Franco’s Great Family: La gran familia (The Great Family, Palacios 1962)

Sally Faulkner

in A Cinema of Contradiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621606
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651078 | DOI:
Franco’s Great Family: La gran familia (The Great Family, Palacios 1962)

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Fernando Palacios's consensual comedy La gran familia seemed to contain everything that the promoters of the Nuevo Cine Español considered wrong with the Viejo Cine Español. The film's celebration of the conservative ideology that underpinned Francoism, attractively packaged as light, or ‘white’, family comedy, and supported by popular stars, pushed all the right buttons on the classification board, which awarded it the coveted subsidy. La gran familia might be considered a tool of propaganda to support government policy. This chapter examines how the film conceals contradictions to construct a conservative vision of the family that was convincing enough to win over the ‘National Interest’ awards board. The chapter harnesses genre, plot, musical score and performance style to naturalise Franco's 1960s Great Family and show that the current economic boom happily coexists with traditional family structures. It pays particular attention to the role played by the veteran comic actor José Isbert and the discourse of claustrophobia that is emphasised in the film by cinematography and editing.

Keywords: La gran familia; comedy; family; Francoism; propaganda; contradictions; Great Family; José Isbert; claustrophobia; subsidy

Chapter.  9559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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