Although Franco-era film adaptations of the Spanish comedia are often dismissed as propaganda due to the regime’s broader ideological use of the Golden Age to promote ‘traditional’ Spanish values, this essay suggests that these films merit closer scrutiny. Saenz de Heredia’s 1950 film Don Juan is both a response to Hollywood’s Adventures of Don Juan (Vincent Sherman, 1948) and a narrative film that, while reclaiming the Don Juan legend as Spanish cultural patrimony, reveals inherent contradictions and flaws in Franco’s idea of Spain and Spanishness. Superficially, it is ideologically orthodox, but closer examination reveals how the film is symptomatic of defects in Franco’s projected vision of Spain.
Spanish Golden Age theater. Film adaptation. Spanish Comedia. Spanish cinema. Don Juan. Dictatorship. Francisco Franco. Propaganda. Spanishness. National identity.