spanish cinema this is an important film to see for what it represents. It is engaging enough to merit watching. Unfortunately it is hard to find. I bought a PAL version in Barcelona which a friend graciously turned to VHS format. I doubt it will ever make it to DVD….. not when “Law of Desire” and the like are still waiting to be released.