Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

The Spanish 'Crusade Film': Gender connotations during the conflict

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2010), 4, (2), 161–172.

Abstract

Little work has been undertaken on early Francoist film music, especially those films concerned with the conflict in Morocco prior to the civil war that confronted two sides of Spain and modified enormously the development of the film industry in the forties and fifties. Although improvements have appeared in this field, and a few scholars have been interested in the influence of music on the filmic reality of the time, it is fair to say there is a lack of work from music scholars in this area.

After the end of the Spanish Civil War the regime tried to establish a new national cinema that supported pro-Franco values and extolled their feats through the subjective treatment of the armed conflict. The films Raza (José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1941), A mí la legión (Juan de Orduña, 1942) and Harka (Carlos Arévalo, 1941), among others, are prototype working models of 'crusade films', a term attached by Spanish film historians.

I shall present here the film music context of this difficult and controversial period, and explore the main characteristics of the handful of films mentioned above and other texts selected because of the gender connotations they imply. In addition, I shall argue that music constructed an association between gender and the ideal state that the new regime wanted to establish.

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Miranda, Laura