LOS JUEVES, MILAGRO (1957)
Directed by Luis Garcia Berlanga
Featuring Richard Basehart, Jose Isbert, Paolo Stoppa
Country: Spain / Italy
What it is: Comedy /Satire
A group of men from a small village (once famed for its medicinal spa which then lost its power) decide to revive tourism by faking the miraculous appearance of a local saint. Things go well at first, but complications arrive when a stranger arrives in town who knows the truth about the miracle.
My copy of this movie is in Spanish without English subtitles, but the plot descriptions I found helped me through most of the movie; the action does become somewhat more obscure for me during the second half of the movie. The movie was directed by prominent Spanish film director Luis Garcia Berlanga, but reportedly it was held up from release for many years by censors, and what remains is a very watered-down version of what was intended. Still, I did get some enjoyment out of the movie; much of the humor is handled visually, and the scene where they first fake the appearance of the saint is a definite highlight of the movie. The fake miracle is the obvious initial fantastic content, but later developments augment that content and the movie becomes a fantasy of sorts; the first appearance of the stranger gives a definite clue to his secret. I liked this one, though the language limitations do mean that I can't give a full evaluation of it.