Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Space and Place in Alejandro Galindo’s 1950 Film Adaptation of Benito Pérez Galdós’s Doña Perfecta (1876)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2018), 95, (4), 417–434.

Abstract

In his 1950 film adaptation of Galdós’s 1876 novel Doña Perfecta the Mexican director Alejandro Galindo transferred the action from the imaginary Spanish city of Orbajosa to Santa Fe in Mexico. To date critics have focussed largely upon assessing the ‘Mexicanism’ of the film, coming to the conclusion that the film, like the novel, is an overblown melodrama. This article will now pay close attention to the artistic qualities of the film, specifically its use of space and place, and will seek to demonstrate how Galindo, responding as a reader of Galdós’s novel, produces a work that not only invites new ways of reading Doña Perfecta but also highlights its timelessness and universality.

En su adaptación cinematográfica (1950) de Doña Perfecta (1876), novela galdosiana, el director mexicano Alejandro Galindo trasladó la acción desde la ciudad imaginaria de Orbajosa, en España, a Santa Fe, en México. Hasta la fecha, los críticos han centrado su atención en examinar la ‘mexicanidad’ de la película, y por lo general han llegado a la conclusión de que la película, como la novela, es un melodrama exagerado. Este artículo, al contrario, analizará las cualidades artísticas de la película, específicamente el uso del espacio y el escenario, e intentará demostrar cómo Galindo, como lector de la novela de Galdós, ha conseguido producir una obra que no sólo invita al lector a responder de nueva manera a Doña Perfecta, sino que también destaca la atemporalidad y la universalidad de la novela original.

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Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente. 1922. El paraíso de las mujeres (Valencia: Prometeo). El paraíso de las mujeres Google Scholar

Condé, Lisa, 2000a. Critical Guide to ‘Tristana’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Tristana Critical Guide to ‘Tristana’ Google Scholar

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Faulkner, Sally, 2011. ‘Galdós and Spanish Cinema’, 2011 Pérez Galdós Lecture (Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield). Galdós and Spanish Cinema Google Scholar

García, Gustavo, 1995. ‘Melodrama: The Passion Machine’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 153–62. Melodrama: The Passion Machine Mexican Cinema 153 62 Google Scholar

Gollnick, Brian, 2005. ‘The Regional Novel and Beyond’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel, ed. Efraín Kristal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 44–58. The Regional Novel and Beyond The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel 44 58 Google Scholar

Gullón, Ricardo, 1970. Técnicas de Galdós (Madrid: Taurus). Técnicas de Galdós Google Scholar

Hall, John, 1973. ‘Galdós’s Use of the Christ-Symbol in Doña Perfecta’, Anales Galdosianos, 8: 95–98. Galdós’s Use of the Christ-Symbol in Doña Perfecta Anales Galdosianos 8 95 98 Google Scholar

Hernández Suárez, Manuel, 1972. Bibliografía de Galdós (Las Palmas: Ediciones Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria). Bibliografía de Galdós Google Scholar

Hoar, Leo, 1974. ‘Galdós y Aureliano de Beruete; Visión renovada de Orbajosa’, Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos, 20: 693–707. Galdós y Aureliano de Beruete; Visión renovada de Orbajosa Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos 20 693 707 Google Scholar

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Labanyi, Jo (ed.), 1993. Galdós (London: Longman). Galdós Google Scholar

Longhurst, Alex, 2003. ‘Representations of the “Fourth Estate” in Galdós, Blasco and Baroja’, in New Galdós Studies: Essays in Memory of John Varey, ed. Nicholas Round (Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis), pp. 73–97. Representations of the “Fourth Estate” in Galdós, Blasco and Baroja New Galdós Studies: Essays in Memory of John Varey 73 97 Google Scholar

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Monsiváis, Carlos, 2000. Mexican Postcards (London: Verso). Mexican Postcards Google Scholar

Paranaguá, Paulo Antonio (ed.), 1995. Mexican Cinema (London: British Film Institute). Mexican Cinema Google Scholar

Penuel, Arnold M., 1976. ‘The Problem of Ambiguity in Galdós’s Doña Perfecta’, Anales Galdosianos, 11: 71–86. The Problem of Ambiguity in Galdós’s Doña Perfecta Anales Galdosianos 11 71 86 Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1876. Doña Perfecta (Madrid: Imp. de J. Noguera, a cargo de M. Martínez). Doña Perfecta Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1892. Tristana (Madrid: Imp. de La Guirnalda). Tristana Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1897. ‘La sociedad presente como material novelable’, Discurso leído ante la Real Academia Española (Madrid: Est. Tip. De la Viuda é Hijos de Tello). La sociedad presente como material novelable Discurso leído ante la Real Academia Española Google Scholar

