It is set in rural Spain , in the sunny summer , after staying imprisoned for ten years for a killing , Juan Diaz (Jorge Mistral , who committed suicide himself) out of prison and he meets his sister Andrea (Carmen Sevilla) , she convinces him to take vengeance against the countryman who tipped off the authorities about the man's whereabouts , which led to his subsequent arrest , both of whom pretend to kill the local Luis El Torcido (Raf Vallone) who they think he is guilty . Meanwhile , the trio is enlisted in a bunch of reapers who go to the Castilian lands to reap under a shimmer sun . Unfortunately , Andrea soon falls in love with the snitch .
This is nice picture with good production design by Enrique Alarcón , colorful cinematography by Mario Pacheco and decent interpretations . Bardem's conceptual and political audacity as well as the social critique result to be very evident in this film . Including brief social remarks and social criticism about strikes , unemployment , labouring exploitation , among others . Being first movie from Spain to be nominated for an academy award for "Best Foreign Language Film". After national and international hit smashes ¨Muerte De Un Ciclista¨ (55) and ¨Calle Mayor¨ (56) , it lets Bardem to write and direct his most ambitious picture , : ¨La Venganza¨ or ¨Vengeance¨ . However , resulting in a good film but inferior than precedent ones . Bardem's main purport was to develop ¨the national reconciliation¨ issue , supported by the Communist Party , but the Franquist censorship coerces him and Juan Antonio has to change many things , spoiling his aims . As Bardem has to modify the followings : The original title ¨Los Segadores¨ or The harvesters , so that it was similar to Catalan hymn ¨Els Segadors¨ and the first script was set in 1958 , it was changed in 1931 to avoid political intention . This is an Italian/Spanish co-production , though in Italy was delivered on 12-4-1960 . The main cast is formed by a trio of famous actors , giving passable interpretations as Jorge Mistral , Raf Vallone , though mediocre acting by Carmen Sevilla as a sister of an ex con . Support cast is frankly well , including prestigious secondaries such as: Fernando Rey, Manuel Alexandre , Jose Prada , Angel Alvarez , Jose Riesgo , Conchita Bautista , Jose Marco Davo , Xan Das Bolas , Rafael Bardem , among others . Furthermore , some Italian/Franch players as Arnaldo Foa , and Louis Seigner .
Well produced by Manuel J. Goyanes and powerful producer Cesáreo González from Suevia Films . Being professionally directed by Juan Antonio Bardem , though it has some flaws , dated elements and doctrinaire style . Bardem deservedly considered one of the best filmmakers of the Spanish cinema . Bardem was a good filmmaker and older brother of Pilar Bardem and son of notorious actors as Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro . Furthermore , he is uncle of Oscarized Javier Bardem , Carlos Bardem , Mónica Bardem and father of Miguel Bardem . Bardem was an outspoken critic of the Franco regime, his political views prevented him from gaining a diploma from the Spanish cinema institute in 1947 . Thereafter, he worked as a critic and finally broke into films as writer/director , being his film debut ¨Esa Pareja Feliz¨ (1951) co-directed by Luis Garcia Berlanga . He , subsequently , made ¨Comicos¨(1953) about stage world , a feeling comedy : ¨Felices Pascuas¨(54) and the too much acclaimed ¨Death of a cyclist¨ or ¨Muerte De un Ciclista¨ (1955), about an adultery and its fateful consequences , which won the 1956 Cannes International Critics Award . Other classic films he wrote or directed are the followings : ¨Bienvenido Mr. Marshall¨ (co-directed by Luis Garcia Berlanga) , ¨Sonatas¨ (59) based on Ramón Del Valle Inclan , a rural drama : ¨La Venganza¨ (57) , ¨Nunca Pasa Nada¨(63) an ambitious portrayal of provincial life that failed in box office , among others . And , of course , ¨Calle Mayor¨ based on ¨Carlos Arniches's La Señorita Trevelez¨ , it resulted to be the best one , it was voted ninth best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary and being prized in Festival Of Venice . He had to fight the censorship which didn't admit the some engaging scenes and obligated a determined ending . During the start of filming , student protests in Madrid, led to the arrest of director Juan Antonio Bardem, a communist, in the city of Palencia and carried out by the Brigada Politica Social . He was jailed for a few days and released on the condition that he could not talk about his personal life or beliefs during interviews related to the film . After Bardem's jailing and release, he decided to stop early filming in Palencia, and shot the remaining of the movie in other cities . The big hit ¨Los Pianos Mecanicos¨ with an international cast led him to European co-productions such as the Wartime : ¨Ultimo Dia De Guerra¨(68) with George Maharis , the Jules Verne adventure ¨La Isla Misteriosa¨ (72) with Omar Shariff , the Giallos ¨Corrupción De Chris Miller¨ (72) and ¨El Poder Del Deseo¨ (75) with Marisol , Jean Seberg and the Sara Montiel vehicle ¨Varietes¨(70) . With democracy founding , Bardem made again political cinema , such as ¨Siete Dias Enero¨ (78) about Atocha massacre , ¨La Advertencia¨(82) and his final film was ¨Resultado Final¨(97) with Mar Flores . And especially his successful TV adaptation ¨Lorca , La Muerte De Un poeta¨(1987) . ¨La Venganza¨ , rating : Acceptable and passable , essential and indispensable seeing for Spanish cinema fans . Well worth watching .
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