LA GRAN VIDA/THE GREAT LIFE

2000

Cast: Salma Hayek (Lola), Carmelo Gomez (Martin), Tito Valverde (Salva), Alicia Agut (Rosa), Paul Naschy (taxi-driver)
Director: Antonio Cuardi
Producer: Cesar Benitez, Aldo Spagnoli
Screenplay: Carlos Asorey, Fernando Leon de Aranoa
Photography: Nestor Calvo
Music: Manuel Villalta
Running time:
114 min.

American title: LIVING IT UP: LA GRAN VIDA
Distributed by Columbia Tristar
Theatrical exhibition: Possibly in some US markets; otherwise, released on DVD and video in September 2001

Notes: Naschy appears for a few seconds as a taxi-driver in the last part of the film. In an amusing bit, he tells his passenger, the already frightened and mob-pursued Martin (Spanish leading man Carmelo Gomez) to smell the interior of the cab and, when Martin doesn't notice anything novel, that the cab smells of blood in the air. I guess one should be thankful that Naschy had a chance to appear in a quality Spanish film that found distribution worldwide and here in the United States on DVD and video from a major company like Columbia Tristar. Naschy does try to squeeze as much novelty and scene-stealing into the brief role as possible, and the Naschy fan will smile throughout the scene. In the opening credits Naschy is listed separately in a guest star capacity, but his name is nowhere to be seen on the cover of the American DVD or video, even though he is better known to American audiences (well, to cult/horror audiences at least) than the male Spanish leads, Tito Valverde and the aforementioned Carmelo Gomez. The optional English language dub available on the DVD does not do justice to anyone's voice or performance, Naschy's included. Without doubt, it's best to see the film in its original Spanish language. As for the film itself, it is a moderately interesting and lively take, well produced and directed, on the always curious story of a character who has one week to live. Gomez and Valverde are quite good and charasmatic, but Salma Hayek looks terrible in her stringy braids, and her performance as Lola is unnecessarily gratting.

 

Widescreen, multilanguage DVD on sale at Amazon.com, link below

Living It Up - La Gran Vida