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Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1924. ‘Fin del año 1885’, in Obras inéditas, ed. Alberto Ghiraldo, VI Cronicón (Madrid: Renacimiento), pp. 315–22. Fin del año 1885 Cronicón 315 22 Google Scholar

Ribbans, Geoffrey, 1990. ‘Doña Perfecta: Yet Another Ending’, MLN, 105.2: 203–225. Doña Perfecta: Yet Another Ending MLN 105.2 203 225 Google Scholar

Rodgers, Eamonn, 1987. From Enlightenment to Realism: The Novels of Galdós 1870–1887 (Dublin: Jack Hade). From Enlightenment to Realism: The Novels of Galdós 1870–1887 Google Scholar

Rodgers, Eamonn, 2006. ‘Galdós and Myth’. The 2005 Pérez Galdós Lecture (Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield). Galdós and Myth Google Scholar

Shaw, Donald, 1972. Critical Guide to ‘Doña Bárbara’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Doña Bárbara Critical Guide to ‘Doña Bárbara’ Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, 2008. Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: literatura y cine (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: literatura y cine Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, 2011. ‘Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: el caso de Doña Perfecta’, in Actas del VIII Congreso de estudios internacionales galdosianos (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Cabildo de Gran Canaria), pp. 799–813. Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: el caso de Doña Perfecta Actas del VIII Congreso de estudios internacionales galdosianos 799 813 Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, and Lilia Vieyra Sánchez, 2001. ‘La recepción de la obra de Benito Pérez Galdós en México: un estudio bibliohemerográfico en vida del autor’, Nueva Época, 1 and 2: 223–362. Available at: >http://publicaciones.iib.unam.mx/index.php/boletin/article/view/665> [accessed 10 February 2018]. Google Scholar

Sisto, David, 1954. ‘Doña Perfecta and Doña Bárbara’, Hispania, 37.2 (May): 167–70. Doña Perfecta and Doña Bárbara Hispania 37.2 167 70 Google Scholar

Sommer, Doris, 1991. Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press). Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America Google Scholar

Stam, Robert, 2005. ‘Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation’, in Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation, ed. R. Stam and A. Raengo (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 1–52. Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation 1 52 Google Scholar

Swanson, Philip, 2003. ‘Civilization and Barbarism’, in The Companion to Latin American Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 69–85. Civilization and Barbarism The Companion to Latin American Studies 69 85 Google Scholar

Tierney, Dolores, 2007. Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press). Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins Google Scholar

Tierney, Dolores, 2010. ‘Emilio Fernández “in Hollywood”: Mexico’s Postwar Inter-American Cinema, La perla/The Pearl (1946) and The Fugitive (1948)’, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, 7.2 (December): 81–100. Emilio Fernández “in Hollywood”: Mexico’s Postwar Inter-American Cinema, La perla/The Pearl (1946) and The Fugitive (1948) Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 7.2 81 100 Google Scholar

Varey, John E., 1971. Critical Guide to ‘Doña Perfecta’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Doña Perfecta Critical Guide to ‘Doña Perfecta’ Google Scholar

Vega Alfaro, Eduardo de la, 1995. ‘Origins, Development and Crisis of the Sound Cinema (1929–64)’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 79–93. Origins, Development and Crisis of the Sound Cinema (1929–64) Mexican Cinema 79 93 Google Scholar

Zahareas, Antonio, 1976. ‘Galdós’s Doña Perfecta: Fiction, History, Ideology’, Anales Galdosianos, 11: 29–58. Galdós’s Doña Perfecta: Fiction, History, Ideology Anales Galdosianos 11 29 58 Google Scholar

Alas, Leopoldo, 1912. Galdós (Madrid: Renacimiento). Galdós Google Scholar

Anderson, Farris, 1985. ‘Ellipsis and Space in Tristana’, Anales Galdosianos, 20: 61–76. Ellipsis and Space in Tristana Anales Galdosianos 20 61 76 Google Scholar

Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente. 1922. El paraíso de las mujeres (Valencia: Prometeo). El paraíso de las mujeres Google Scholar

Condé, Lisa, 2000a. Critical Guide to ‘Tristana’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Tristana Critical Guide to ‘Tristana’ Google Scholar

