Count Dracula (1970)

Dracula Versus Frankenstein (1970)

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

Julius Caesar (1970)

Patton (1970)

Cromwell (1970)

The Last Grenade (1970)

The Great White Hope (1970)

Four Rode Out (1970)

A Man Called Sledge (1970)

Figures in a Landscape (1970)

The Condor (1970)

Cannon for Cordoba (1970)

The Buttercup Chain (1970)

Road To Salina (1970)

The Phynx (1970)

Umbracle (1970)

The Kashmiri Run (1970)

Man in the Wilderness (1971)

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

The Light at the Edge of the World (1971)

Blindman (1971)

F for Fake (1971)

The Horsemen (1971)

The Trojan Women (1971)

Hannie Caulder (1971)

Red Sun (1971)

Catlow (1971)

Duck You Sucker/ A Fistful of Dynamite (1971)

Valdez is Coming (1971)

The Deserter (1971)

The Hunting Party (1971)

Doc (1971)

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

A Town called Hell (1971)

Kill (1971)

The Last Run (1971)

Hunt the Man Down/ Bad Man’s River (1971)

Deathwork/ The Guns of April Morning (1971)

Black Beauty (1971)

Rain for a dusty summer (1971)

A Gunfight (1971)

The Call of the Wild (1972)

Anthony and Cleopatra (1972)

Treasure Island (1972)

Travels with my aunt (1972)

Pancho Villa (1972)

Horror Express (1972)

Chato’s Land (1972)

The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972)

Doctor Phibes Rises Again (1972)

What the Peeper Saw/ Night Child (1972)

Innocent Bystanders (1972)

Summertime Killer (1972)

A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (1972)

A Touch of Class (1973)

Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973)

Papillon (1973)

The Three Musketeers (1973)

The Deadly Trackers (1973)

The Man Called Noon (1973)

Chino (1973)

Charley One Eye (1973)

The Final Programme (1973)

Shaft in Africa (1973)

The Adventures of Don Quijote (1973)

The Night of the Sorcerers (1973)

The Corruption of Chris Miller (1973)

My Name is Nobody (1973)

Charge (1973)

The Legend of Blood Castle (1973)

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Murder in a Blue World (1973)

The Four Musketeers (1974)

What Changed Charley Farthing? (1974)

Stardust (1974)

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

The Spikes gang (1974)

And then there were None (1974)

Blood Money/ The Stranger and the Gunfighter (1974)

Touch Me Not (1974)

Watch Out, We’re Mad (1974)

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

The House of the Damned (1974)

B Must Die (1974)

Open Season (1974)

Get Mean (1975)

The Land that Time Forgot (1975)

Three for All (1975)

The Passenger (1975)

The Wind and the Lion (1975)

Once is not Enough (1975)

Take a Hard Ride (1975)

Breakout (1975)

The Adolescents (1975)

Zorro (1975)

Cry Onion! (1975)

Robin and Marian (1976)

Voyage of the Damned (1976)

Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1976)

Spanish Fly (1976)

The Story of David (1976)

Island of the Damned (1976)

Blue Jeans and Dynamite (1976)

The Four Feathers (1977)

Valentino (1977)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977)

March or Die (1977)

The People that Time Forgot (1977)

Widows’ Nest (1977)

The Black Pearl (1977)

Battleflag (1977)

Impossible Love (1977)

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Clayton Drumm (1978)

The Thief of Baghdad (1978)

The Nativity (1978)

The Greatest Battle (1978)

Cuba (1979)

Bloodbath (1979)

Jaguar Lives! (1979)

The House on Garibaldi Street (1979)

Tehran Incident (1979)

La Sabina (1979)


Count Dracula (1970)

Christopher Lee, tired of playing Dracula, didn’t quite manage to say “never again” and took part in this German production with Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski.

Spanish director Jesus Franco took the crew to Alicante, where they used Santa Bárbara Castle for the scene in which Count Dracula suffers a fatal case of sun burn, and to Barcelona for the studio work at Estudios Cinematográficos Balcázar, Esplugues de Llobregat.

The scene at Santa Bárbara occurs at the end of the film when our heroes throw some very light looking boulders down upon a group of gypsies transporting Dracula’s coffin and then set fire to him, which to be honest, he rather seems to enjoy.

Santa Bárbara Castle

My favourite scene from this film, apart from the bat on a stick that we imagine is Dracula, is the one where a room full of stuffed animals threaten to attack our heroes by moving three inches to left and right. Unfortunately they don’t make films like this anymore.

Dracula Versus Frankenstein (1970)

Apart from a brief spell in spooky Bavaria, this two for the price of one bargain was chiefly made in different Spanish locations such as Barcelona, the Casa de Campo park in Madrid and the Ermita de San Frutos, Sepúlveda, Segovia, built in 1100 AD and perched on an outcrop of rock above the River Duratón. It is here that the Werewolf and his blonde saviour-killer take a breather after escaping the clutches of the aliens, before going back to face their destiny. None of the aforementioned is invented!

San Frutos

According to neighbours of Sepúlveda, the castle of Castilnovo, ten kilometres south of the town was also used. It portrayed the Monastery bought by alien Michael Rennie to carry out his dastardly experiments; experiments that lead one to wonder why it is that an alien civilisation capable of travelling 40,000 light years to conquer earth is unable to manufacture a decent TV screen!

Castilnovo: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante and San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Madrid, similarly contributed some authentic Transilvanianism, and the sand dunes at Cabo de Gata in Almería featured when Rennie flew off to Egypt to recruit the Mummy, who is about as frightening as mine.

Also in the city of Alicante we can see the Panteón de Quijano in the park of the same name.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

A 27-word ‘caveman language’ was created for this film, purportedly inspired by Phoenician, Latin, and Sanskrit sources.

The filming took place on the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria.

Among the Gran Canaria locations were Maspalomas beach with its frequently used Saharan-like sand dunes, Ansite Mountain, Amurga and Caldera de Tejeda, an area of volcanic landscape.

There’s plenty of eroticism, suggesting that there is something horny about dinosaurs and giant reptiles gobbling up scantily-clad, large-breasted wenches.

Val Guest directed. Be mine!

Julius Caesar (1970)

Although largely a studio made film, the battle scenes were shot at El Jaralón de La Pedriza, Madrid in May 1969 and at Manzanares El Real, specifically at Canto del Berrueco.

Among the boulders, Caesar’s murderers throw themselves upon their swords with all the stiff upper lippery that noble Romans were wont to demonstrate in Shakespeare’s time; once their large armies seemed to have been defeated of course.

The thirty kilometre long Santillana reservoir can clearly be seen in the background in several shots, no doubt representing the Aegean Sea (which I’m told is a little bit longer) at Philippili, where the final battle was fought between those loyal to Julius Caesar and those who partook of the unkindest cut of all.

Santillana Reservoir

John Geilgud plays Caesar, while Charlton Heston is Mark Anthony; not for the last time.

Patton (1970)

Patton is a very special film, one that is admired by hawks and doves alike. According to Oliver Stone, it is the only film to have caused a war. Stone cites the effect that the film had on US President Nixon, who would apparently watch it over and over again, and whose decision to bomb neutral Cambodia during the Vietnam War was probably influenced as much by the film as by geo-political strategy.

There is a reason why the extras seem so happy as they march into war: this is not a film where actors pretend to be soldiers, but a film where soldiers pretend to be actors. In fact the Spanish army, with its out of date World War II equipment, was made available for the film, which was largely shot in Spain.

Even the opening speech in front of an enormous American flag was filmed at the Sevilla Studios in Madrid.

During the epoch when Patton was being made at the end of the Sixties, the Spanish army was very keen to collaborate and bring some sorely needed dollars into the economy; so much so that they even had an office whose job was to liaise with film makers. There is a Spanish army officer, Luis Martin Pozuelo, cited in the credits as military advisor.

Inevitably Almería was used; the Battle of El Guettar takes place there instead of in North Africa, specifically in the Rambla del Buho, whereas the Rambla de Benavides was the scene of the disastrous Battle of the Kasserine Pass. This battle opens the film (immediately after Patton’s speech in front of the stars and stripes) and the ruins are those of Tabernas castle.

Apparently, when the film was being made, one of the doors to the castle was destroyed and at the bottom of the castle an old Arab graveyard was found.

Swings and roundabouts!

The castle at Tabernas had a second role, as the German bastion in Sicily, from where artillery plastered General Bradley’s troops as they were sacrificed for Patton’s glory. Bradley’s jeep is destroyed during this scene, as fire rains down from the castle.

Tabernas Castle. Photo Courtesy James Yareham

Ironically, the filming in Almería was the most complicated due to unexpected rainy weather, and the Battle of El Guettar, with over 50 tanks, took 13 weeks.  

The aerodrome, where Rommel takes a worried look at US prisoners is also at Tabernas.

The allied entry into Messina (Sicily) depicted Almería’s Plaza del Catedral, whereas Palermo was filmed around Almería’s Alcazaba, as was Malta.

Almería’s Plaza del Catedral

Almería’s Plaza Quemadero was also employed for some street scenes and the local government Education and Science building became the military HQ, supposedly located in Algiers.

The location where Patton halts on his way to Messina is located just below the village of Turillas, and another stop takes place at Felix, in the mountains of the Gádor range, when Scott drives into a village square to talk to Karl Malden.

In the background we can make out the village castle. Work on the castle was started in 955, and it was owned by Zugayba, great grandfather of King Adb Allah of Granada.

It also witnessed some significant moments during the revolt of the Moriscos of the Kingdom of Granada in 1569.


At the estate known as Caserio del Campillo de Doña Francesca, Patton presides over the funeral of his aide de camp, whereas the American cemetery is to be found at the Dunas de las Amoladeras.

The aide de camp was killed during a German air raid, which was filmed at San Miguel de Cabo de Gata.

This top war film employed over 600 local residents for some of its tumultuous scenes such as the American General’s entry into Palermo. The setting used was the Nicolás Salmerón Park, Almería.

