This research studies the presence and visibility of the gay world in Spanish cinema between 1940 and 1975. The report, published in the magazine Zer by Alejandro Melero, professor in the UC3M Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, shows that there were genres that homosexuality appeared in more frequently. One such genre is comedy, in which it was very usual to portray gays as funny characters.
Beyond our borders—and in sharp contrast to Spanish cinema—directors like Alfred Hitchcock were forerunners in the representation of homosexuality, “suggesting the existence of this reality without making it evident,” as in the case of the film Rope, from 1948. According to Professor Melero, during the transition to democracy in Spain, the claims of the gay world were “legalized” for the first time and there was a normalization of a cultural tradition of paradigms and archetypes of characters passed from one generation to the next.
“What we can now label as ‘gay cinema’ or ‘homosexual character’ was not designated that way in the Franco era. Characters that at present we could call ‘gays’ would not have been recognized as such by audiences from the period,” says Melero. For example, in Los ojos dejan huellas (1952), by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, there are no homosexuals, only confusion that might suggest their homosexuality.