That Happy Couple

The modest couple made up of Juan and Carmen live in a rented room with access to kitchen facilities in Madrid, in the 50s. Juan works as a gaffer in a film studio and he is a disillusioned man who tries to progress in life in a practical sort of way. To do that he takes up a correspondence course to become a radio technician and, later, tries to open a photography business using the ends of the blank film from the studio where he works, which almost costs him his job. Carmen, however, is an idealist seamstress who takes refuge on the cinema, the radio and the gossip magazines, while she carries on convinced that the solution to her problems will come through winning the lottery or a contest. Her dream comes true when she and her husband are chosen by the brand of soap makers Florit as the “happy couple”.

Thanks to this contest they can enjoy the typical lifestyle of a middle-class, well-off couple for twenty-four hours. They are smothered with a great variety of presents in different shops, a funeral insurance policy, a sumptuous meal in a luxurious restaurant and, finally, an evening in a trendy nightclub. Tired of being in the spotlight and taking part in a ridiculous situation, Juan starts a violent argument which takes them to the police station and makes them think about what has happened to them. They accept their own reality and leave the fastidious presents on some benches on the street, where some homeless people are sleeping.

Production: Industrias Cinematográficas Altamira, S.L. (Madrid).

Directors: Juan Antonio Bardem and Luis García Berlanga.

Story and Screenplay: Juan Antonio Bardem and Luis García Berlanga.

Director of Photography: Guillermo Goldberger (B/W).

Music: Jesús García Leoz.

Editor: Pepita Orduña.

Set Decorator: Bernardo Ballester.

Production Managers: Martín Proharam and José María Ramos.

Administrator: Cristóbal Márquez. Assistant Director: Ricardo Muñoz Suay. Continuity: Rogelio Cobos. Second Cameraman: Luis Alcolea. Still photographer: Vicente Oliveros. Production Assistant: Cristóbal Márquez. Make-up Artist: Ascensión Sánchez. Hair Stylist: Juanita Culell. Sound Engineer: Felipe Hernández. Assistant Editor: Alicia Castillo. Props: Menjibar. Costume Design: Cornejo. Set Constructor: Tomás Fernández. Film Studios: Cinearte (Madrid). Soundtrack: Fono España. Laboratory: Arroyo (Madrid).

Fernando Fernán Gómez (Juan), Elvira Quintillá (Carmen), Félix Fernández (Rafa), José Luis Ozores (Luis), Fernando Aguirre (organizer), Manuel Arbó (Esteban), Matilde Muñoz Sampedro (Amparo), Antonio García Quijada (Manolo), Antonio Garisa (Florentino), José Franco (tenor), “Alady” (technician), José María Rodero (delegate), Raquel Daina (cabaret dancer), Paquito Cano (cabaret dancer), Rafael Bardem (police inspector), Rafael Alonso (undetaker’s assistant), José Orjas (waiter), Francisco Bernal (driver), Mariano Alcón (bad Count in the film), Manuel Aguilera (film director), Pilar Sirvent (Lolita), Carmen Sánchez (doña Lola), Lola Gaos (queen of the film), Antonio Estévez (grandfather), Mapi Gómez (Amparito), Julio Gorostegui (maître), Domingo Rivas (store owner), Rosario Royo (landlady at guesthouse), Antonio Ozores (orchestra conductor), Concha López Silva (lady), Aníbal Vela Jr. (shop assistant at shoeshop #1), Alfredo Muñiz (shop assistant at shoeshop #2), José María del Val (photographer), Francisco Tomás Comes, Honorina Fernández (teacher), María Luisa Amado (Maruja), Matilde Llopis (doña Lola’s maid), José Luis López Vázquez (shop assistant at jeweller’s), Juan Antonio Bardem (sound engineer) and Matías Prats’ voice (radio presenter).


Jimeno Revelation Award for best director from the Cinematographic Writer’s Guild (CEC)

Special Mention at the III Encuentros Internacionales de Cine para la Juventud (3rd International Conference of Cinema for Young People), Cannes, 1952.

Filming Location


More information

Release Date: 31 August 1953.

Official Film Rating: Primera categoría (First Class) (revised).

Year of production


Year of release in Spain