- Parra, Vicente
- (1931-1997)Handsome, serene, and elegant, Vicente Parra fits the bill of the leading man, and he was ideal as the eponymous king in ¿Dónde vas Alfonso XII? (Where Are You Going, Alfonso XII? Luis César Amadori, 1957) and its sequel ¿Dónde vas triste de ti? (Where Are You Going, Sad Man? Julio Balcázar and Guillermo Cases, 1960), a kitschy, sentimental approach to the life and loves of monarchy along the lines of the Sissi films: rather than ruling the country, Alfonso XII was seen falling in love with María de las Mercedes and being utterly and tearfully shattered when she died (definitely Francoism's preferred version of political history). Their phenomenal success was something of a curse for this serious actor, who had started his career in serious theater and resented typecasting. His earlier roles were far from conservative, however: in parts for Francisco Rovira Beleta (El expreso de Andalucía [ Andalusia Express ], 1956) and Manuel Mur Oti (the homoerotic Fedra, 1956 and El batallón de las sombras [ The Battalion in the Shadows ], 1957) he played young rebels or artistic personalities.Life after Alfonso XII was difficult for Parra, who tried to balance the image he had been identified with (in musicals like Nobleza Baturra [ Aragonese Nobility ], 1965 and La verbena de la paloma [ The Fair of the Dove ], 1963) and edgier, if less successful, parts in more substantial films including Varietés (Variety, Juan Antonio Bardem, 1971) and Nadie oyó gritar (No One Heard the Screams, Eloy de la Iglesia, 1973). One of the most radical attempts to change his image was his role in La semana del asesino (1972, known internationally as Cannibal Man), in which he played a working-class serial killer who, Sweeney Todd-like, put his victims through the grinder at a meat factory. In spite of these efforts, his career never took off again, and his appearances were limited to brief iconic parts in films like Las largas vacaciones del 36 (The Long Vacation of 1936, Jaime Camino, 1976), La guerra de papá (Dad's War, Antonio Mercero, 1977), and Suspiros de España (y Portugal) (Sighs of Spain [ and Portugal ], José Luis García Sánchez, 1995), which used irony tinged with echoes of his former image.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.