Also in the capital, the scene where Patton greets the ‘Italian’ Bishop and kisses his ring was filmed on the steps called Escalera de la Reina, near the port.

Two of Patton’s headquarters, as far apart as Sicily and Tunisia are both in fact located at Las Salinas, in Cabo de Gata, with its emblematic church, Iglesia de La Almadraba de Monteleva or Iglesia de Las Salinas.

Most of the other scenes, whether the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium (which was filmed in the mountains around Segovia, 80 miles north west of Madrid) or the advance across France after Normandy, (which was filmed on the Urbasa mountain range near Pamplona, Navarra) used Spanish scenery to add a touch of ‘realism’.

Spain contributed to the interior shots too. After the Battle of El Guettar where the smiling ‘Spanish’ Afrika Corps are obliterated in an ambush laid by Patton’s ‘Spanish’ Americans, Patton meets his new aide de camp at his headquarters, which is in reality the Governor’s Palace of Almería, (Casa Fischer, today the Women’s Institute), and when Patton marches down a long corridor after a ticking off from Eisenhower, he is in fact in the Tapestry Room of La Granja Palace, a Spanish royal residence in the mountains near Segovia. The tapestries, by the way, were genuine; they were much too expensive to be taken down for the filming. In fact this corridor was also used in Richard Lester’s version of ‘The Three Musketeers,’ another film that used a lot of Spanish locations to recreate ‘France.’

Patton’s apology to the assembled troops from a terrace for slapping a coward took place on a terrace at the same location, and the scene where he prays was filmed there also, in the chapel.

La Granja

Slapping soldiers and telling your men to kill as many Germans as possible would probably go down well with many spectators, but what most of us find hardest to swallow is the scene in which Patton shoots a brace of donkeys that are holding up his troops, and then has them thrown off a bridge. This was filmed at the village of Uleila del Campo in the Filabres mountain range back in Almería, and no, unlike Patton himself, they didn’t really kill the donkeys; so stop fretting.

Near the end of the film we see Patton having his portrait painted in Germany, although he is in fact inside Riofrio Royal Palace near Segovia, another location used for ‘The Three Musketeers.’ We see him outside the same palace talking to Karl Malden, just after he has been relieved of his command. The palace is a large pink affair with a massive empty courtyard in front, swarming with swallows in summertime.

 ‘Patton’ won a fistful of Oscars and the music by Jerry Goldsmith was later used by the American army to boost the morale of their own troops during Desert Storm, although it would be undiplomatic to ask if they also used Spanish troops!

Cromwell (1970)

There is a wonderful anecdote that describes the scene in which English Civil War soldiers file past World War II soldiers on the sprawling green mountain range of Urbasa in Navarra, where ‘Patton’ and ‘Cromwell’ were being made at the same time.

The unspoilt scenery of this green meseta was ideal to depict the rolling meadows of 17th century England, and all the battles of Cromwell took place here with the inestimable (but paid) help of the Spanish army, which had shown its drilling excellence in the battle scenes of ‘Spartacus’, and once more manoeuvred on the battlefield like true professionals.


Two thousand extras from all over Spain made up the cavalry during six weeks filming, with the centre of operations being the village of Alsasua.

Today Urbasa is a popular area for trekking with extensive views to the dry south and the green north of the Basque Country, and the local tourist board has put up signs saying that the film was made there.

The Last Grenade (1970)

Filmed in Málaga province, which was supposed to be on the border between Hong Kong and China, the film features Stanley Baker, Richard Attenborough and some very nifty scenery, and a story about super powers fighting their wars through mercenaries; just like in the good old days.

Kip Thompson, ex-colleague, now a psychopath, has his HQ at a lake (Las Tortugas) and Baker goes there twice trying to eliminate him.

The Great White Hope (1970)

Martin Ritt directed James Earl Jones in this biographical film about the boxer Jack Jefferson, and his problems occasioned by having a white girlfriend; almost a parallel story to the saga of John and Yoko, which was happening at about the same time.

His fights in Reno, Paris and Havana were all reconstructed in Barcelona during filming in 1968.

When Jefferson is supposed to be in Paris, whiling away his time arm-wrestling with German soldiers (who obviously got to Paris a bit early) he is in fact in the Parque de la Ciudadela in Barcelona, the city’s first park, with fountains, steps, statues and bandstand, having been modelled on the Luxembourg gardens of Paris.

The park was built on the site of a fort built under the orders of King Felipe V who, after besieging and occupying Barcelona at the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1714, needed to control his rebellious subjects.

The final fight, supposedly in Havana, in which Jefferson is unsure whether or not to take a dive in order to regain his freedom, was filmed in the Montjuïc Stadium, built in 1922 and then remodelled for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and finally converted into the home venue of Spanish first division team RD Espanyol.

The Francia railway station was emptied of passengers for a scene in which it portrays Budapest station in the film.

Four Rode Out (1970)

Once more into the Almería western dear friends with Tabernas locations such as Cautivo, Alfaro Canyon

Rambla Alfaro

and Indalecio and the endless (if you get the right camera angle) sand dunes of Cabo de Gata, with the village of San Miguel de Cabo Gata, which also appeared in ‘Patton’.

Pernell Roberts plays the US Marshall tracking down his girlfriend’s father’s killer. Outstanding mainly for the appearance of Leslie Nielsen de-spoofed or spoofless as a Pinkerton agent.

A Man Called Sledge (1970)

The film starts with a stagecoach rather than a sledge, and a robbery that shows our heroes to be villains. The scene is shot in the snow around Sierra Nevada, Granada.

A later shot, in which Sledge rides away from a town called 3Ws (whisky, women and water; the latter for the horses mind you) clearly shows the majestic snowfields of Sierra Nevada too.

James Garner is Sledge (not the most romantic name but I suppose it’s kind of rugged). It’s another western made in southern Spain with Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins (a dependable secondary actor with a face like a pile of rubble) and a host of Italians (the ones who hardly speak, or whose lip movements challenge the dialogue).

Director Vic Morrow is in reality Giorgio Gentili, and the film has all the idiosyncrasies and overt symbolism of Leone and Fellini’s successors: banjo playing deputies, gunslingers strapped onto their horses, a whore choir with an organist who crashes through the floorboards and a heroine who doesn’t care what her man does as long as he’s her man and only does it to her.

It was shot mostly in Almería, although another part of Granada, near the village of Víznar, was used for the scenes when Sledge’s gang are holed up (I think that’s English) at the cabin, drinking whisky, dancing and deciding whether or not to steal the gold.

In Almería the fatal card game played out in the sands (of time?) was shot (along with the cheat) at Cabo de Gata, scene of many classic movies.

The weird manoeuvres of the Gold Riders and their Buffalo Bill-like, horn-blowing leader, took place in the dry, grey, rocky valley of Rambla Buhó (Big Rock Canyon in the film), and the climax, with strange processions, whose participants completely ignore the carnage as the gang members resolve their differences, and Sledge makes himself a sling out of a crucifix (Italians, you see!), were filmed among the white-washed houses in the village of Polopos, using Calles Real and Almazara and Plazas de la Fuente and San Juan.

The township scenes were shot at Mini Hollywood, Tabernas.

Figures in a Landscape (1970)

The figures in question are Robert Shaw and Malcolm MacDowell, escaping from a prison and eluding a pursuing helicopter, although we never know who they are, or where, or why they are wherever they are.

The austere beauty of the landscape is the real star of the story, with wild horses, olive groves, cane fields, gulleys, ravines, mountain streams, forests and flocks of birds, all of which breathtaking scenery is the Sierra Nevada mountains of Granada, where there is always some snow all year, despite the summer heat of Andalusia.

In Granada some street shooting took place in the district of Fargue, while the stars stayed at the Hotel Luz.

Director Joseph Losey once said that some of the filming was done in Córdoba province, and the opening scene on a beach may have been shot in Almería.

Almerian film expert and writer José Enriquez Martínez Moya informed us that Laujar and Fuente Victoria in the Almerian Alpujarra mountains were two locations from the film.

The great escape and the death of Shaw take place at the end of the film at the ski station of Prado Llano in the Sierra Nevada.

The Condor (1970)

Shot largely at what is now a tourist attraction, Texas Hollywood-Fort Bravo, Almería, the Condor fort was so meticulously built that it was also used for other films such as ‘March or Die’.

Fort Bravo

The story, in which villains and Apaches storm a fort full of gold is set in Mexico and stars regulars Lee Van Cleef and Jim Brown.

Cannon for Cordoba (1970)

Set in Mexico, looking like Almería, but according to Almerian experts Antonio J Sánchez and José Enrique Martínez, it was actually filmed in Navalcarnero, Madrid.

In the film you can see the facade of what is now the elegant Hotel Aurora, which specialises in elderly guests, and is indeed situated in Navalcarnero, south west of the capital.

Also in Madrid province, the ruins of the monastery of Santa María La Real de Valdeiglesia at Pelayos de la Presa were used.

A famous sculptor, Rafael de León, murdered his wife Elvira’s servant in a jealous rage and it is said that Elvira’s ghost haunts the monastery today, although no sighting of the servant’s phantom has yet been spotted.

In the film Mexican revolutionaries dare to invade the US, and so General Pershing sends in the marines (or rather a desperate crew led by George Peppard) to bring back his cannons.

The revolutionaries’ town is in fact Villamanta, just west of Navalcarnero. The Hotel Madera in the film is the Town Hall today.

The Buttercup Chain (1970)

A story of love and family and trying to work out what the difference is as the sexual liberation of the sixties stumbles into the seventies with English countryside, Swedish lakes and sunny southern beaches of Spain, specifically the Costa del Sol and Sierra Blanca in Málaga province, providing the backdrop to a character confusingly called ‘France’ and his cousin Margaret (Jane Asher).

During their two week stay in a villa in the mountains the relationships become ever more confusing as they ride along a beach and visit the local, white-washed village for supplies and arguments.

