Luis Fernández Santos, dir. The Libro de buen amor del Arcipreste de Hita. With Juan José Ortegui as Don Melón, Lola Cardona as Doña Endrina, and Maria Arias as Trotaconventos. Televisión española, 1960 (16 mm, 60 min., distributed by Films for the Humanities, P. O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08540, [201] 329-6912).

Reviewed by Mary-Anne Vetterling, Northeastern University

Finally, American Hispanists have access to a good movie on medieval Spain! The action takes place within a typical Spanish medieval town and the characters sport medieval costumes. The script is almost entirely from the Libro de buen amor, although in a modernized version following somewhat closely that of Maria Brey Mariño ("Odres Nuevos"). Technically the filming is excellent. The characters speak slowly and clearly enough for students to understand them. This is essential, for there are no subtitles. Yet even students who know no Spanish will be delighted with the film and will find it to be an effective illustration of medieval life and literature.

The film focuses on the Melón-Endrina episode, weaving into it sections from the Arcipreste-Amor debate, the Gozos de Santa Maria and the Cantares de ciegos. Only one of the short tales, that of Pitas Payas, is included,almost in its entirety. The belly paintings of the lamb and the ram are exceptionally well portrayed and in good taste. It is a credit to the film makers that they have preserved Juan Ruiz's sexual innuendos in the spirit in which they ware intended --to be complemented in the mind's eye of the beholder. Another significant fact is that in the movie, spies come and interrupt Don Melón before he has taken Doña Endrina. This is a most appropriate representation of the prudish person who is thought to have removed the pages containing the seduction scene from all extant manuscripts of the Libro. After the Melón-Endrina episode, the pace of the movie picks up. Various scenes are depicted rather briefly, and the movie draws quickly to a close.

We see a marvellous version of the Carnal-Cuaresma battle illustrated by scenes from Bosch and accompanied musically by the Carmina Burana. Some of these same scenes can be found in the Libro de buen amor, edición critica y artistica. Ed. Manual Criado de Val & Eric W. Naylor. Madrid: Aguilar, 1976. They have chosen from Bosch 's Tentaciones de San Antonio for Doña Cuaresma (Criado de Val & Naylor, p. 49) and from his Camino de vida for Don Carnal (Criado de Val & Naylor, p. 102).

Next Don Melón visits Doña Garoza in church (a rendezvous we have seen skillfully arranged by Trotaconventos) The film makers stray from the text somewhat, for it is while don Melon (not the Arcipreste as in the original) is talking with the nun that he is informed of his go-between's death. The film ends with the eulogy to Trotaconventos and a few closing stanzas referring to the Libro itself.

It is important to keep in mind that the film makers have divided the yo of the author into three different characters: 1 the narrator, a youth who recites verses from tie Libro to a crowd of intercepts bystanders; (2) the writer: an elderly archpriest who gives advice and observes the action of the film; arid (3) the lover: the character Don Melón, a bewildered, round-faced man in his forties. The rest of the characters are unmistakable to anyone familiar with the Libro de buen amor.

Much of the original text has been omitted in the film, but the film makers have chosen well. The acting is good although doña Endrina sometimes overacts and seems more sensuous than ingenuous. Overall, the film is an excellent representation of the Libro and is a most suitable tool for the classroom.

As an aid to those who intend to view the film, below is a list of the stanzas used in the order in which they appear in the movie:

1710, 1713abc, 14-16, 18, 71, 109, 1635, 1521-22, 653-54, 657, 661,

668bcd, 677, 679bcd-681, 683, 1485, 1489, 156d, 156a, 388dbca, 390abc,

159, 1631, 1629, 688-89, 691, 694, 33abc, 34, 181, 182bacd, 423bacd,

186, 427abc, 438, 441, 440, 701bcd, 703, 706abe, 708-9, 710cd, 716-17,

719, 723bc, 725-26, 742, 727, 738, 740, 743-44, 764, post-765, 919c,

924acd, 925, 927, 432, 435, 468, 472-85, 788, 792acbd, 790, 796, 798-99,

802, 813, 815, 825, 828-29, 839-40, 844, 863, 450-51, 515, 521-22,

572-73, 872d, 873a, 870bcd, 152-54, 1661ab, 1662acdfg, 417-18, 1067,

1069, 1072, 1081-82, 1120, 1173, 1180, 1190, 1202, 1208, 1344bcd-1347(?)c,

1385, 1392, 1395, 1495-96, 1499-1500, 1502, 1520, 1569, 1571, 1576ab,

1578, 1629, 1634, 1633.

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