Condé, Lisa, 2000b. ‘The Buñuel Alternative to Galdós’s Tristana’, Romance Studies, 18: 135–44. The Buñuel Alternative to Galdós’s Tristana Romance Studies 18 135 44 Google Scholar

Correa, Gustavo, 1962. El simbolismo religioso en Pérez Galdós (Madrid: Gredos). El simbolismo religioso en Pérez Galdós Google Scholar

Dapena, Gerard, 2004. ‘Galdós on Film: Doña Perfecta, A Mexican Melodrama’, in The Hispanic Connection: Spanish and Spanish American Literature in the Arts of the World, ed. Zenia Sacks Da Silva (Westport, CT: Praeger), pp. 313–22. Galdós on Film: Doña Perfecta, A Mexican Melodrama The Hispanic Connection: Spanish and Spanish American Literature in the Arts of the World 313 22 Google Scholar

Durán Loera, Ignacio, 1995. ‘Preface’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute). Preface Mexican Cinema Google Scholar

Faulkner, Sally, 2011. ‘Galdós and Spanish Cinema’, 2011 Pérez Galdós Lecture (Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield). Galdós and Spanish Cinema Google Scholar

García, Gustavo, 1995. ‘Melodrama: The Passion Machine’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 153–62. Melodrama: The Passion Machine Mexican Cinema 153 62 Google Scholar

Gollnick, Brian, 2005. ‘The Regional Novel and Beyond’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel, ed. Efraín Kristal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 44–58. The Regional Novel and Beyond The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel 44 58 Google Scholar

Gullón, Ricardo, 1970. Técnicas de Galdós (Madrid: Taurus). Técnicas de Galdós Google Scholar

Hall, John, 1973. ‘Galdós’s Use of the Christ-Symbol in Doña Perfecta’, Anales Galdosianos, 8: 95–98. Galdós’s Use of the Christ-Symbol in Doña Perfecta Anales Galdosianos 8 95 98 Google Scholar

Hernández Suárez, Manuel, 1972. Bibliografía de Galdós (Las Palmas: Ediciones Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria). Bibliografía de Galdós Google Scholar

Hoar, Leo, 1974. ‘Galdós y Aureliano de Beruete; Visión renovada de Orbajosa’, Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos, 20: 693–707. Galdós y Aureliano de Beruete; Visión renovada de Orbajosa Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos 20 693 707 Google Scholar

Hutcheon, Linda, 2013. A Theory of Adaptation (London: Routledge). A Theory of Adaptation Google Scholar

Jones, Cyril A., 1959. ‘Galdós’s Second Thoughts on Doña Perfecta’, MLR, 54: 570–73. Galdós’s Second Thoughts on Doña Perfecta MLR 54 570 73 Google Scholar

Labanyi, Jo (ed.), 1993. Galdós (London: Longman). Galdós Google Scholar

Longhurst, Alex, 2003. ‘Representations of the “Fourth Estate” in Galdós, Blasco and Baroja’, in New Galdós Studies: Essays in Memory of John Varey, ed. Nicholas Round (Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis), pp. 73–97. Representations of the “Fourth Estate” in Galdós, Blasco and Baroja New Galdós Studies: Essays in Memory of John Varey 73 97 Google Scholar

López, Ana, 1991. ‘The Melodrama in Latin America: Films, Telenovelas and the Currency of a Popular Form’, in Imitations of Life: A Reader on Film and Television Melodrama, ed. Marcia Landy (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press), pp. 596–606. The Melodrama in Latin America: Films, Telenovelas and the Currency of a Popular Form Imitations of Life: A Reader on Film and Television Melodrama 596 606 Google Scholar

Monsiváis, Carlos, 1995a. ‘Mythologies’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 117–27. Mythologies Mexican Cinema 117 27 Google Scholar

Monsiváis, Carlos, 1995b. ‘All the People Came and Did Not Fit Onto the Screen: Notes on the Cinema Audience in Mexico’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 145–51. All the People Came and Did Not Fit Onto the Screen: Notes on the Cinema Audience in Mexico Mexican Cinema 145 51 Google Scholar

Monsiváis, Carlos, 2000. Mexican Postcards (London: Verso). Mexican Postcards Google Scholar

Paranaguá, Paulo Antonio (ed.), 1995. Mexican Cinema (London: British Film Institute). Mexican Cinema Google Scholar

