Vintage Icons • Movies

“The Last Torch Song”

18 June, 2014

Year: 1957.

Director: Juan de Orduña.


Sara Montiel (María Luján).

Armando Calvo (Juan Contreras).

Enrique Vera (Pepe Molina).

Julia Martínez (Trini).

Matilde Muñoz Sampedro (Paca).


CEC Award to Best Actress (Sara Montiel).

Best Film at the Prize of the National Syndicate of Spectacle.



  • One of the characters in the movie was called Great Duke Vladimir of Russia (acted by Alfredo Mayo) who according to the plot was a drunk aristocrat who stalks María Luján (Sara Montiel). It happened that there was a real Duke Vladimir of Russia who sued the producer because of the bad image to his name and title. It was solved by paying to the Duke an undisclosed amount of money and removing all mentions of “Vladimir of Russia”. The final cut just includes “The Great Duke”.
  • The censorship in Spain in the time rejected the first plot. The “pro-Franco” Spain considered the storyline inmoral for a Catholic. After a few changes, the censorship allowed them to release it.
  • The little girl in the beginning of the movie, Toni Fernández, is in fact Sara Montiel’s niece.
  • Originally, the Director thought of doubling Sara Montiel’voice in all the songs. However the double wanted to be paid before do the job and the Director fired her. Sara Montiel ended up recording all songs in just one evening. And her voice and style is now the main feature in the movie.
  • The Last Torch Song was the first Sara Montiel’s Spanish movie after a long time abroad. Her previous work in Hollywood includes Veracruz, Serenade and Run of the Arrow. Sara shot The Last Torch Song while being in Spain for holidays and went back to the States before the film was released.
  • This was a hard project. The budget was very low and it took two years to gather the minimum.  That means that some of the sceneries were built in cardboard and the main character’s clothes were sometimes made in paper. Sara Montiel didn’t understand that scarcity since she’d just arrived from the opulence in Hollywood but she kept her word and made the film, with a salary of 100.000 pesetas (the old Spanish coin). Her husband always thought the film was a complete fail.
  • After only 38 weeks in theatres, the movie achieved 15 million pesetas, an authentic fortune in that time. It was a total success. It broke some more records like the best collection for a movie in just a weekend, the highest collection in a working day…


The Last Torch Song, a drama the sort of those women from the time loved so much. It’s nowadays one of the best Spanish classics, thanks to a few songs that became really famous: Fumando Espero or El Relicario.

Due to this success, Sara Montiel made many other films under a similar subject. Then she became a singer and started publishing many works that made her millionaire. Let me highlight this name: Juan Solano. He was a great compositor who created all songs and adapted them to Sara Montiel’s special voice.

In a time where microphones were not used to sing, and where you were asked to have a powerful high-pitched voice, Juan Solano was with no doubt the master who pushed Sara Montiel up to the glory.


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