Max Kite identified some of the locations: for the horse riding scene they are at Fuengirola, where the river meets the sea.  The Castillo Sohail can be seen in the background. 

The white-washed village seems to actually be a combination of Mijas and Ojén. José María Burgos identified Mijas’s calle del Pilar, down which the group descends to the station. He also identified the train station, which was that of Fuengirola, which is currently the town’s tourist information office, while the church and market belonged to Ojén.

Whatever happened to Hywel Bennett?

Road To Salina (1970)

Who wouldn’t want to stumble across a bar run by Rita Hayworth?

One of her last works before Alzheimer’s disease took its toll; this French production filmed mostly in English and with some Spanish, was shot in Lanzarote.

The roadside bar, presumably in Mexico and run by Rita, is now a wine producing centre called Bodega Stratus located on the road from La Geria-Uga to Yaiza.

The holes surrounding the bar, which appear to be craters in the film, are actually for growing grape vines.

The dunes, lava fields and spectacular beaches are a great attraction in what is otherwise a bit of a depressing film, full of the existential angst appropriate to the epoch.

A Jethro Tull song is included on the soundtrack, which largely undermines the bleak but beautiful scenery.

The word ‘salina’ actually means salt lake, and in the film we glimpse the now abandoned salt works of Janubio at the south west corner of the island, with the salt workers earning their salaries.

The backdrop to the film is spectacular Timanfaya National Park in the south western part of the island with its moonscape scenery, geysers and active volcano.

The Phynx (1970)

A regular candidate for the worst film ever made awards, even Warner Brothers were embarrassed by this story in which a surrogate Monkees group are sent to Albania to secure the release of some American icons such as Busby Berkeley, Dick Clark, Andy Devine, Joe Louis, Pat O’Brien, Maureen O’Sullivan, Ed Sullivan, James Brown, Dorothy Lamour, Trini Lopez, Richard Pryor, Colonel Sanders, Rudy Vallee, Clint Walker and Johnny Weissmuller.

Its only saving grace was the use of Ávila, whose walls, as in ‘The Pride and the Passion’, are brought down, this time to the sound of electric guitars.

Umbracle (1970)

Umbracle is the name of a botanic hothouse in Barcelona, and in this surrealistic film, a young Christopher Lee wanders Barcelona’s streets, popping into shops and museums, interspersed with Spanish directors cursing Franco and Lee singing opera.



The Kashmiri Run (1970)

The mountains and plains just north of Madrid, and in particular the Dehesa de Navalvillar near Colmenar Viejo, provided the Tibetan scenery for this film with Bonanza star Pernell Roberts.

Other locations in the area were the Sierras of Guadarrama and Gredos.

Man in the Wilderness (1971)

Although supposedly suffering his trials and tribulations in north west Canada, a man not called Horse this time is actually most of the time strung out, but not strung up by his pectorals, in Soria.

Richard Harris portrays Zachary Bass in a truish story in which the hunter becomes the hunted and ends up earning a close run draw with a grizzly bear. The plot of ‘The Revenant’ is suspiciously similar.

Leaving Harris for dead without a bottle of whisky is a risky enterprise as his erstwhile friends find out. Despite his bottlessness, Harris spends half the film on his hands and knees crawling through the mud while the rest of us enjoy the winter scenery of Soria.

There isn’t much water in Soria, certainly not enough to pass as a believable Missouri River, and so the scenes where, after the men haul a boat across the mountains, they reach an expanse of frozen water, were actually filmed in Soria province at the enormous Cuerda del Pozo reservoir, which also features in ‘Doctor Zhivago’.

John Huston plays Captain Henry, the man with the curious hat.

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

After winning his seven Oscars for ‘Patton’, also filmed in Spain, director Franklin J Schaffner returned to the Iberian Peninsular for another epic film.

They were able to capture some of the decadent opulence of Czarist Russia on the Costa Brava, Girona.

 On their holiday in the Crimea, the royals occupy the Senya Blanca mansion, (built overlooking the beach in 1924) and belonging to a Catalan businessman Josep Encesa, wherein the splendid ‘Russian’ summers on the Black Sea coast were pleasantly spent while the peasantry went without. The mansion is part of the Gavina Hotel complex, but is not open to the public. However, by walking along the coast path, the ‘pagoda’ as they call it, is largely visible.

It is here that the Czar’s son sings about not being able to run and play in the garden with the arcade, while the following beach scene was filmed at nearby Sa Conca.

The Czar’s summer residence, when pine forests were required, was filmed in the Valsian forest, Segovia. Here the daughters have a paint fight with their French tutor.

At the nearby mountain pass of Cotos, the scenery lent itself to images of Siberia during the Czar’s capture, whereas the city of Soria, not to be outdone, provided its brass band where required, in the uniforms of the Imperial Guard, as well as a few shots of the Moncayo mountain, which could be passed off as the Ural Mountains here, just as in ‘Doctor Zhivago.’

Most of the interiors were filmed in the Sevilla Studios in Madrid, although the presentation of the troops took place at the Palacio de Oriente in Madrid.

Palacio de Oriente. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The Winter Palace at Saint Petersburg was represented by the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, while the revolutionary assemblies were shot in the Hospital San Carlos.

Palacio Real Aranjuez

The opera scenes took place in Madrid’s Teatro Español, while the scenes with Tom Baker as Rasputin rollocking with some not so oppressed peasant girls were filmed at Uceda in Guadalajara.

Once again the old Delicias railway station, now a museum, was employed, this time as Moscow, where the troops are seen off to the front and Lenin arrives after the success of the revolution.

With the film being made during the Cold War, the Czars are shown in a fairly favourable light, with Nicholas celebrating his son’s birth by declaring his conviction that he would crush the Japanese to win Korea for his boy; just like any decent daddy would really.

Some of the props from the film were later incorporated into set designer Eddie Fowlie’s El Dorado Hotel in Carboneras, Almería.

The Light at the Edge of the World (1971)

The Light at the Edge of the World is a lighthouse according to author Jules Verne, and a group of unscrupulous pirates (is there any other kind?) wish to extinguish it in order to ransack the wrecked ships.

The lighthouse referred to was built at the southernmost tip of the American continent by the Argentinian government in 1884 and was curiously called San Juan de Salvamento.

The lighthouse in the film was built at Cabo de Creus, the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsular, near Cadaqués, Girona, a beautiful Costa Brava village.

The lighthouse has since been demolished, but a plaque marks the spot. There are also two restaurants for those who make the long journey and like views with their meal.

In the Casino L’Amistat, in the old part of Cadaqués, many of the interior scenes were shot.

Kirk Douglas and Yul Brynner were the stars, as well as inextinguishable Spanish actor Fernando Rey as the Captain of the lighthouse, who is bumped off early on.

Douglas, unlike Brynner, seems to have socialised quite a bit during his stay, including having a supper with Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat at Chez Tomàs in Llafranc.

Other locations used were Jávea in Alicante province, La Manga del Mar Menor, Murcia, and La Pedriza and Manzanares el Real, Madrid.

Blindman (1971)

A blind, but deadly, gunman is hired to escort fifty mail order brides to their miner husbands. His business partners double cross him and he sets off to look for them with the help of a very intelligent horse.

Ringo Starr returned to Almería to make this spaghetti western 5 years after hanging out with John Lennon there during the making of ‘How I Won the War.’

Ringo is the slightly less demonic of two evil brothers and spends most of the film pining for Pilar. The search for Pilar takes place in Rambla de Lanujar, and her hiding place is in the old mines of Rodalquilar, whereas her house is to be found at Ruescas on Cabo de Gata.

When blindman Tony Anthony is in search of his foes in one scene the camera is located inside a shepherd’s cabin as he approaches, and behind him we can clearly see the beach of Mónsul with its emblematic rock, ‘La Peineta,’ buried on the shoreline as Anthony asks for directions to Mexico, pointing out to the shepherd that he should explain them to the horse. Classic stuff!

The hostage exchange takes place at La Calahorra railway station in Granada province, and the road to Mexico was filmed near the Mónsul beach, while the sand dunes of Amoladeras are the setting for the recapture of the women that Anthony has helped to escape.

The plateau in the film is in reality at Aguadulce in the Sierra de Gador.

The film’s final showdown occurs in Rambla de Tabernas. The ghost town is located in Camino de la Rellana. Two existing sets were used: Texas Hollywood, where Blindman blows up the hotel, and El Condor Fort, which is Domingo’s headquarters.

Also used was the Cueva de la Molineta, before its destruction.

F for Fake (1971),

This was not exactly a film but more of a dishonest documentary, written and directed by Orson Welles, and filmed on Ibiza, where we catch glimpses of the port, winding narrow streets and white houses, and the Bohemian lifestyle of its foreign residents.

The film deals with the painter and art forger Elmyr de Hory, as well as Welles’s own deceptions, such as the radio programme with the ‘War of the Worlds’ hoax.

Some scenes, interiors in his own villa, were also shot at Puerto Rey in Vera, Almería.

The Horsemen (1971)

Omar Sharif returned to Spain for this John Frankenheimer story of real men and their horses.

Actually they started filming in Afghanistan itself until fevers and dehydration set them scurrying back to locations in Almería and around Madrid with comfortable hotels and excellent mineral water.

The Santillana Reservoir was one of the ‘Afghan’ locations as was an old airstrip, both located at Manzanares el Real, Madrid.

After leaving Kabul, passing in fact through a gate in the walls of Jairán, part of the Alcazaba castle of the city of Almería, Omar Sharif stops to break off his unmanly plaster cast with a rock; a decision he would have later regretted were he not so manly. This pause takes place in the ruins of Tabernas Castle.

Jairán Wall

Built in the XI century by the Arabs, Tabernas castle had its moment of glory when the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando used it as a temporary residence while besieging Almeria, with its much more serious fortress.

It had been handed over to the Christians in 1489, and it is believed that its ruined state can be attributed to the Moriscos (Muslims who converted to Christianity to avoid expulsion from Spain but were later expelled anyway) who blew up the castle on seeing that all was lost.

