Calle Mayor is adapted from a classic novel of Spanish provincial life by Carlos Arniches, which had previously been filmed in the '30s. Bardem's version of this bitter tale of a woman's oppression was made at the height of Francoism, and had to carry an unconvincing foreword claiming that the story could happen 'anywhere'. When a group of idle young men decide as a joke that one of them should seduce an unmarried woman in her mid-30s, she becomes smitten by him, and the situation turns sourly serious. Bardem's neo-realist pretensions look a trifle thin now, but the film's portrait of a town riddled with prejudice and hypocrisy still packs a weighty punch. The central performance by the un-Spanish seeming Betsy Blair is especially touching.