Esa Pareja Feliz (1951)

Countries - Spain  |  
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After the success of the political satire Bienvenido Mister Marshall (co-written by Juan Antonio Bardem, uncle of actor Javier Bardem, and Luis García Berlanga), That Happy Couple -- written and directed by Bardem and Berlanga in 1951, and starring the legendary Spanish actor/director Fernando Fernán Gómez -- was released in Spain in 1953. Gómez stars as Juan, who struggles to make a living working as a technician at the local film studio and is always on the lookout for some moneymaking scheme. He has a bunch of correspondence school diplomas on his wall, but he still can't fix his radio. His wife, Carmen (Elvira Quintillá), meanwhile, is obsessed with contests and sweepstakes, for example buying more soap than the pair will ever need in hopes of winning some prize. A shady character working in the local theater convinces Juan to "borrow" some film from the studio and invest his money and equipment in a photography business. Juan loses his job, and then learns that his business partner has run off. The tension that has been simmering between him and Carmen, rooted in their financial woes, reaches a boil. Just then, a gentleman enters their apartment with important news. Carmen has won a contest sponsored by a soap company, and she and Juan have been selected as "That Happy Couple," and are expected to spend the day visiting fancy shops and restaurants in Madrid, and promoting Florit Soap. Juan impulsively decides to use the Florit car to track down his shady partner, but when he joins Carmen later, they find that the high life is not all it's cracked up to be. That Happy Couple was shown at the Walter Reade Theater as part of a tribute to Gómez during the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 2004 edition of Spanish Cinema Now.