- Los Últimos de Filipinas
- Last stand in the Philippines (1945)Antonio Román was one of the most established filmmakers of the early Franco years. Otherwise unfailingly conventional, he directed one of the central films of the early postwar period, which dovetailed very well with the current ideological discourse. In the years before it became obvious that the Hitler-Mussolini alliance would lose the war, the Franco regime made efforts to project an image of heroism and the triumph of traditional ideologies, which would be paralleled all over the world. The triumphalism of the period extended to cinema, and a small number of important films gave expression to this ideology. Los últimos de Filipinas was the most popular of these.The film took as inspiration real-life events 40 years earlier, in which a Spanish battalion put up strong resistance in a church at Baler against native troops, a stand-off prolonged months after their government had renounced its claims on the Far East islands. But what distinguishes Los últimos de Filipinas beyond its ideology is the craft and precision of Román's mise en scene, as well as a perfect assimilation of Hollywood models like John Ford's The Lost Patrol (1934) and Tay Garnett's Bataan (1943), which has been proposed as a direct source of inspiration. Román and co-scriptwriter Pedro de Juan (working from two historical accounts by Enrique Alfonso Barcones and Rafael Sánchez Campoy) find the individual investment in the group experience, delineating love stories and personal situations and ambition, as well as paying attention to the group dynamics. The presence of a song, "Yo te diré," sung by Tala, a beautiful native woman, provides an exoticism underlined by the night lighting and the presence of an unusually strong cast that included a very young Fernando Rey, Manolo Morán, Tony Leblanc, Armando Calvo, and Nani Fernández that helps to explain why the film had such a grip on audience imagination.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.