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Calle Mayor (Main street) is a 1956 Spanishmarker drama film directed by Juan Antonio Bardem with a Frenchmarker-Spanish cast led by the American actress Betsy Blair, who was dubbed into Spanish, and the by then Spanish movie star José Suárez.

The film won FRIPESCI award at Venice Film Festival, and was an international success.

It is based on a Carlos Arniches' play titled La señorita de Trévelez. The location shots were Palenciamarker, Cuencamarker and Logroñomarker.

Plot Summary

Isabel (Betsy Blair) is a good-natured and sensible spinster who lives in a small town with her widow mother. She is losing all her hopes of getting married and having babies.

A bunch of bored middle-aged friends decides to play a trick on Isabel: Juan (José Suárez), the youngest and most handsome of all them, will pretend to fall in love with her. As Isabel lives the courtship full of hopes and joy, Juan realizes too late the cruelty of the situation; and, still pushed by his buddies, he doesn't dare tell Isabel the truth.

When the day of the gala dance in the town's Club comes, Isabel is still living her dream of love. She expects her engagement to be publicly announced from the stage, but Juan, desperate, tries to do anything to shy away from the muddle.


Additional remarks

Similarities between Calle Mayor story and environment and Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni have been pointed out.

Calle Mayor was first Blair's performance outside the US, and she played very brilliantly her role, which bore a rather close resemblance to the one in her previous success, Marty. For Suárez this was his most dramatically profound role, and it shot him momentarily to fame all across Europe.

The name of the role played by Yves Massard (an educated and honest old friend of Juan, come from Madrid to pay a visit to him) was confessedly Bardem's inside hommage to Federico Sánchez, pseudonym used by then by Jorge Semprún to manage the clandestine activities of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE); Bardem was a well-known member of PCE.

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