Tabernas Castle: Photo Courtesy James Yareham

Llanos de Senés was another Almería location.

Also used was Guadix in Granada province, where filming once more permitted the Sierra Nevada mountain range to double up as the Himalayas at no extra cost.

Animal lovers will no doubt have a collective fit when they see this film; most of what passes for Afghan culture consists of two animals destroying each other for the benefit of gambling tribesmen, and the headless calf race would even make some Spanish villagers think twice about tossing a goat from a church steeple.

Before that delight, we are treated to a bloody camel fight and even two tweetie birds slugging it out. Later we also see two rams going at it, twice, disproving the old adage that two heads are better than one.

Despite all this disgraceful cruelty towards animals, the Afghans do seem to have tremendously intimate relationships with their horses.

The Trojan Women (1971)

An all-star cast of actresses such as Vanessa Redgrave, Katherine Hepburn and Irene Papas descended upon the ruins of Atienza in Guadalajara province, 80 miles north of Madrid, to recreate Greek tragedy.

Local people were shocked by the fact that the film company were willing to pay as much as 100,000 pesetas a month to rent the house for Katherine Hepburn in front of San Salvador church, known as El Chalet.

 Curiously, she was the only member of the crew to stay in the village, getting around on a bicycle; the rest were lodged in the nearby medieval town of Sigüenza. The house in question used to be the old summer casino (not a den of gambling but a kind of social centre). 

When Katherine Hepburn stayed there, it had recently been reformed by its new owners. She furnished the house herself and lived there with a young, uniformed butler, enjoying the two floors and garden.

On our visit to Atienza we were fortunate to be invited into the house by Julián the current owner. As his children played around in the garden, he pointed out that the lower half of the house was as it was when Hepburn had lived there, although the top half had since been reformed.

Hepburn’s House

We also met José María, who like most of the inhabitants of his age was an extra in the film. His job was to stand upon the walls of Troy holding a spear.

Unlike the distant Irene Papas, Katherine Hepburn apparently got on very well with the local people, who found her kind and friendly, especially with the children.

The film company hired two local people, both of whom have since died, to protect her delicate, pale skin from the scorching sun with umbrellas and parasols.

Most of the filming in the village of Atienza took place near Hepburn’s house, around the old town walls, and at the drinking fountain known as ‘Fuente de San Gil.’

The fountain can be seen in early scenes when the Trojan women are herded out of the city, which is mostly seen from the outside as a series of ruined walls, although about five minutes into the film there is a splendid full view of the village at sunset.

Brian Blessed is the ‘good’ Greek, who is constantly bringing news from and sending captives to the ships at the beach, which we are supposed to believe is just down the hill. In reality, it is harder to be further from the coast than at Atienza.

An interesting film if you enjoy much wailing and rending of garments, with Atienza as the true star.

Although the tourist information office doesn’t take much advantage of the film having been made there, in a local hotel called Hotel Antiguo Palacio de Atienza, they had on display in reception a book called ‘Atienza Ayer’ (Yesterday), the last chapter of which is dedicated to The Trojan Women, with photographs of the shooting.

 Like many Spanish towns invaded by American film makers, Atienza benefited from its colonisers. Apart from the welcome money paid to extras, the producers brought electricity and phones to Atienza’s old hospital and helped set up a school in the old Falange building.

Hannie Caulder (1971)

In one of those Hollywood character-building experiences, Raquel Welch’s husband is murdered, she is raped by three scruffy brothers and her house is burnt.

But Hannie gets her gun and goes after the Western genre’s very own Marx Brothers; Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine and Strother Martin.

Ably assisted by Robert Culp doing a very credible impersonation of Robert Redford, she ignores the option of calling the Police and takes the law into her own hands.

Christopher Lee plays a gunsmith, living with his family on the beautiful, deserted Almería beach of Los Genoveses, where Hannie learns to shoot, and Britain’s own Diana Dors, also known for her complex Shakespearian roles, has a brief slot as a whorehouse Madam.

Filming took place around Tabernas, and particularly at one of the western sets constructed in Almería, in this case Texas Hollywood-Fort Bravo, whereas the final showdown with Ernest Borgnine takes place at the frequently used Fort Condor.

At Fort Bravo the ghost of Agustín Gómez ‘El Titi’, is said to roam. This stunt man died of a heart attack in 2007 during a spectacle and is still awaiting his place on Boot Hill.

Fort Bravo

Red Sun (1971)

Two men from totally different cultures have to learn to work together in order to kill some other men; a not infrequent Hollywood plot.

A truly united nations film, made in Spain with U.S. born Charles Bronson of ‘Magnificent Seven’ fame and Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune from the original ‘Seven Samurai’ film. French actor Alain Delon and Swiss actress Ursula Andress are directed by Briton Terence Young. All of them lodged at the Hotel Meliá in Aguadulce (now Senator Playadulce).

Once again Tabernas in Almería provided most of the authentic Wild West locations, with its terribly beautiful grey and yellow rock and soil and rocks, lots of rocks; in fact, more boulders than Colorado.

Shooting took place specifically at Rambla del Buho, Camino de la Rellana, Mini Hollywood western township at Tabernas (where Maxime’s whorehouse is situated-but don’t bother looking for it anymore!) and at the Cabo de Gata sand dunes.

Delon’s hideout was the now demolished Cueva de la Molineta, where Bronson finds Ursula Andress, foul of mouth and full of curves, and they head off across the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains, which had also been seen in the distance in the opening scenes with the train.

The railway scenes were once again filmed at La Calahorra railway station in Granada and a section of the Guadix – Hernan Valle railway line. It is in the latter location that the film begins with a classic western train holdup that gets complicated by Alain Delon’s betrayal of fellow robber Bronson.

Delon’s character is called ‘Gauche,’ and he dresses in black so that we don’t get confused about who the baddy is.

The climax takes place at a Mission surrounded by long rushes, in which goodies and baddies combine to fight and exterminate the baddiers, the Comanche Indians, who can only be described as ‘interesting’ as far as realism is concerned.

According to local expert Antonio Jesús Sánchez, the battle took place on the outskirts of Adra at a place known as Venta Nueva, situated on the border between Almería and Granada provinces.

Further information was also supplied by Guadix expert Roberto Balboa Garnica.

Catlow (1971)

Yet another western made in Tabernas, Almería, with Yul Brynner as the goody and a very illogical and nasty Leonard Nimoy as the baddy.

Also used were the dunes of Cabo de Gata, Enix and Poblado Juan García.

The General’s house was none other than the Escuela de Artes in Almería, later used by Spielberg in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The cave scene was shot in the Cueva de Roque.

The film’s final scene was shot in the Cortijo Romero, situated in the district of Villablanca in the capital of Almería and now a cinema museum.

La Casa del Cine, Almería

Duck You Sucker/ A Fistful of Dynamite (1971)

Sergio Leone’s last western, and one whose two titles emphasise some of the confusion surrounding its making.

Once again Leone indulges in repeated musical themes, slow motion and excessively long close-ups. Fortunately the symbolism is more under control, except in the opening scene with Steiger pissing on an ants’ nest.

James Coburn (Sean), who cleverly plays an IRA explosives expert before the IRA even existed, and Rod Steiger (Juan) star in a film, at all the usual locations and a few less popular locations more.

The ramp next to the Church of Santiago in Guadix, Granada was used for the scene where dissidents are executed against a wall. Further executions of difficult citizens are performed in a quadruple moat, which was once the sugar factory of Guadix, known as ‘La Azucarera.’ Curiously, the old sugar factory is now the HQ of the Guadix Development Group, which among other things promotes cinema tourism.

Guadix cathedral is the most notable building from the outside when Juan arrives in Mesa Verde.

Also employed was the surprisingly rarely used medieval town of Medinaceli, perched on a hilltop in Soria province. Here a few street scenes were shot in and around the Plaza Mayor during the fighting at Mesa Verde. The bank was also in the main square, although it was a set constructed for the film.

There were a few scenes with horses riding up and down that were filmed in the Valle de Arbujuelo. Perhaps they just needed a break from all the executing in Guadix, which does of course take it out of a man.

La Calahorra Railway station is the scene of the derailment of the troop train, and on the Guadix – Hernan Valle railway line Sean jumps from the train; and it is on the same line that we see the train cross a bridge.

At Guadix station Juan kills the Governor and an ambush on the railroad takes place at the old abandoned station at Gor, near Guadix.

Almería Railway Station became Mesa Verde, and the city railway station’s facade appears in a scene where Steiger arrives there and the many windowed front of the station can be clearly seen behind him.

The opening scene takes place in the Rambla del Saltador. In the Valle de Rodalquilar, at the foot of the Cabo de Gata mountain range is the tower (Torre) de los Alumbres, where Sean blows up a church full of soldiers, and at the mines of Rodalquilar Sean and Juan meet on the trail, and we also see the scene with the army column, with a tank, in pursuit.

Built around 1510, Alumbres was one of two towers (the other disappeared in the 18th century) designed to protect nearby miners from the attacks of Berber pirates. In this it was not very successful as in 1520 the pirates burnt the village and took the inhabitants away as slaves, bringing an end to mining for the next 50 years.

From 1736 to 1768 it had its most glorious moments, and even two cannons to protect a nearby pier from which coal and limestone were loaded, but with the building of the castle of San Ramón, it became redundant.

The tower is located on the road leading to the beach called El Playazo.

At Los Albaricoques we can find the old farmhouse known as Caserio del Campillo de Doña Francesca, where Juan faces a firing squad but is rescued by Sean.

The Cervantes Theatre in Almería city was used for the interior scenes of Molly Malone’s saloon. The theatre is situated in Calle Poeta Villaespesa, which is also the location of the Town Hall’s attempts to imitate Hollywood by putting stars on the pavement.

Teatro Cervantes

At the Rambla de Lanujar the armoured coach is ambushed, whereas in Sierra Alhamilla they shot the scenes where Sean blew up the coach, and also where Sean and Juan blew up the bridge. The film was not so named in vain!

