Martínez Soria, Paco


Martínez Soria, Paco
(1902-1982)
   Paco Martínez Soria was 64 by the time he reached stardom with La ciudad no es para mí (The City Is Not for Me, Pedro Lazaga, 1966). This was the late period of an extensive career on stage and film. He had been a character actor, working mostly in touring companies, since the 1920s. A characteristic performer in sainetes and other costumbrista parts, he played supporting roles on screen since 1934, including some key films of the 1940s like Alma de Dios (Soul of God, Ignacio F. Iquino, 1941), El difunto es un vivo (The Dead Man Is Very Lively, Iquino, 1941), and Deliciosamente tontos (Deliciously Silly, Juan de Orduña, 1943).
   But it was a 1966 Pedro Lazaga comedy that made Martínez Soria into a household name. In La ciudad no es para mí, he played an Aragonese grandfather who comes to visit his children in the big city. It was one of the key desarrollismo comedies, dealing with the shock of modernity, and Martínez Soria films came to epitomize the more conservative approach to the genre, engagingly getting people to sympathize with his old-fashioned views. In a popular series of films throughout the late 1960s, he became the wise paleto (hick) who was a paragon of the virtues of rural Spain, dispensing sage advice to put children and grandchildren on the right path regarding consumerism and love. His films only aimed to please a specific audience, and they did well at the box office. The most successful were El turismo es un gran invento (Tourism Is a Great Invention, Pedro Lazaga, 1968), Abuelo Made in Spain (Grandfather Made in Spain, Pedro Lazaga, 1969), Don Erre que Erre (Mr. Stubborn, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1970), El abuelo tiene un plan (Grandad Has a Date, Pedro Lazaga, 1973), and El calzonazos (The Henpecked Husband, Mariano Ozores, 1974). He retired in 1981, when his image and what it represented became incongruous with the new times. In the 1990s, his films were broadcast on television, and he experienced a second wave of popularity.

Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. . 2010.

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