Sevilla, Carmen

(1930- )
   Carmen Sevilla came across on film as a coquettish, perky, if somewhat soulless teenager endowed with unblemished skin, lively huge eyes, and Andalusian spontaneity. As in the case of other stars of the late 1940s, she conveyed a very meek, unerotic image. Discovered by Florián Rey when she was just a teenager earning a living dancing in Andalusian shows, she became one of the biggest stars of the 1950s, through her long association with Suevia Films production company. Although she did not possess a great voice, she could carry a tune, which was good enough for her vehicles, and it was in musicals that she made her mark. On the other hand, she could not convey the intensity or "racial" (or traditionally Spanish) temperament that other stars of the period (like Juanita Reina or Lola Flores) had in spades. Despite this, Sevilla had the longest career of the three.
   In the 1950s, under contract with Suevia, she played in a popular series of films, including Cuentos de la Alhambra (Tales of the Alhambra, Florián Rey, 1950); Un caballero andaluz (An Andalusian Gentleman, Luis Lucia, 1954); La picara Molinera (The Flirty Miller, León Klimovsky, 1955), a new version of the Imperio Argentina classic La hermana San Sulpicio (Sister Saint Sulpice, Luis Lucia, 1952); and La fierecilla domada (The Taming of the Shrew, Antonio Román, 1956). Of particular sociological interest are the hugely successful operettas (in co-production with France) in which she starred with Spanish-born legend Luis Mariano: El sueño de Andalucia (The Dream of Andalusia, Luis Lucia, 1951), La belle de Cadix (Beauty of Cadiz, Raymond Bernard and Eusebio Fernández Ardavín, 1953), and especially the box-office sensation Violetas imperiales (Imperial Violets, Richard Pottier, 1952) are good examples of the genre.
   Thanks to the charm she brought to these, by the mid-1950s, Sevilla was an international star who participated in several co-productions with Latin America, France, Italy, and Hollywood (she had a small role as Mary Magdalene in Nicholas Ray's King of Kings [ 1961 ]). As she became less credible as a virginal young lady, she also attempted more ambitious roles, as in Juan Antonio Bardem's La venganza (Revenge, 1958). José Luis Sáenz de Heredia's El balcón de la luna (The Balcony of the Moon, 1962) brought together the three great Andalusian divas of the period (the other two were Flores and Paquita Rico), but the disinterest shown by critics and audiences was an early sign that the genre was faltering.
   In the early 1960s, Sevilla entered a long crisis as her popularity faded. One attempt to mature on screen was to play in increasingly erotic and horror films for Eloy de la Iglesia (El techo de cristal [ The Glass Ceiling, 1971 ], Nadie oyó gritar [ No One Heard Screaming, 1973 ]) and Pedro Lazaga (Una mujer de Cabaret [ Cabaret Woman, 1974 ], Terapia al desnudo [ Naked Therapy, 1975 ]), but by 1977, after a part in Mariano Ozores' El apolitico (The Apolitical Man), she left movies for good. She came back to public life as a television hostess in the 1980s, when she regained her former popularity and made brief appearances on film.
   Historical Dictionary of Spanish Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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