El Extraño Viaje (1964)

Spanish El Pais 2003 DVD edition

Jesús Franco and Rafaela Aparicio as the dimwitted siblings Venancio and Paquita

If anyone is interested to see Spanish psychotronic film legend Jesús Franco in a quite big acting role outside of his own films or outside of
the cult film genre - this film is it. I enjoyed this old Spanish film, a crime mystery and a comedy in black & white from 1964 with it's nice back-
ground to the criminal ongoings with the village and it's population of all ages. Even though i didn't have any subtitles and my spanish is poor
the film gave me good vibes, and a snug feeling , like watching some old crime mystery on TV when i was a kid.

The exquisite crisp cinematography from José F. Aguayo enhances the film a lot, so does the charismatic Tota Alba and Rafaela Aparicio with
her unusual performance. A liked it even though i didn't understand what was going on in most scenes with the villagers, and i guess i missed
the underlying social commentary from the director. It must have been something more than just the crime story that made Spanish filmcritics to
vote this film to be the 7th best Spanish film ever. Nice also to see Jesús Franco in a decent acting role, that must have been a rare occasion?

The Great Tota Alba

We have a village with people of all ages, but mostly with older folks as the young probably has left for some big city, where the older ones
watch with incredulity when the young people dance the rock n' roll. All of the old men wears a black beret, something i haven't seen any
spanish man do when visiting Spain (maybe some really old men in the countryside still do, perhaps?).
There are some sub-stories i didn't get, Fernando (Carlos Larrañaga) sings and plays the guitar in the local band Los Guacamayos and he has
a love affair with Beatrice (Lina Canalejas) and he's in a bad need for money to be able to tour with his band (i think) and then there's something
about a garment of sexy female underwear that upsets the villagers, ha, as i said, i can't speak spanish.

Scared Jess

But, in a sinister looking house at a corner of the village square, there lives 3 siblings: the oldest, the scary looking old spinster Dona Ignacia
(Tota Alba) and her 2 younger siblings, the cretinous Don Venancio (Jesús Franco) and Doña Pequita (Rafaela Aparicio). Dona Ignacia is a rich
but lonely woman and somehow she manages the money of the family (maybe she's the guardian of her relatives?).
Ignacia has a fire burning under her stern looking outside and wants to visit Paris and to have some romance before it's to late and her siblings
are deadly afraid that she will ditch them and leave.
And, there are some strange things going on in the house at night, Venancio and Paquita hear scary sounds, squeaks and footsteps. Is there some
spookery going on, is it a ghost moving around at night ? The idiot couple are scared out of their minds and soon everything ends in disaster.

Tota Alba (1914-1983) was 50 years old when making this film and not a beauty in any way, so i may be a sick puppy but i think she's kinda Hot.
I know, there must be something wrong with me. A very stern looking older woman dressed in black with her hair in a bun and with gothic vibes.
This film was based on a real Spanish crime case where 2 people were found dead on a beach.

This Spanish DVD edition presents the film in a 1.66:1 widescreen with a spanish audio 2.0 and WITHOUT any english subtitles or any subs at all
Extras: Presentacion de la pelicula by actor Carlos Larrañaga (Ferdinand) and some commentaries and anecdotes, filmografia, tecnical info

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