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When a Danish comedy turned Benalmádena into … Mallorca

Do you know that Benalmádena has served as a set for filming films from all over the world? The director of Ficcab, Jaime Noguera, will discover in a series of articles that other facet of Benalmádena as a filming set

Jaime Noguera

The Costa del Sol has been attracting Danish filmmakers for longer than we can rememberto botepronto. For example, Torremolinos 73, although directed by Pablo Berger (who has, by the way, at home a Niña de Benalmádena trophy from the FICCAB for his film Abracadabra) was a Spanish-Danish co-production. Recently, a map of the municipality was recorded for the documentary The Longest War, by the director Jorge Rivera and the scriptwriter who wrote this article.

It seems that influenced by the old saying “kill the king and go to Malaga” – born at the end of the 19th century because of the fame Malaga had as a cradle of crime and a nest of impunity -, Nordic and national cinema tend to use our coastline as an ideal setting to shoot criminal plots with more (The girl who dreamed of a match and a can of gasoline, 2009) or less (Torrente 2, 2001) glamor. Sometimes, as in the case of the second title cited, to make other lares.

Thus, in 1974, a year before the death of Francisco Franco, the horniest criminal family (Nordic style, of course) in Danish cinema passed through Benalmádena and its surroundings. The (little) fearsomeOlsen band, protagonist of an entire film saga in the Nordic country, left the cold northerners to have some misadventures among jugs of sangria, paellas and bathers imbued with the spirit of Alfredo Landa. Again, the magic of the cinema worked wonders with the geographical transformations and the Costa del Sol became… Mallorca.

Thieves at all costs

Before entering, briefly, on the subject, it should be noted that this film saga is still fondly remembered in Denmark. So much so that even exhibitions are devoted to it.

Bathrobes used in Olsen-banden på sporet (film that followed  Olsen-bandens sidste bedrifter) at a special exhibition dedicated to the saga in Copenhagen. Observe the sea in the background. Foto: Wikimedia Commons 

Olsen-bandens sidste bedrifter (something like The latest exploits of the Olsen gang, 1974), as can be seen on the page of the Danish Film Institute, directed by Erik Balling, was the sixth film in the Olsen-banden series (Olsen’s Band), starring Ove Sprogøe, Morten Grunwald, Poul Bundgaard, Kirsten Walther. At the end of the film, after the only successful robbery of the comic criminal group protagonist, they moved to Mallorca to live galore, especially the character of Yvonne, who would take a bad liking to the Hispanic mollate.

The happiness of these gangsters from the north, however, did not last long, as could be seen in the next (and last) film, since their amassed money was stolen (by the work of a rival gang) and some ended up in prison in Denmark, which gave the rest of the band good reason to come home as well.

What comes out of Benalmádena?

It is complex to navigate in images from more than forty years ago, with what has changed our town and always keeping in mind that what is a street where a car circulates is a town and the next one in which the car enters a plaza may have been shot in another.

The most recognizable thing about Benalmádena in this film is, without a doubt, the El Retamar restaurant, then located in the Torremuelle area..  There, Yvonne shows great self-confidence (scoundrel, others would say) when asking “Los sveskers los salatos Los koteletters los vindos blankos og los coca-colas” from a waiter who we don’t know what he should have written down in the order but who, just in case, gives the Danish woman a paella.

If the protagonist of this special figuration was from Benalmádena, perhaps someone can recognize him and give us news about him.

It would be interesting to find out ifCasa El Paraíso, located at number 133 of who knows which street, was in our municipality or in one of the borders. The house appears at minute 1:15 of the following video:

If you remember a shoot, have a photo or information about the recording of a movie in Benalmádena, help us make it known by contacting Jaime Noguera at cybernoguera@yahoo.es

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