Valdez is Coming (1971)

Burt Lancaster finally made it to Almería for this film (well, I think that’s everybody then, don’t you?)

Burt is Valdez, and he’s coming for the rich and powerful who are above the law; unlike in real life!

Rambla Salinillas from above

Valdez is the sheriff of a town which is in reality the oft used Texas Hollywood set.

It’s a rambling film; the opening scene with the stagecoach was filmed at Tabernas, while the scene where rich baddy Tanner’s men hunt for Valdez was filmed in Rambla del Indalecio.

At the beginning of the film, the wanted man’s log cabin is located in the Rambla del Buho.

The scene where Tanner’s men follow Valdez was at nearby Llano de Utrillo, while just above the Rambla we can find Diego’s ranch, and in the same area Valdez meets Tanner’s lookout.

Tanner’s own ranch is located at Camino de la Rellana, while in the Rambla del Carrizalejo Tanner’s men hunt for Valdez.

Some shots were also used from the Sierra de Gredos range in Ávila province. After Valdez takes out five baddies with his buffalo rifle, the scenery changes from the arid greys of Almería to the forests, fog and snow of the Gredos.

Lancaster stayed at the visiting stars favourite hotel in Almería, the Meliá Aguadulce (now Senator Playadulce).

The Deserter (1971)

This film is a genuine spaghetti western, made partly in Italy and partly in Spain. El Torcal de Antequera Nature Reserve, just 30 kilometres north of Málaga, was among the Spanish locations.

El Torcal is famous for its unusual rock formations, and consists of 17 square kilometres of some of the most impressive limestone landscapes in Europe, in an area that was under the sea until only one hundred million years ago. One of its highlights is the 30 varieties of orchids to be found growing in the park.

El Torcal features in the scenes where our heroes cross some mountains and build a bridge in order to attack the Apaches by surprise.

Among the cast are western classics such as Chuck Connors, Woody Strode, Pat (son of John) Wayne, Slim Pickens and John Huston.

This is a western as God intended; the Indians are the baddies and there are no grey moral areas.

In Almería, some scenes were shot in Ramblas Indalecio, Otero, Búho, Cautivo and at Cabo de Gata.

The Hunting Party (1971)

This cheaper version of ‘The Professionals’ stars Oliver Reed, Candice Bergen and Gene Hackman, and includes rooftop sniping scenes in the lazy village of Polopos, in Granada province, just east of Motril. The train scenes also take place in Granada province at the Huéneja-Dólar station.

Filming also took place in Almería (at Tabernas) and Málaga provinces, and the set where Bergen’s school was located can be found among the rocky meadows of the Dehesa de Navalvillar in Colmenar Viejo, near Madrid, overflown by eagles, vultures and storks and trampled by grazing horses and cows.

Doc (1971)

Stacey Keach and Faye Dunnaway star in yet another telling of the Wyatt Earp story, concentrating more on Doc Holiday this time.

Wyatt in fact doesn’t come across as a very nice person at all, driven by personal ambition and the humiliation of losing a fair fist fight. Furthermore, the goodies cheat by taking shotguns to the final shootout instead of honest to God revolvers.

Tabernas and Cabo de Gata in Almería were once again the main locations, with the sand dunes at Gata appearing at the beginning when Doc Holliday rides towards Tombstone with his gal. Filming also took place at Poblado de Fraile (now called Oasys) and Rambla Cautivo. We can still see a version of the schoolhouse at Oasys today.

In 2007 Dunnaway would return to Almería to receive a prize for her participation in the film, commenting that Almería had moved her more than any other place in the world, because of its unspoilt scenery.

The scenery is certainly sparse when ridden through, the only signs of civilisation being Tombstone itself and the Clanton Ranch, which looks like it was dropped onto a dustbowl from a great height.

‘Doc’ is an interesting film, played somewhat woodenly by actors who appear to have spent a bit too much time in the featured Opium Den, and characterised by the sheer resilience of men who like to knock off a bottle of whisky with breakfast and then settle down to some serious drinking for the rest of the day.

Some scenes were also shot at La Pedriza near Madrid.

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

Some American reviewers have referred to this as a typical European arty film, and certainly it uses slow motion and dream sequence type tricks, although mainstream American actor Jason Robards is the star.

Set in Paris, the film was actually made in Toledo. The film’s director Gordon Hessler once explained that Toledo offered cheap crowds, crew and horses, as well as truly Parisian ambience.

According to Rafael del Cerro Malagón, a local expert on the cinema, the theatre used in the film is the Teatro de Rojas.

A scene featuring a small funfair, where Genevre passes a note to a boy, was shot in Plaza de la Constitución, San Lorenzo del Escorial, Madrid.

Madeline’s mother’s house is represented by Palacio de la Alameda in Madrid’s Parque del Capricho, with the fountain Los Delfines in front.

In a dream sequence Pierre takes her to a mausoleum ‘El Abejero’ in Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna, Madrid.

A Town called Hell (1971)

Filmed at the village of Daganzo near Madrid, this western starred Telly Savalas, Martin Landau and Robert Shaw, as well as heavenly Fernando Rey, and explored all the old themes of revenge and an angry widow; and one who sleeps in a coffin at that!

Daganzo is one of many towns near Madrid that have been host to several foreign films thanks to its ‘western’ scenery, and where the 40,000 square metre Estudios 70 Madrid facilities were constructed in the 70s, as the name suggests, including a whole western township, of which little remains. The first owner was the American director Philip Yordan, who apparently ran off with a local girl and consequently sold the studio to Valencian director Juan Piquer in 1979.

The town now organises a yearly film festival to remember past glories.

Kill (1971)

Stephen Boyd and James Mason returned to Spain to make this film about an Interpol investigation of the murder of some drug traffickers in Pakistan, with locations at Alicante and nearby Elche, with its famous palm tree plantations, where Mason is met by a driver with a machine gun before u-turning at a roadblock.

At La Manga del Mar Menor, Murcia, the desert and duck hunting scenes were shot.

The film is also known as ‘Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill’ on occasions; perhaps to appeal to the American market. Any film featuring corpses on trampolines is worth watching, and the cameos by Blues artist Memphis Slim make up for all the other weaknesses.

The Last Run (1971)

George C Scott, who shot ‘Patton’ in Spain, stars as a retired getaway driver living in a delightful Portuguese fishing village, which happens to be Nerja in Málaga province.

The prison bus escape scene was shot at a bridge over the River Gualdalfeo near Orgiva, Granada, a bridge quaintly named ‘Puente de los 7 Ojos’ (the bridge of the seven eyes).

The nearby village of Frigiliana, climbing up into the Sierra de Tejeda also appears, and so does Mijas.

José María Burgos informed that the scene in Mijas is when they enter Plaza de la Constitución and go into Bar Culitos, which no longer exists today despite the attractive name. One of them makes a call from the phone box outside, and then enters the bar, where people are watching TV.

Hunt the Man Down/ Bad Man’s River (1971)

It’s surprising just how many films Lee Van Cleef and James Mason made in Spain,.

This one was a comedy of sorts, featuring bank robberies, female betrayal and revolution, with Gina Lollobrigida to add a bit of aesthetic contrast to sagebrush and saloons, and authentic scenery around Colmenar Viejo and the Daganzo film studio, both situated near Madrid.

Deathwork/ The Guns of April Morning (1971)

Another western made largely at the Madrid 70 Studios at Daganzo near Madrid.

Lee Van Cleef and Stuart Whitman fight it out, but only Van Cleef gets to sing.

The train scenes were shot at Guadix in the province of Granada.

Known as ‘Captain Apache’ in Spain, the plot concerns the attempted assassination of a US President.

Black Beauty (1971)

Starring Mark Lester who, according to most people, made ‘Oliver’ and then sadly grew up.

Fortunately the horse is the star and Mark only makes us squirm with embarrassment for the first few minutes.

After witnessing an Irish gypsy race, Black Beauty is found by a Mister Benjamin, who informs us that he will be taken to ‘the Continent’, and suddenly we are there, and clearly in Spain judging from a couple of signs offering ‘vino’ for sale.

The house where Marie rides looking for the police to break up the battle between two circuses, is La Granja royal palace in Segovia province.

Another part of the story takes place on the Indian border with Afghanistan, where Lieutenant Gervais proves that he is not a coward by getting himself killed while killing a few natives. The Asian landscape is of course to be found at La Pedriza in the province of Madrid.

Rain for a Dusty Summer (1971)

Aka ‘Guns of the Revolution’, Ernest Borgnine stars as the pathological General determined to put an end to the Catholic clergy and the rich in Mexico in 1917. The film, based on a Graham Greene story, recounts the activities of a priest, Miguel Pro, a hero or villain depending on your ideology.

Filming took place at Balcázar studios in Barcelona, with ‘western’ exteriors at Orihuela in Alicante province.

When Brother Miguel talks to a paper seller in the Plaza de Monserrate, we see clearly the façade of the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Monserrate.

When he visits his jailed brother, the prison is Montjuic castle in Barcelona.

A Gunfight (1971)

Although mainly filmed in New Mexico, the bullfight scenes were apparently shot in Madrid, near Chinchón.

Kirk Douglas and Johnny Cash are the stars with a great politically incorrect beginning with plenty of violence and little regard for bio-diversity.

Cash, as his song fades into the background, shoots a rattler and then pistol whips his own horse (for its own good you understand), while in the next scene, Kirk Douglas gets a tongue lashing from his woman to even things out.

David Carradine makes his brief debut on the fast track to Boot Hill.

A film that deals with a very real problem; how to grow old with dignity and become an entrepreneur. There are also some delightfully Cashilian lines such as “a country isn’t pretty when you’re hungry.”

The Call of the Wild (1972)

The Charlton Heston version of this Jack London classic was shot in Finland, Norway and in Spain; three countries noted for their freezing cold weather!

