Torremolinos 73 (2003) from Tuna

Torremolinos 73 is an offbeat Spanish comedy. 

Alfredo (Javier Cámara, Talk to Her) is an door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, but isn't selling much of anything. Since he is paid on commission, he is behind on his bills and can't afford the child that his wife Carmen (Candela Peña, All About My Mother) wants so desperately. When he is summoned to the boss's office, he fears the worst, but instead is invited with his wife to the company's first off-site conference. The theme of the conference is something of a shock. The boss is collaborating with a Danish company which is publishing a video encyclopedia of the mating habits of the world. The initial volumes have been huge sellers. Alfredo's boss gives his few remaining salesmen a choice: they can become unemployed, or they can film themselves having sex with their wives for the Spanish volume of the encyclopedia. Since there is a large cash payment for each completed film, plus commissions on sales, they go for it.

Carmen is very shy at first, but gradually warms to performing for the camera, and Alfredo becomes hooked on directing. When Carmen is accosted by a Danish tourist with a camera in a department store, the couple learns that she has become a famous porn star in Denmark. Alfredo then begins to fancy himself a real filmmaker, but not of porn loops. He hopes to emulate his idol, Ingmar Bergman. He writes a script which is essentially a remake of The Seventh Seal, re-located to the resort town of Torremolinos. Fortunately, Alfredo's boss also has the movie bug, and decides to produce the film with Alfredo directing and Carmen as the lead. Carmen is less enthusiastic about her new fame. She still wants to have that baby, and she now has the money, but Alfredo turns out to have defective sperm.

The movie production goes reasonably well until the boss rewrites the ending to have Carmen do a sex scene with her young attractive costar.

It's a wonderful premise, and is nothing short of brilliant for the first two acts. Act three, the actual movie within a movie, isn't nearly as entertaining as the first two thirds of the film, but overall it was a great idea written with real wit and and executed beautifully by two great leads supported by an all-star cast.


Scoop's note:

Reviews were mixed. American reviewers were generally kind, while the Brits gave the film a colder reception. One review stands out: liked it even more than Tuna did! The most fascinating part of the Salon article is the director's contention that the entire story is true!

The actual story behind Berger's film seems to lie somewhere between gospel truth and Spanish urban myth. He insists he met the real Alfredo López in the early '80s, and the "Seventh Seal" remake (originally called "Torremolinos 73" but a hit in Scandinavia as "The Adventures of a Horny Widow") genuinely existed.



  • Director's introduction
  • Cast & director biographies
  • Photo gallery
  • Sexy trailers from the '60s and '70s



Candela Pena shows everything in the lead. Mari-Anne Jesperson performs a full-frontal sex scene as a Danish sex film instructor.

The Critics Vote ...

  • British consensus:  two and a quarter stars out of four. Mail 4/10, Telegraph 5/10, Independent 6/10, Guardian 6/10, Times 4/10, Express 6/10, Mirror 8/10, FT 4/10, BBC 4/5.


The People Vote ...

  • It grossed only about $3 million in Spain
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C+, a top-notch foreign comedy.

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