- Velasco, Concha
- (1939- )Concha Velasco started working in films at a very early age, playing plucky, resourceful young ladies in choral films such as Las chicas de la Cruz Roja (The Red Cross Girls, Rafael J. Salvia, 1958) and Historias de la television (Tales from Television, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1965). In the latter, she was a hit in her brief musical number "La chica ye-yé" ("The Yeah Yeah Girl"), which would contribute to her iconic aura in later years, particularly among devotees of pop music. At the time, she was known by a diminutive, "Conchita" Velasco, and her career seemed aimed to be just one more among the many peppy starlets who aspired to represent the new modern girl of the comedia desarroUista."Velasco got her start in musical theater, in the company of stage diva Celia Gámez, and throughout the late 1960s, she exploited her musical talents in a series of films with copla star Manolo Escobar. Me debes un muerto (You Owe Me a Corpse, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1971), inspired by Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), was possibly the best in this period. Most of her films in the decade were low-quality productions, directed by Sáenz de Heredia, a director who had by that time lost his trademark touch and was unable to help develop her distinctive character. Only after a series of attention-grabbing performances for the National Theater Company in the early 1970s was Velasco taken seriously. It was also at that time that she became involved in the Union movement and expressed her affinity with Left-wing causes.In 1974, Velasco took on a strong supporting role in Tormento (Torment, 1974), Pedro Olea's adaptation of Benito Pérez Galdós novel of the same title. This role redefined her career, gaining her good reviews and numerous awards. She still took part in comedies, but she was increasingly ambitious in her choices. Other roles in serious historical films followed. Pim Pam Pum... ¡Fuego! (Ready, Aim . . . Fire!) in 1976 (again directed by Pedro Olea) is perhaps her best in the period. Her image as a showgirl reverberated in this story of survival during the immediate postwar era. Other roles in historical dramas that marked her professional maturity include Las largas vacaciones del 36 (The Long Vacation of 1936, Jaime Camino, 1976). During the Transition, she was very vocal in her support for the socialists and was prominent in protests against cultural policy and strikes by actors unions.Alternating theater work (particularly in a series of musicals penned for her by playwright Antonio Gala) with mature film parts (La colmena [ The Beehive ], Mario Camus, 1982), her reputation remained solid throughout the 1980s, particularly after her committed work playing Saint Teresa in the TV series Teresa de Jesús (1984), directed by Josefina Molina. Her housewife in Más allá del jardín (1996, a role written by her friend Gala, in a film directed by Pedro Olea) was her defining mature work of the 1990s, but Velasco was now nearing 60, and there were simply not enough starring parts to keep her working steadily. In the latter part of her career, she has become specialized in character roles, often playing tough women with an ironic twist. She was relaxed with nudity in Luis G. Berlanga's París-Timbuctú (1999), and played the dissatisfied married woman in Kilómetro Cero (Zero Point, Yolanda García Serrano and Juan Luis Iborra, 2000). She plays the hilarious harridan mother of a gay man in Chuecatown (Juan Flahn, 2007), one of her most recent parts.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.