Dir: Isaki Lacuesta. Spain. 2010. 80mins


The vivacious beauty and vibrant personality of screen goddess Ava Gardner – and in particular the many films she made in Spain – are examined in fascinating detail in Isaki Lacuesta’s TCM documentary which contains enough clips, interviews and background footage to make any Gardner fan (and probably classic cinema enthusiast) happy.

It is an engaging and occasionally insightful look at one of Hollywood’s most complex stars.

This Spanish-tinged delve into her life is bookended by close-ups from two of her films – a shot of her at her most beautiful in Albert Lewin’s recently digitally restored Pandora And The Flying Dutchman, her first film in Spain, and a shot from Harem, her last made in the country.

He attempts to frame a kind of dialogue between the Gardner who arrived in Spain for the first time with the older woman towards the end of her filmmaking days.

Lacuesta features interviews with her body double in Pandora, a local photographer and Jack Cardiff, the cinematographer who shot the film, but also expands his brief to deal with flamenco and bullfighting (she shot scenes in Spain at dances and at arenas); her relationships with Mickey Rooney and Frank Sinatra, as well as other films Gardner shot in Spain, such as the epic Chinese-set film 55 Days in Peking, in which she co-starred with Charlton Heston, which was filmed on a massive set built in the country.

In truth All The Night Long will really only have a life on TCM, linked to Ava Gardner seasons, or at a cinematheque of film festival, but it is an engaging and occasionally insightful look at one of Hollywood’s most complex stars.

Production company/sales: Turner Broadcasting System Espana

Producers: Rafael Portela, Domingo Corral, Ines Garcia, Jose Skaf

Screenplay: Isaki Lacuesta, Isa Campo, inspired by Marcos Ordonez’s book Beberse La Vida: Ava Gardner En Spain

Cinematography: Diego Dussuel

Editor: Diana Toucedo

Narration: Charo López, Ariadna Gil