- Klimovsky, León
- (1906-1996)Buenos Aires-born León Klimovsky is one of the most versatile filmmakers in Spanish film history. He trained as a dentist, and was a practitioner for over 15 years, then decided to follow his creative inclinations (he had been an occasional art and jazz critic) and turn to filmmaking. He directed his first film, the Dostoyevsky adaptation El jugador (The Gambler), in 1948, and until 1955 he achieved a strong reputation in Argentina with films like Suburbio (Suburb, 1952) or El túnel (The Tunnel, 1952). From 1955, he also developed a career in Spain, although continued to work on Argentinian projects until the mid-1960s.Klimovsky cultivated several commercial genres, following prevailing trends, including spaghetti Westerns (Dos mil dólares por Coyote [ Two Thousand Dollars for Coyote ], 1966; Un dólar y una tumba [ One Dollar and a Tomb ], 1970) and pop musicals (Escala en Tenerife [ Stop at Tenerife ], 1964). In the early 1970s, he became internationally known for his horror films, sometimes starring and written in collaboration with Paul Naschy. Among them, the most emblematic for fans are La noche de Walpurgis (Werewolf's Shadow, 1971), a milestone in the genre, as well as La saga de los Drácula (The Dracula Saga, 1972), Dr. Jeckyll y el hombre lobo (Doctor Jeckyll and the Werewolf, 1972), La orgía nocturna de los vampiros (Grave Desires, 1973), and La rebelión de las muertas (Walk of the Dead, 1973). All of these are cheap reworkings of old stories, with legendary characters recast in increasingly convoluted combinations of periods and themes. They had international casts and achieved widespread distribution in several countries. In many cases, different versions were edited, depending on censorship demands: Spanish films before 1969 could not contain any kind of nudity, and after that only in limited situations, whereas other countries like France or Germany could be more flexible about this. Toward the end of his career he specialized in issue-centered films: Muerte de un quinqui (Death of a Gipsy, 1975), Secuestro (Kidnapping, 1976), and Violación fatal (Trauma, 1978) belong to this period.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.