Berlanga’s fourth film, he brings back the wry voice-over and the small town just like his debut Welcome Mr. Marshall! (1953). He even gives us the number of the people living in the village (928) again.
Stars British actor Edmund Gwenn (dubbed here). Gwenn’s work is strong. Berlanga uses his kind face and disposition just like Miracle on 34th Street (even Hitchcock played off this with The Trouble with Harry in 1955). Gwenn plays a missing nuclear scientist trying to leave the world of politics and war behind. This is an ongoing theme for Berlanga- his dislike of politics and worldly matters. “The atom bomb doesn’t matter. All that matters is living life.” For the second film in a row (Boyfriend in Sight – 1954), they play at war— like his debut, this is about a town waiting for outsiders to arrive
Gwenn may be the singular star- but it is still an ensemble comedy
Berlanga loves this lazy, warm small town—the lighthouse attendant and priest play chess over the phone, the guy who paints the boat does one letter a day. They play dominos, it is a simple life, the cute barmaid is the one connecting calls.
It is charming. The town jail acts as like a hotel- haha. I see much of John Ford’s sense of community here – or Capra. Like It Happened One Night it is fast- very low ASL- average shot length
A great cutaway at the 55-minute mark to the pinwheel—almost like Ozu, foreground
Spanish pride – “not to be patriotic, but it is a great invention” (helicopter)
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