Film Notes: The Strange Voyage (Spanish: El extraño viaje) [1964] directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez

ES / 91 minutes / B&W / Ízaro Films, Pro Artis Ibérica Dir: Fernando Fernán Gómez Pro: José López Moreno Scr: Pedro Beltrán based on a story written by Manuel Ruiz Castillo & Pedro Beltrán, inspired in an idea of Luis García Berlanga Cine: José F. Aguayo  Mus: Cristóbal Halffter Cast: Carlos Larrañaga (Fernando), Tota Alba (Ignacia Vidal), Lina Canalejas (Beatriz), Sara Lezana (Angelines), Rafaela Aparicio (Paquita Vidal), Jesus Franco (Venancio Vidal), Luis Marín (Músico), María Luisa Ponte (Mercera)  Release Date 10 August 1964 (Spain). extraño viaje (English: The Strange Voyage) aka El crimen de  Mazarrón, is a 1964 Spanish black drama film directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez. Famous film director Jess Franco acts as the brother of the protagonist. The film was a huge flop on its limited release. It was voted seventh best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary. (From Wikipedia)

Plot summary: Two siblings living in a small town near Madrid learn of their older sister’s intentions to sell their family’s belongings and dispose of the younger pair. Part murder mystery, part passionate indictment of the Franco regime, The Strange Voyage is a fabulous oddity. El extraño viaje benefits from brilliant direction, magnificent and fitting black and white photography, and above all the splendid performances by the entire cast, notably Tota Alba in her superb role as the frustrated spinster and also well-known film director Jesús Franco as the withdrawn and fearful Venancio. (Source: Arsenevich)

The Strange Voyage was inspired in an idea of Luis García Berlanga. The story borrows freely from a real-life case known as el crimen de Mazarrón (the crime at Mazarrón), but focuses on one of the dominant themes of the 1950s and 1960s in Spanish cinema, the oppressive life in Spanish provincial towns. The film builds up on the tension created in traditional Spain by the advent of foreign modernity, in this instance the presence of contemporary popular music (the Twist) brought to the small Castilian town each week by the regularly scheduled performance of a dance band.

This tension provides the thematic and social backdrop for the story as it focuses on the three grown children of a wealthy family in this anonymous Castilian town. Ignacia (Tota Alba), the domineering spinster, tyrannizes her brother Venancio (Jesús Franco) and her sister Paquita (Rafaela Aparicio). Ignacia has seduced one of the musicians, Fernando (Carlos Larrañaga), with promises of money. She has a series of secret trysts with him in her bedroom and now plans to leave the town and run off with him to Paris. (Information taken from Guide to the Cinema of Spain, here)

The Strange Voyage is one of my favourite Spanish films, a masterpiece of black humour.

The Strange Voyage at IMDb

Cayetano Brulé PI, Created by Roberto Ampuero

This entry was intended as a private note, but I thought it might be of interest to some readers of The Game’s Afoot.

For an introduction to Cayetano Brulé read: Cayetano Brulé, created by Roberto Ampuero at The Thrilling Detective Web Site.

Read more about Roberto Ampuero (Valparaíso, Chile, 1953) at Wikipedia and my previous post Roberto Ampuero.

Since his introduction in 1993 in his debut novel ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann?, Editorial Planeta, 1993 (English: Who Killed Cristián Kusterman?), awar with the Revista del Libro prize of El Mercurio, Cayetano Brulé has appeared in six other novels: Boleros en La Habana, Editorial Planeta, 1994 (English: Boleros in Havana); El alemán de Atacama, Editorial Planeta, 1994 (English: The German of Atacama); Cita en el Azul Profundo, Editorial Planeta, 2004 (English: Appointment at the Azul Profundo); Halcones de la noche, Editorial Planeta, 2005 (English: Nighthawks, 2005); El caso Neruda, Editorial Norma, 2008 (English edition: The Neruda Case, trans. Carolina De Robertis. Riverhead Books, 2012); and Bahía de los Misterios, Random House Mondadori, 2013 (English: Bay of Mysteries).  

Further reading:

Carolina De Robertis on The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero 

The Neruda Case has been reviewed at Words Without Borders, The Complete Review and Seeing the World Through Books 

From my side, I’ve downloaded from, right now ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? with the hope of finding the time to read it soon. Stay tuned.

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