Spanish Asylum Fernando Fernán-Gómez’s Eccentric Debut as a Film Director Adapting Gómez de la Serna, Poe, Kuprin and Andreiev (Manicomio, 1953)
In 1953, Fernando Fernán-Gómez, whose birth ́s first centenary is held in 2021, made his debut as a film director with a movie called Manicomio (Madhouse). At the time, not only was he in full intelectual maturity process but also he was one of the most acclaimed actors in the Spanish scene. This film, as cheap as eccentric, was based on four stories upon Edgar Allan Poe, Aleksandr Ivanovich Kuprin, Leonidas Andreiev and Ramón Gómez de la Serna, who contributed to this film with one of his masterwork, La mona de imitación (The Imitation Ape) that also became his first film adaptation. Throughout this movie, Fernán-Gómez drew a metaphorical picture as dark as dull of a deranged image of that Francoist model of Spain which was being ruled by madmen, while intellectuals -like anunforgettable 1989 Nobel Price Award Winner Camilo José Cela –were kicking around like crazy donkeys when are locked up within the walls of a madhouse. Someone may appreciate in the text, in a reduced germing way, Sainete (Spanish comedy of manners) and some other deforming features —such as the protagonist (Fernán-Gómez himself) talking to the spectators; the battered manners of the Ramonian episode that is performed by both renowned actors Antonio Vico and Elvira Quintillá—that will be the true and real basis for the author’s forthcoming style in his next movies El mundo sigue (The World Follows Its Course, 1963) or El extraño viaje (The Strange Journey, 1964).