Penuel, Arnold M., 1976. ‘The Problem of Ambiguity in Galdós’s Doña Perfecta’, Anales Galdosianos, 11: 71–86. The Problem of Ambiguity in Galdós’s Doña Perfecta Anales Galdosianos 11 71 86 Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1876. Doña Perfecta (Madrid: Imp. de J. Noguera, a cargo de M. Martínez). Doña Perfecta Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1892. Tristana (Madrid: Imp. de La Guirnalda). Tristana Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1897. ‘La sociedad presente como material novelable’, Discurso leído ante la Real Academia Española (Madrid: Est. Tip. De la Viuda é Hijos de Tello). La sociedad presente como material novelable Discurso leído ante la Real Academia Española Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1923 [1888]. ‘El mal tiempo y las crisis’, in Obras inéditas, ed. Alberto Ghiraldo. IV Política española (Madrid: Renacimiento), pp. 115–20. El mal tiempo y las crisis Obras inéditas 115 20 Google Scholar

Pérez Galdós, Benito, 1924. ‘Fin del año 1885’, in Obras inéditas, ed. Alberto Ghiraldo, VI Cronicón (Madrid: Renacimiento), pp. 315–22. Fin del año 1885 Cronicón 315 22 Google Scholar

Ribbans, Geoffrey, 1990. ‘Doña Perfecta: Yet Another Ending’, MLN, 105.2: 203–225. Doña Perfecta: Yet Another Ending MLN 105.2 203 225 Google Scholar

Rodgers, Eamonn, 1987. From Enlightenment to Realism: The Novels of Galdós 1870–1887 (Dublin: Jack Hade). From Enlightenment to Realism: The Novels of Galdós 1870–1887 Google Scholar

Rodgers, Eamonn, 2006. ‘Galdós and Myth’. The 2005 Pérez Galdós Lecture (Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield). Galdós and Myth Google Scholar

Shaw, Donald, 1972. Critical Guide to ‘Doña Bárbara’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Doña Bárbara Critical Guide to ‘Doña Bárbara’ Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, 2008. Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: literatura y cine (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: literatura y cine Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, 2011. ‘Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: el caso de Doña Perfecta’, in Actas del VIII Congreso de estudios internacionales galdosianos (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Cabildo de Gran Canaria), pp. 799–813. Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: el caso de Doña Perfecta Actas del VIII Congreso de estudios internacionales galdosianos 799 813 Google Scholar

Sinnigen, John, and Lilia Vieyra Sánchez, 2001. ‘La recepción de la obra de Benito Pérez Galdós en México: un estudio bibliohemerográfico en vida del autor’, Nueva Época, 1 and 2: 223–362. Available at: >http://publicaciones.iib.unam.mx/index.php/boletin/article/view/665> [accessed 10 February 2018]. Google Scholar

Sisto, David, 1954. ‘Doña Perfecta and Doña Bárbara’, Hispania, 37.2 (May): 167–70. Doña Perfecta and Doña Bárbara Hispania 37.2 167 70 Google Scholar

Sommer, Doris, 1991. Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press). Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America Google Scholar

Stam, Robert, 2005. ‘Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation’, in Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation, ed. R. Stam and A. Raengo (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 1–52. Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation 1 52 Google Scholar

Swanson, Philip, 2003. ‘Civilization and Barbarism’, in The Companion to Latin American Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 69–85. Civilization and Barbarism The Companion to Latin American Studies 69 85 Google Scholar

Tierney, Dolores, 2007. Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press). Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins Google Scholar

Tierney, Dolores, 2010. ‘Emilio Fernández “in Hollywood”: Mexico’s Postwar Inter-American Cinema, La perla/The Pearl (1946) and The Fugitive (1948)’, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, 7.2 (December): 81–100. Emilio Fernández “in Hollywood”: Mexico’s Postwar Inter-American Cinema, La perla/The Pearl (1946) and The Fugitive (1948) Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 7.2 81 100 Google Scholar

Varey, John E., 1971. Critical Guide to ‘Doña Perfecta’ (London: Grant & Cutler). Doña Perfecta Critical Guide to ‘Doña Perfecta’ Google Scholar

Vega Alfaro, Eduardo de la, 1995. ‘Origins, Development and Crisis of the Sound Cinema (1929–64)’, in Mexican Cinema, ed. Paulo Antonio Paranaguá (London: British Film Institute), pp. 79–93. Origins, Development and Crisis of the Sound Cinema (1929–64) Mexican Cinema 79 93 Google Scholar

Zahareas, Antonio, 1976. ‘Galdós’s Doña Perfecta: Fiction, History, Ideology’, Anales Galdosianos, 11: 29–58. Galdós’s Doña Perfecta: Fiction, History, Ideology Anales Galdosianos 11 29 58 Google Scholar

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Davies, Rhian