La Gran Diva: Remembering Sara Montiel

The Spanish actress Sara Montiel during the filming of the movie "La mujer perdida", 1966, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. (Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images). i i

The Spanish actress Sara Montiel during the filming of the movie "La mujer perdida", 1966, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. (Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images). Gianni Ferrari/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Gianni Ferrari/Getty Images
The Spanish actress Sara Montiel during the filming of the movie "La mujer perdida", 1966, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. (Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images).

The Spanish actress Sara Montiel during the filming of the movie "La mujer perdida", 1966, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. (Photo by Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images).

Gianni Ferrari/Getty Images

Sara Montiel, the great Spanish actress and singer, has died at age 85.

The Miami Herald published a feature about her in 1996 that neatly encapsulates her appeal:

"Her eyes are still the kind of dark chocolate that cannot be refused.

They have melted for a legion of leading men. They have silently begged countless big-screen kisses, shot mortal daggers at endless vampy rivals, drenched a few poor wretches in ice water.

They have lost none of their luster.

Sara Montiel, the movie queen and songstress from La Mancha who rose to legendary fame in the '50s, the so-called Elizabeth Taylor of the Spanish-speaking world, still has a way of saying a thousand words with one glance.

She is draped on a white leather couch, at the Miami Beach home of a friend, recounting her exploits. The romantic kind.

"You don't have enough paper to print them all," says Montiel, 63, letting a flash of her penciled eyes provide the exclamation she does not allow with her cool morning-after throatiness."

I can think of no better way to honor her memory than to watch Gael García Bernal lip-synch La Gran Diva's cover of "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás" in Pedro Almodóvar's "Bad Education." (Note: We're starting the video at 0:19 to avoid any unpleasant NSFW situations.)

YouTube

And here she is performing the song in "Noches de Casablanca." It is gloriously campy. Enjoy.

YouTube

Luis Clemens is the editor of Code Switch. Follow him on Twitter at @LuisClemens and the whole Code Switch team at @NPRCodeSwitch.

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