It is set in California and the Yukon and there’s snow enough for everyone. Charlton is not at his best, playing a man who throughout the film seems to become more and more enamoured of a dog and less and less of people or women. Fortunately the dog clearly prefers its own kind (a wolf actually) so there were no rating problems. In fact the dogs out-act many of the humanoids, most of whom thankfully have their facial expressions obstructed by false beards of a comical nature.

This may be the film where Heston got the idea for his “my cold dead hand speech,” although it’s his cold, dead, underwater face that opens and closes the film.

Nice scenery, even if the exhausted corpses along the gold trail spoil it a bit. The Spanish sections were filmed in the Valsaín forest in Segovia province.

Anthony and Cleopatra (1972)

Charlton Heston directed and starred in a film, which he also co-wrote himself, out in the wilds of Almería.

Rumour has it that when Arnold Schwarzenegger saw the film he insisted on being allowed to play Hamlet. Unfortunately he also insisted on wasting his uncle and most of the rest of the cast early on in the first scene, which left the scriptwriters in a bit of a pickle.

It was the theatre version of Anthony and Cleopatra that gave Chuck his first break on Broadway in 1947, and he’d played Mark Anthony before, opposite Marlon Brando’s corpse in the 1953 version of ‘Julius Caesar.’

The film was an Anglo-Spanish production between Izaro Films of Madrid and Folio Films of London and featured a lot of Spanish actors, such as Fernando Rey as the Roman patrician Lepidus, and Carmen Sevilla.

Almería’s Alcazaba castle was used for some gladiator scenes, and the exteriors feature the desert and coast of Almería, including the cliff that Eric Porter nobly throws himself off.

Tabernas, Cabo de Gata (off whose shores the naval battle was filmed including leftover footage from Ben Hur) and Roquetas de Mar were used.

Heston’s son Fraser participated, as did appropriately named production co-ordinator Barry Romans.

Heston attempts to show his tender side in this film, although some of the early scenes where Anthony shows his decadence by wearing ear rings are almost as frightening as Heston’s nude scene early on, where the only thing between Charlton’s member and the audience is a curious kind of curtain doubling as a jockstrap. Anyway, I’m sure it was well researched.

Treasure Island (1972)

One of Orson Welles’s least enthusiastic projects, although he makes an ideal Long John Silver.

La Alberca in Salamanca has medieval streets that were perfect to depict Bristol for the early scenes when the expedition is being prepared.

Also used, but in Almería, was the white, hilltop village of Mojacar, as well as Puerto Rey, Aguas and Bédar, in whose abandoned mines Captain Flint’s treasure was to be found.

In one scene we see Jim Hawkins running along some cliffs, and behind him is the peak of Torre del Pirulico or Torre del Peñon. When Silver’s men come ashore at a beach to attack the goodies, we are at the Playa del Sombrerico at Mojacar, called so because a large rock there looks like a hat. This is where Jim meets Ben Gunn.

The old house that the gentry defend against the pirates is now a beach bar called ‘Manaca,’ where an ‘Orson Welles’ salad is apparently served to those willing to descend the track down to the Macenas beach.

The final scene, showing a market at the island of Española, was filmed at the Colonia beach.

The production headquarters was in Carboneras and Welles himself rested his head in an area of villas called Puerto Rey between Vera and Garrucha in Almería.

Travels with my Aunt (1972)

The aunt in question was Maggie Smith, although director George Cukor had wanted his favourite actress Katherine Hepburn for this film based on a Graham Greene novel.

After meeting his Aunt Augusta at his mother’s funeral, she and Henry travel to Paris, where they book into a hotel. The interior patio with the ornate staircase which supposedly connects the Hotels Albion and Saint George is in fact the Escalera de Honor of the Madrid Casino in Calle Alcalá 15, where they return later to encounter the arduous Monsieur Dambreus, played by the Spanish comic actor Jose Luis López Vázquez.

In a flashback Augusta first meets Dambreuse in a Parisien park when his Rolls scares her horse, although the park in question was in fact the Retiro in Madrid.

They travel to Spain to sell a stolen painting at a beach bar, which is the Bar Mediterráneo at San Miguel de Cabo de Gata. The little church is located in Las Salinas.

They then take a boat to the North African coast, where they hand over the ransom money. 

The Playa de los Genoveses, near Cabo de Gata was also supposedly a deserted North African beach, where they eventually meet the ‘kidnap’ victim.

Finally they drive off and stop for the final scene on the open road at Tabernas, where they toss a coin, with Franco’s head clearly visible.

Pancho Villa (1972)

With a budget of 25 million pesetas ‘Pancho Villa’ was filmed in Aranjuez and Colmenar Viejo near Madrid and around Guadix in Granada province between August and September 1971, using the Madrid 70 western township built at Daganzo.

In the film Pancho Villa takes revenge on a double-crossing arms salesman by invading the USA no less!

According to local expert Roberto Balboa filming took place in Guadix during the first fortnight of September 1971.

That part of the filming consisted mostly of the scenes involving trains, with the station of La Calahorra portraying the American city of Columbus.

There we see Villa (Telly Savalas) and his men near the end of the film, awaiting the train carrying General Goyo, being drawn by the legendary train spotters’ dream train, the Babwil 140-2054 locomotive.

A battle takes place between Villa’s men and the Federal troops, both sides consisting of local gypsy extras, who could change sides at a moment’s notice.

At the same location, in the early stages of the film, there is a scene in which Clint Walker, in his first Spanish film (excluding a self-deprecating cameo in The Phynx), is cheated by arms salesmen and takes refuge in a wagon, which is rammed by another train in a comical scene with Walker being thrown about inside.

Walker plays Villa’s sidekick Scotty, nobly resisting the temptation in moments of danger of asking to be beamed up.

Chuck Connors was also in La Calahorra, playing the manic Colonel Wilcox, who is seen off from the station to the relief of his soldiers.

The royal palace and grounds of Aranjuez can be perceived both in the show jumping scene, where the appropriately named Lieutenant Eager tries to warn Wilcox that Villa and his men have sneaked across the Rio Grande, (although in reality he has entered the Dehesa de Navalvillar near Colmenar Viejo where the prefab fort has been knocked together), and also in a brief glimpse on a film that Villa watches, enjoying the memory of his glory days at the palace in the capital.

Other scenes were shot on the line between La Calahorra and the Alquife mines. In these scenes, Villa’s train, in which he is captive at the beginning of the film and having his hair shorn in a cage to explain why he is bald, is pursued by a train carrying his men.

In the same place they filmed the scenes where Villa’s and Wilcox’s trains play chicken at the end.

Finally, in the scene where Villa acts as a waiter in the presence of General Pershing, we can observe the mountain range known as Sierra de Gor in the background.

Horror Express (1972)

Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Telly Savalas return from Manchuria on the Trans-Siberian with a monster as a last minute souvenir.

The monster easily out-acts our famous trio and their accompanying train-load of “peasants,” as Telly refers to those who do not don his Cossack uniform, in one of his less restrained roles.

Nevertheless, practically all of the secondary characters are Spanish in a film that was made almost entirely in the Madrid 70 studios Daganzo.

The monster is a red-eyed, lock-picking Yeti, recently returned from a 2 million year vacation frozen in the perma-frost, which hasn’t affected his survival skills.

The snowy Manchurian scenery was captured around Puerto de Navacerrada; a ski resort near Madrid.

If some of the sets look familiar, especially the train set, it’s because the same production team used them for their previous project: ‘Pancho Villa,’ also with Savalas.

Apart from the monster, the toy train is definitely the other main star, rolling through sparse scenery with a bleakness indicating severe budget problems. In fact there was only one real carriage available, which had to be reconstructed for each change of scene.

The only real trains to be seen were at the Delicias station, now a train museum, in Madrid.

The scenes of somebody having his head sawn off mixed with the elegance of the train’s dining room are enough to put anyone off lunch; it’s just as well that the man was dead at the time.

The climax is perhaps one of the most realistic examples you’re ever likely to see of somebody pushing a toy train over a paper mache cliff.

Chato’s Land (1972)

Charles Bronson stars in an early version of ‘Rambo,’ with the twist that he’s an Apache, or “Breed” as his pursuers prefer, hounded by the forces of law and order.

Tabernas in Almería again plays host to a vigilante group led by Civil War nostalgic Jack Palance “it was a good war,” Richard Basehart and some mean hombres.

The star however is the subtly varied landscape of the Almería desert, with its touches or grey, brown, yellow and green, and with the sand dunes of Cabo de Gata providing the occasional opportunity to trudge hopelessly in desperate moments.

The scenes in the town at the beginning of the film, the only ones with any sign of ‘civilisation’, were filmed at the Western Leone township near Tabernas.

The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972)

A remake of Stephen King’s ‘Misery’ in all but name, and without good actors; there’s also a touch of ‘Deliverance’ in it, but without the banjo duet to make the rest of the film bearable.

With only three characters, one car, a bear and a shack situated at Tabernas, Almería, although supposedly somewhere in the USA, nobody will have lost their shirt with this film, although some nudity might have helped.

Doctor Phibes Rises Again (1972)

Some of the Egyptian desert scenes, such as the one with the gramophone and false soldiers, were filmed at the famous and frequently used sand dunes at Cabo de Gata, Almería, and the oasis where the archaeological team camp is none other than Lawrence’s oasis at Viciana.

The Cueva de la Molineta was once more used, this time for the kidnapping scene.

Vincent Price and Peter Cushing lent their indubitable talents to this film.

What the Peeper Saw/ Night Child (1972)

Elise has just married an English author and has moved in with him at his villa in Spain, but when his twelve year old son Marcus, recently expelled from his school arrives, things take a turn for better or worse.

When Mark Lester asked for more in ‘Oliver,’ he probably never dreamed that he would get his own striptease from Britt Ekland when he was still only 13.

Madrid was one of the locations, as was Almería, which provided the villa with pool at Mojácar.

Madrid’s contribution was modest; towards the end of the film we see Ekland and distracted husband Hardy Kruger strolling with apparent contentment alongside the lake in the Casa de Campo. Lester’s ‘accident,’ where he seems to think he’s a dog, occurs there.

