The Plaza de la Remonta, in the Madrid district of Tetuán, is today the closest thing to a main square that the neighborhood has and, surely, the best known in the district. Its battered pavement – it has a slope that is more than necessary lifting– it is situated on the grounds where an old cavalry barracks once stood, as long-time neighbors testify in any conversation on the ground. The smell of the stable, deeply impregnated in his memory, came from afar: the barracks were built in the 1920s on the old Quinta de los Castillejos and there the army raised stallions for the provincial barracks.
The Remonta cavalry barracks participated in the Sanjurjo uprising against the Republic in August 1932 and, therefore, was the scene of various commemorations of the event during the Franco regime. Then the Armed Police were based there. It closed permanently in 1982, being used in recent decades as a riding school and military riding school or headquarters of the Cavalry Squadrons of the National Police, in addition to housing other uses in some parts of the complex, such as EMT garages. .
In the eighties, the City Council acquired the land and the current area of La Remonta, the largest arcaded square in Madrid, was built. It was inaugurated by Barranco in 87, although the first stone had been laid by Tierno Galván three years earlier. This mayor also read there the proclamation of the parties in which Ramoncín performed, before the works were finished.
The old cavalry barracks was one of the crime scenes known as from Tetouan of Victories (where its protagonists lived) or from The Canal (the place in Burgos where it was perpetrated). The event, a murder that occurred in 1948 in which a man and the two women with whom he had relations were involved, had repercussions in a Spain in which he was about to be born. The case; later, he revived in Spain, also morbid, in which the series had triumphed The Crime Footprint.
Pedro Costa, the producer of this series, proposed to Vicente Aranda to do The Crime of Fuencarral Street, but the story did not interest the Catalan director at all. However, he had great success with the chapter The crime of Captain Sánchez, which made the producer commission him The crime of the lovers of Tetouan for a second season that, in principle, was going to have more budget but was unexpectedly canceled.
When the series is resumed in 1990, its managers convince RTVE that the script has enough flight to become a feature film. The rest of the story is known: the film enchanted critics and viewers, was an accolade for its youngest actors (Jorge Sanz and Maribel Verdú) and gave the Silver Bear to the best actress to Victoria Abril.
Aranda knew how to draw on the event the atmosphere of the Spanish postwar period at the same time that the film distilled conflicts that were beating in the country after the Transition. Although the two female characters reflect two clear patriarchal stereotypes, passed through the Spain of the Women’s Section – the home angel and the femme fatal– the character played by Maribel Verdú is willing to break the roles of the traditional family, secretly losing her virginity or financially supporting her boyfriend (Jorge Sanz). He, for his part, flees from a destiny linked to the army, one of the central institutions of the Regime. The film also shows the impossibility for the popular classes to live as a good bourgeois and Catholic family is supposed to. It shows a more real Spain.
The crime of Tetuán de las Victorias or La Canal
The 24-year-old José García San Juan (incarnated in Aranda’s film in the character of Jorge Sanz) was doing his military service at the Remonta barracks, where he was an assistant to Commander Álvaro González Fernández-Núñez, who lived in Las vicinity of the barracks itself. At his home he had met and got engaged with Dominga del Pino Rodríguez, six years older than him, who worked in the military’s kitchen. She was, of course, the inspiration for Maribel Verdú’s character in Lovers. After finishing his military service, young José begins to live in a guest house in the area, where he coincides with Francisca Sánchez Morales La Molinera (at the time, the incarnation of Victoria Abril in the cinema).
Although in the film version – and in the treatment of the case in the press or during the trial – the male character is an almost unwilling boy under the influence of the experienced woman, the account of the events that can be read in the The ruling, published by Diario de Burgos, makes it clear that José had a simultaneous relationship with both women, participated from the beginning in cheating on his girlfriend and coldly killed her. On LoversTrini, the victim, goes so far as to incite him to take a life from which he no longer finds meaning.
According to the sentence, both women had a previous encounter in Valdeacederas street (current Captain Blanco Argibay) and there was “some other altercation”, referring to one in a baptism in which José and Francisca were godparents.
At one point, José told Francisca that Dominga had several thousand pesetas saved, and both of them then began to plot how to steal them. La Molinera contributed her experience as a scammer and José his influence on the girl. Would use the spar scam, which consisted of transferring a property without the knowledge of the true owners
The deception required Dominga to believe that her lover was determined to marry her. To convince her that this was the case and that she had sought a way to earn a living, they forged the transfer document for a bar in Aranda de Duero, for which the young man had supposedly already paid 5,000 pesetas. The couple would travel there and, with the young cook’s savings, complete the transfer of the bar. Immersed in the new life plan, they went together to Santa Olalla (the town of Dominga) to formally introduce themselves to their family. They then returned to Madrid and, while they were staying at the house of Dominga’s sister, they took the 19,000 pesetas that the young woman had from the Postal Box.
Then it was time to execute the last step of the scam and the couple started their way north, reaching Burgos. They left the suitcases in a storage room at the station and stayed at the La Riojana pension. As they had agreed, José then made a money order of 200 pesetas to Francisca so that she could meet with him. In their reunion, they both were drinking from a bottle of Anís del Mono, talking about their plan and looking for courage in drunkenness.
José then returned to the boarding house, picked up Dominga, ate with her in a restaurant and took her to a lonely place known as La Canal, behind the Artillery Barracks. After spending a couple of hours there, sheltered from the rain under his own raincoat, José cut his fiancée’s neck with a barber knife. He tossed the half-empty bottle of anise that he carried in his pocket over a wall and headed for the station, where he was reunited with Francisca. Both collected Dominga’s trunks and marched to Valladolid after burning the photographs and bank account of the murdered woman. The next morning, Dominga’s lifeless body was found by a local gardener, wrapped in a raincoat. The investigations soon found the whereabouts of the fugitive couple in Valladolid.
The trial raised great expectations and ended with a double death sentence at the Burgos Provincial Court, as responsible for a crime of robbery with homicide, with the aggravating elements of treachery and premeditation in his case. The sentence included that, in case of pardon, the inmates would have to serve 30 years of longer imprisonment and compensate Dominga’s heirs with 75,000 pesetas. Despite the fact that their public defender did not appear in the appeal trial before the Supreme Court, claiming to suffer from angina, the homicidal couple benefited from the pardon and knew the prisons of the time, but not the dreaded vile stick.
As is often the case with these film crimes, we would not recognize anything about the actors who made them known to us in the period photographs – they always seem more vulgar – but in the history of the Tetouan Crime of Victories the Spain of Lovers… and vice versa.