- Forqué, José María
- (1923-1995)During the 1960s, José María Forqué was one of the most financially successful producers and directors of commercial cinema in Spain. After some 12 shorts and a collaboration with Pedro Lazaga (María Morena, 1951), he directed his first feature Niebla y sol (Fog and Sun) in 1951. A learning period followed, during which he worked in largely unchallenging projects until 1954, when he directed Un día perdido (A Lost Day), a good comedy that assimilates elements of Spanish costumbrismo and neorealism. This was followed by the war-themed Embajadores en el infierno (Ambassadors in Hell, 1956). In 1957, he directed the unusual Amanecer en puerta oscura (Dawn at the Dark Gate, a Golden Bear winner at the Berlin Film Festival), a story that combined two thematic trends of the period: films about 19th-century outlaws (seen as popular nationalist heroes) on the one hand, and religious narratives about miracles on the other. This was the beginning of the most interesting period in his career. Two films made in 1958 are particularly ambitious: Un hecho violento (A Violent Event) and La noche y el alba (Night and Dawn).Forqué's best-remembered films in the next decade are vaudevilles that take their inspiration from stage plays, including Maribel y la extraña familia (Maribel and the Strange Family, 1960), Usted puede ser un asesino (You Could Be a Murderer, 1961), Un millón en la basura (A Million in the Dustbin, 1967), and Vil seducción (Vile Seduction, 1968). The heist film Atraco a las tres (Bank Robbery at Three, 1962) is one of the most effectively plotted farces of the period, and its critical reputation only seems to grow with the years. It boasted an excellent cast including José Luis López Vázquez, Gracita Morales, Cassen, Agustín González, Alfredo Landa, and Rafaela Aparicio. But, like many other commercial directors, later in the decade he was forced into conventional and increasingly conservative projects by the very momentum of mainstream film industry. After Francisco Franco's death, he dabbled in pseudo-erotic comedies like ¡Qué verde era mi duque! (How Green Was My Duke! 1980), and he also directed the traditional costume drama (and box-office flop) Romanza final (Final Aria, 1986), based on the life of a legendary Basque tenor played by Josep Carreras.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.