Before that, Britt had been recuperating in an asylum, the entrance of which is the Hospital Psiquiatrico Doctor R Lafora, situated at Valdelatas on the road to Colmenar Viejo from Madrid.

Innocent Bystanders (1972)

An interesting cast, with Stanley Baker, Donald Pleasence, Geraldine Chaplin, Dana Andrews and ethno-eccentric Warren Mitchell, the film has all the trappings of a James Bond movie, with Baker as the British spy, in Turkey to bring home a Russian scientist living a quiet life as a goatherd, against all odds, naturally.

It was mostly filmed along the Costa del Sol in the province, where Baker would die four years later. Málaga airport for example impersonates that of Ankara.

Summertime Killer (1972)

Christopher Mitchum (son of Robert), Karl Malden, and Olivia Hussey star in this Italian vendetta movie in which a young man tracks down his father’s killers. Co-starring is his motorbike.

As well as Portugal and New York, a range of Spanish locations were used, including Madrid, for Mitchum’s visit to the unusual apartment block Las Torres Blancas in search of Raymond, as well as Las Ventas bullring for the bullfight scenes, L’Ametlla de Mar, Tarragona, Tordera and Roda de Ter, Barcelona,

Buendia, Cuenca and Lagos de Entrepeñas, Guadalajara were used, the latter for the scenes where Mitchum keeps Olivia Hussey in the house he has built in the middle of a reservoir.

A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (1972)

What the world needs now is love sweet love and another Italian western made in Almería.

Nevertheless, with James Coburn and Telly Savalas in it, it can’t be all bad.

Director Tonino Valerii also signed head thumping Bud Spencer for this tale of American Civil War residue.

The old El Condor Fort was used again, as were the mines at Rodalquilar, where a Confederate camp was set up.

Also reused was the farm after the group leave the train, which was previously the McBain ranch in Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West.

Western Leone Theme Park

Most of the filming took place around Tabernas.

Our thanks to Alfonso Jesús Población, expert on mathematics in the cinema for identifying this film.

A Touch of Class (1973)

The Guadalmina Spa & Golf Resort in San Pedro de Alcántara, Marbella, Málaga was the main location used for this road love story between George Segal and Glenda Jackson. It is here that they have their troubled tryst, ably assisted by a very unSpanish looking hotel receptionist as they come and go to and from Málaga airport, the golf course or the swimming pool.

The curious morality of the film seems to be that adultery is fine and that children are a damned nuisance when one is trying to carry on an affair. In fact the only homage to constancy seems to be Glenda Jackson’s wig.

Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973)

Though director Alan J. Pakula is best known for his 70s thrillers such as ‘Klute’ and ‘All the President’s Men,’ and screenwriter Alvin Sargeant is most readily identified for having penned Spider-Man movies, the two headed for Spain in the early 70s to make a different kind of film.

Shot at Madrid’s Estudios Verona and on the road throughout Spain, it is the poignant romance of an asthmatic American youth (Timothy Bottoms) who meets ailing English tourist, (Maggie Smith), while in Spain on a cycle tour, with locations at Aranjuez near Madrid and Pedraza and La Granja royal palace in Segovia province.

Also in Segovia we see Bottoms sitting at the foot of a flag-waving statue, agonising should he stay or should he go, while Maggie hits the bottle and the sleeping pills.

The statue is of Juan Bravo, one of the leaders of the 16th century ‘Comunero’ revolt. Bravo’s head is clearly visible, although he lost it after the Battle of Villalar in 1521. The church next to the statue is that of San Martín.

On two occasions we see Bottoms at La Pedriza with its famous boulders used in so many films, once on a bicycle and once with a caravan, when he exclaims: “You’re a pain in the ass, but I love you!”

As Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms frolic among the mountains she trips and is whisked away by a Spanish ‘Duke’ on his horse (played by a genuine Spanish aristocrat Don Jaime de Mora and Aragón).

He takes her to his castle, which he calls the castle of ‘Aragón’, and tries to seduce her with some typical noble pastimes such as whipping balloons. In fact it is the castle of Pedraza.

Pedraza: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

They breakfast inside the castle, where a servant appears punctually from a hole in the ground every time the Duke blows his whistle, proving that servitude is alive and well in Spain.

The castle of Pedraza dates back to Roman times and has been reformed and developed throughout history, first by Muslims and then by Christians.

The original castle is believed to have been the birthplace of the Roman emperor Trajan, and the prison of two hostages, the sons of the French king Francois I.

Don Sancho, Lord of the castle, went off to fight at the Battle of Navas de Tolosa one fine day in 1212. On his return he noticed that his wife, Elvira, seemed less than delighted to see him. He found out that she had reignited an old flame with her confessor Roberto.

Don Sancho organised a supper where he placed a specially crafted iron crown on Roberto’s head, mortally wounding him. Elvira ran for her dagger and killed herself while her husband wandered off, never to be seen again while the castle burned.

Today it is said that two luminous figures can be seen together on the battlements; probably not Elvira and Sancho.

Every year a festival takes place in and around the castle called ‘La Noche de las Velas’, (the night of the candles) and various Spanish series and films have been made there, such as ‘Isabel’.

In 1926 it was acquired by a Basque artist, and now houses his work as the ‘Museo Ignacio Zuloaga. They also do weddings.

Medieval Pedraza has been used for many films, and the unspoilt streets, virtually vehicle-less, are usually tranquil, except for weekends when the tourists arrive.

Most days, if you hang around El Soportal Restaurant on the main square, next to the Town Hall, you can run into Julián Maté, enjoying a post-lunch glass of brandy.

Julián knows a lot about the films made in Pedraza, and has participated in many.

Here, according to him, Mister Arkadin, The Immortal Story, (but not Chimes at Midnight he insists) The Return of the Musketeers, Honeymoon Academy and Bolero were all made.

Julián maintains a couple of collages of photos and cuttings on the walls of El Soportal, detailing the films that have been made in Pedraza.

Tim and Maggie wander through a market, set in the main square of Pedraza, which had previously been used as a different location for the first stop of the tour bus after Bottoms boards and buys her a dress, which she will wear to visit the Duke, provoking Bottoms’ jealous rage (again).

After leaving Pedraza, the castle and the Duke, they find resignation among the fountains of La Granja.

Papillon (1973)

“Forget France; put your clothes on!” Words that have served us all well over the decades and which are pronounced to a group of French prisoners among whom are Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, before transportation to French Guiana by an angry Commander who is in fact the writer Dalton Trumbo, and has possibly forgotten that he is not in fact speaking at a French prison but at a school in Madrid, today called IES San Fernando. Or maybe not!

The prisoners are then marched off to be embarked and exiled, although the streets they parade through are not French streets but the cobbled stones and harbour of Fuenterrabia (also called Hondarribia), Guipúzcoa, just across the border in the Spanish Basque County, which means the prolific berets among the crowds would not have been a problem.


Local man Félix Senosiain joined us on our visit to Hondarribia as we followed Dustin and Steve into exile and discovered, as is so often the case on the silver screen, that they cheated.

Accompanied by bayonet-waving troops, the march begins descending Calle Muralla, beside the city wall.

As they approach the camera, it turns with them as they then march up Calle Mayor with the church clearly visible at the end of the street.

Next the camera has moved to the top end of the street as they march up to the church and the Plaza de Armas, where the fortress Parador stands today.

It is here that a young lady tries to make contact with Hoffman before returning to her car, parked in the Plaza de Armas.

The next shot (with a giant leap for the camera) takes us out of the city walls to the old fishermen’s district known as La Marina.

Finally we return to the old city, where from the Plaza de las Armas they walk down Calle Iparkalea as far as the Hospital, from where the sea can be seen.

Hondarribia is used again for the dream/delirium sequence when McQueen, being punished in solitary, on the point of expiration, imagines himself in a better world turned upside down. These scenes were shot in the Marina District in Calle San Pedro.

Once at the prison, there is another Spanish touch as a prisoner is guillotined to teach everybody, and especially him, a lesson. As he fights and spits his way towards oblivion he can be clearly heard cursing in Spanish.

There’s good advice for the prisoners while they are rehabilitated. A warden assures them that they should relinquish all hope, masturbating as little as possible.

Perhaps it is because he doesn’t have a motorbike this time that Steve McQueen finally manages to escape.

The Three Musketeers (1973)

Richard Lester is one the directors who has most appreciated the attraction of shooting films in Spain, and this humorous version of the Dumas classic, although intended as a single film, finally became two, with the resulting lawsuits from disgruntled actors.

The royal palace of Aranjuez near Madrid made a believable substitute for Versailles, having been built in 1722 when Spain was just getting used to Frenchified ways under the newly installed Borbon dynasty following the War of Spanish Succession.

Another old favourite, the royal summer retreat, La Granja, Segovia, also served as Versailles, and was also built by the first Borbon monarch Felipe V, while the Alcázar of Segovia was used as the scene of Charlton Heston’s ‘benevolent’ torturing of Spike Milligan.

Talamanca de Jarama, another popular filming location, has a Roman bridge, where Roy Kinnear collides with a tree and falls from his horse. A cruel irony as in ‘The Return of the Musketeers,’ also shot in Spain, a fall from a horse would lead to his death.

Other places where filming took place are the Riofrio Palace and the monastery of Uclés, Cuenca (where we can see Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richlieu scheming in front of the portal and in the cloister.


The four Musketeers come together for the first time to fight each other in duels but end up uniting to fight the Cardinal’s men among the washing lines tied to the well in the cloister of the Hospital de Tavera in Toledo.

The Hospital has its own special ghost, as well as a very spooky crypt where the Medinaceli family is interred. The phantom in question is the sculptor Alonso Berruguete, who died in the hospital before finishing the sepulchre of the Cardinal.

The brief port scenes were shot during August and September 1973 in Denia in Alicante province, and in fact, when Michael York calls out that he has at last spotted Dover, he is in front of Cap (Cape) de Sant Antoni.

