The greatness of the comedian

At times when the figure of the director is glorified with regard to everything related to the authorship of a film, there wouldn’t be any harm in reflecting a little about to what extent the end result of the film, its possible success, is due to the actors, the comedians, who are, after all, the ones who do the dirty work and give life to something that would otherwise be only a few written sheets of paper or dreams in the air without them. That’s why I am in favour of going back to the customs of times which were more passionate for the cinema, times when one went to see a film by Charlot, by Clark Gable, by Bette Davis, by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (the list would be really long), the same way we could admire the national stars, and go to see a film by Sara Montiel, by Jorge Mistral, by Conchita Velasco, or by Tony Leblanc.

Perhaps, if Tony had been born in the States, now he would be a Hollywood sacred monster, living richly in a Beverly Hills mansion, but instead we have won a genius of humour from Madrid, to whom nobody can deny the title of “King of Spanish comedy”. I don’t know the exact number of titles which make up his incalculable filmography, but there can be no doubt that both his face and his talent epitomize a whole era of our cinema, which I have always wanted to claim, as well as the work of the directors of the industry of that time. Films made with a greased production mechanism which obtained an admirable relationship of proximity with the public.

Tony Leblanc has been successful in the cinema, the theatre and on television. Even in the field of music, as a composer of pasodoble songs. His professionalism was accompanied by fame and success, which is quite unusual in Spain. He has always been admired by everyone. Unfortunately for me, I have never really known why, having wished to do it so many times, for one reason or another, I have never been able to work with him. We both wanted to, but unfortunately it never happened. Anyway, it is a pleasure to see him working again with a brilliant performance in Santiago Segura’s “Torrente”. Who knows, maybe, at our old age, we can still undertake some project together. If not, I hereby state my humble and devoted worship for the greatness of a comedian; for the great quality of a master.

Luis García Berlanga

* Prologue to “Tony Leblanc, genio y figura”. Marcos Ordóñez. Festival de Cine Español de Málaga, Málaga, 1999.