LA SONRISA DEL LOBO “new doc” about Waldemar Daninsky
By Elena Anele (*)
LA SONRISA DEL LOBO (The Wolf’s Smile) is a “new documentary” about Paul Naschy’s most famous character: Waldemar Daninsky. It is directed by Javier Perea and produced by Imagen Death.
First of all let me explain the quotation marks in “new documentary”. It was made before Paul Naschy passed away and for unknown reasons it hadn’t been sent to fests before this fall. Also it is not what we can categorize as documentary, it is just a long interview to Jacinto Molina talking about Waldemar Daninsky movies at the same time some images and fragments from the movies are included.
The documentary is divided into four chapters: 60, 70s, 80s and 1990 – 2005 plus a conclusion. They cover 16 movies including: Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, Nights of the Werewolf – a movie according to Paul was finished but lost before dubbing-, Assignment Terror, Fury of the Wolfman, The Werewolf vs. Vampire Woman, Dr. Jeckyll vs. the Werewolf, Curse of the Devil, The Werewolf and the Yeti, The Night of the Werewolf, Buenas Noches Señor Monstruo, The Beast and the Magic Sword, Howl of the Devil, Aquí Huele a Muerto, Lycantropus: The Moonlight Murders, The Unliving and Un Lobinsomem na Amazonia. Then Jacinto Molina talks about the comic adaptations Javier Trujillo was making of his screenplays and explains what Waldemar Daninsky means for him: how much he loves him, although it made him suffer, and how thankful he is for all the things this character has given him.
During the interview a lot of information about those movies is given to us, but, I have to admit, there is nothing new, nothing that hadn’t been written or said before the doc was made. We cannot forget Paul wrote his memoirs and many books and some documentaries were made about him in the past. Not even do we have a new approach to his work.
He tells anecdotes, stories from the makings, actors, directors, awards… but we knew all about it beforehand.
The interview was recorded in Toledo. A city where part of The Beast and the Magic Sword was shot, a city he describes as magical and full of secrets. The settings chosen for the documentary were the Inquisition prison, Baño de la Cava and the Roman Circus.
The technical resources and its production make us feel we are in front of an amateur TV production or an extra for a DVD instead of the professional documentary it is said to be. The fragments of some of the films such as Assignment Terror or Howl of the Devil are very low quality and I think they should have thought before about including them or not. Also the sound seems to have been taken directly from the camera, instead of using a more professional device. There are parts were we are surrounded by strange echoes coming from the ruins, or we can listen the wind beating the microphone.
One can see it was made with love but it may not fulfill one’s expectations while watching a documentary about the essential Spanish Horror figure Paul Naschy is. Paul Naschy and Waldemar Danisky are two popular figures in Horror History and it’s quite difficult to surprise an audience who is familiar with the topic. Neither can it be used as an introduction for newbies.