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The Strange Story Of The Movie That Francisco Franco Scripted, Had Filmed, Released, And Then Destroyed

Sep 27, 2018

  • By Thomas Graham 24 September 2018

Most dictatorships end in revolution, or don’t really end at all. Spain was a rare exception.

Francisco Franco died peacefully in 1975, almost four decades after his fascist forces triumphed in the Spanish Civil War. Franco believed he was handing power over to King Juan Carlos –  but Juan Carlos was sensitive to the tide of history. As soon as his mentor died, he moved to install democracy. Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy was remarkably smooth. And that meant Spain never truly reckoned with its past.

Franco left his country with a lot of baggage – and a never-ending debate over what to do with it. There’s the Valley of the Fallen, the crass basilica built to honour the dead of the civil war, where Franco is currently buried – at least at the moment, as a royal decree has just been passed the Spanish parliament directing that his body be removed from the site. There are countless streets and squares named after fascists. There’s even a prominent foundation dedicated to celebrating Franco’s life and work. But one of the stranger relics Franco left behind is a film he scripted under a pseudonym in 1942, which can still be watched online in Spain.

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