Franco between two stools


Franco between two stools

Franco: Behind the Myth
SBS Television
Friday, August 6, 8.30 p.m. (8 p.m. Adelaide)
Reviewed by Richard Ingram

What myth? I'm guessing here, but if you asked people at random on the street, "What do you think of Francisco Franco?", wouldn't 80% (at least of those under 30) reply, "Francisco who?"

And there's the problem. This one-hour film seems to fall between two stools — or rather, generations.

If you're old enough to remember when Franco was still alive, or if you've studied international politics of the '30s, then Franco won't tell you much you didn't know already. As an indication, the SBS publicity promises the "revelation" that Franco "enlisted the help of Hitler and Mussolini to crush the rebels [sic — the republic is meant]".

On the other hand, if "Franco" is just another name of something or other forgettable in the past, like "Hohenzollern", "Mary Queenascots" and "Rumpelstiltskin", the film will give you an introduction, though it spends too much time for an introduction in debating details such as what Franco did or didn't say in his meeting with Hitler in 1940.

If you don't ask more than that from it, Franco looks like a more productive use of time than anything else likely to be showing on television on a Friday night. It includes some interesting historical footage and some really stunning photography of Morocco.

Politically, it doesn't mince words about placing Franco among the baddies of this century. However, it is silent to the point of dishonesty about the contribution of the western "democracies" to Franco's victory in the civil war.