The Dover port scenes were shot at the dockside, whereas the port of Calais was represented at nearby El Raset, with the black façade of the ‘Cofradía de Pescadores’ (Fishermen’s Building) in the background.

The battle scene takes place on Almería’s Playa del Algarrobico, where Lawrence of Arabia took Aqaba.

In another scene the Musketeers fight with the Cardinal’s men and Oliver Reed has a problem with a windmill in the Cañon de Rios Lobos, a canyon in Soria and Burgos provinces.

The medieval cobbled streets of Toledo are easily recognisable as the Duke of Buckingham is pursued to a vaulted wash house, where he is defended by the Musketeers against Cardinal Richlieu’s men.

The Deadly Trackers (1973)

Like Chamberlain at Munich, Richard Harris discovers that appeasement doesn’t pay off, although whereas Chamberlain merely lost his job, and almost lost his country, Harris loses his wife and son.

Harris plays an Irish pacifist sheriff, as a way of explaining his Welsh accent no doubt, and Rod Taylor plays his Nemesis, with filming at Colmenar Viejo and La Pedriza.

There is a curious scene during the pursuit when, just after killing the first of Taylor’s eccentric gang of four, Harris ties his horse to a solitary palm tree at the top of a hill. The tree looks recently planted for the purpose and slightly out of place in the great American West.

As Harris catches up with each villain, leaving Taylor until last, as one does, we start getting to know each one a little, and even sympathise with their broken homes and nature versus nurture inner conflicts. This is usually the moment that Harris chooses to dispose of them.

As the film progresses, so Harris’s wardrobe deteriorates as he begins to turn into a horse called Man.

The Man Called Noon (1973)

The excellent photography in this film can be attributed to John Cabrera, and the locations include all the usual suspects.

Richard Crenna is shot and loses his memory and catches a train from the station at La Calahorra in the province of Granada.

He is picked up and taken to Rafter D ranch, now known as Poblado Western Leone at Tabernas, Almería, built for Sergio’s Once Upon a Time in the West as the McBain ranch.

He and Stephen Boyd follow a very sensible horse up into the mountains of the Tabernas desert and come across a mysterious cabin, although we are now at La Pedriza near Madrid and enjoying the greener scenery of the Dehesa de Navalvillar, Colmenar Viejo.

Inside a wardrobe (where else?) in the cabin is a cave, the often used la Molineta or Roqueta.

Another train ride through the plains of Granada takes our duo back to Almería’s El Condor fort, where they are incompetently ambushed by some skilful stuntmen.

The western township Mini Hollywood represents El Paso, and then it’s back to the cabin for the final shootout.

Mini Hollywood on a Busy Day

Chino (1973)

Charles Bronson is the star, although the horses out-act him in another Tabernas, Almería film designed to keep the appetites of American TV companies happy on rainy afternoons when the football is cancelled.

Among the dry gulleys employed were Ramblas de Otero and Salteador, the road to Senés and Poblado Nueva Frontera, while the Indian village was built at Llanos del Duque.

John Sturges directed and Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland co-starred.

Charley One Eye (1973)

Race seems to have been the big theme in the 70s, with black (Richard Rowntree), red and white men slugging it out for a little chunk of the home of the brave.

The famous sand dunes of Cabo de Gata in Almería once more provide the backdrop for some advanced human folly in a film made largely around Tabernas (Tecisa, El Cautivo and Las Salinillas).

Las Salinillas

The Final Programme (1973)

Although largely a London studio picture, this sci-fi comedy based on a Michael Moorcock book included exteriors shot in Tecisa, Carmona, Mojácar, the sand dunes of Cabo de Gata in Almería, where the railway station at Gérgal was used.

Some scenes were shot in the Cortijo Romero, ‘La Casa del Cine,’ Dr Baxter’s hang out. In fact, a shoot out that begins there ends up at Los Escullos beach.

Los Escullos

Shaft in Africa (1973)

Although set in Africa, as the name suggests, Shaft briefly passed through Spain in a desperate attempt to add a bit of glamour to this failed follow up to the follow up.

One of the locations had itself a violent history; it was a bunker from the Spanish Civil War, to be found attached to the non-violently named Palacio de Caprichos, in central Madrid, a location from Doctor Zhivago.

The bunker, known as General Miaja’s bunker, is on the north side of the palace, and was built in 1937.

In the film it is used to store slaves (for their own protection obviously) and is torn apart by explosions.

The Adventures of Don Quijote (1973)

Although not a feature film, this BBC Play for Today had an interesting cast, including Rex Harrison in the title role and Frank Finlay as Sancho.

It was filmed in La Mancha, around Almagro and Carrión de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, and at the famous wetlands of Lagunas de Ruidera, on the border between the provinces of Albacete and Cuidad Real.

Filming also took place at Belmonte, Cuenca, with its impressive castle made famous by the jousting scene from ‘El Cid.’

Much of the filming was apparently done at Cañamares, Cuenca, attractive for the film makers as it lacked electricity at the time; just like the Don’s epoch.

Most of the old women and children participated in the shooting, according to the local media.

Our thanks to English teacher Jesús de Aragón from Cuenca for locating this film.

The Night of the Sorcerers (1973)

If you need deepest Africa, just slip out of Madrid to the deepest west to Aldea del Fresno. What’s more, there’s no lack of wild animals; you can borrow them at the nearby Madrid Safari Park, as Spanish director Amando de Ossorio did for this amusing tale of gore and claw.

Our sturdy team of safari victims includes Spanish actor Simón Andreu, who has appeared in a wide swathe of English language films made in Spain, challenging even Fernando Rey.

The river next to the ‘soon to be vampires’ camp is the Alberche near Aldea de Fresno, also used for scenes from ‘Spartacus’ and ‘A Fistful of Dollars.’

Speaking of camp; why do vampire women always run in slow motion? And is there any significance in the fact that the nearest town in the story is called Bumbasa?

The Corruption of Chris Miller (1973)

The Chris Miller in question is none other than Marisol, a teenage phenomenon in post-war Spain who later cast off her Hayley Mills image to become a politically active adult actress.

Here she shares the screen with Jean Seberg, her mother in a film about the classic ‘man who popped out just to buy a packet of cigarettes,’ while a serial killer prowls the neighbourhood.

Javier, son of the film’s producer, Javier Armet of Anabel Films, said that shooting took place at ‘La Casa de la Baronesa,’ on the road from Comillas to La Rabia in the Parque Natural de Oyambre in Cantabria.

My Name is Nobody (1973)

Sergio Leone’s fetish actor Henry Fonda joins forces with Terence Hill in a western made mostly in the USA, although, as local expert Roberto Balboa informs, the railway scenes were shot in La Calahorra station, Granada, used by Leone in ‘Once Upon a Time in the West.’

Filming took place there in August 1973, and the line going up to the mines was used, as was the western township built next to the station.

It was here that the saloon scene with the drinking contest and whisky glass throwing and shooting scenes were shot.

Charge (1973)

Stephen Boyd stars in a western filmed all over Almería, and especially Tabernas, about stolen arms and whose only touch of originality is the appearance of a Muslim bounty hunter.

Simón Andreu is billed as Simon Andrew. He plays an evil bandit with a penchant for castration.

The film opens with Andreu’s men ambushing a military convoy in the Garganta de Alfaro.

When the doctor foolishly rescues Andreu from the fort, they ride across the dunes of Cabo de Gata.

Afterwards he visits a tavern to enjoy the owner’s wife. The tavern, from the outside anyway, is what is now the Western Leone theme park, built for Once upon a Time in the West.

Mad General Lopez’s HQ is located in the Cuevas de la Molineta.

The Legend of Blood Castle (1973)

This could easily become an advertisement for The Body Shop, as we are told the story of the sixteenth century Hungarian countess Erzsebet Bathory, who saved on gel by bathing in the blood of the 600 or so virgins that she borrowed in order to maintain her good looks.

Among the locations were Nuevo Baztán in the province of Madrid. Here we see people pouring into the Palacio de Goyeneche for a trial with a disinterred body of a vampire.

Palacio de Goyeneche

In the province of Segovia the castle at Castilnovo represented that of the Countess, although the deeds were done in Cajlice, a village in central Europe in 1807, or so we are informed.

Erzsebet’s murderous husband was played by Espartaco Santoni, who in real life had nine wives!

Castilnovo. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

This is a film with a message; if your father is crushed to death by a sarcophagus, leave him there; you never know what you’re going to release.

Set in Turkey, but filmed at La Roca, Barcelona and in Madrid among other places, the film was originally directed by Catalan Julio Salvador, who would die the following year, but finished by New Yorker Ray Danton.

Murder in a Blue World (1973)

Eloy de la Iglesia plays overt homage to Stanley Kubrick (who made part of Spartacus near Madrid) with his version of A Clockwork Orange, starring Chris (son of Robert) Mitchum.

Filming took place around Madrid and a lot of people died.

The Four Musketeers (1974)

They cheated a bit by releasing this as a separate film, although it was made at the same time as The Three Musketeers (Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay and Richard Chamberlain) and used Carboneras, Garrucha and Almería among other locations. The shooting in Almería included the landmark Alcázaba castle.

In Segovia Raquel Welch, D’Artagnan’s bit on the side, is held in the Alcázar castle, or at least we see its façade, and when rescued by the Musketeers, is taken to a convent, which is in fact (at least the façade) the Escorial royal palace, just outside Madrid.

However, when she escapes on stilts with the help of three of the Musketeers, she is in fact crossing the courtyard of the Christian part of the Alcazaba of Almería, quite a way away.

Our thanks to Carlos Martín, historian and cinema fan at the Alcazaba for this information.

Also in Madrid the tavern scenes were once more shot in the Cartuja at Talamanca de Jarama, an old monastery whose grounds have been used in many films.

The brief port scenes, including the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham (Simon Ward) and Milady’s return to France after plotting his demise, were shot at the dockside in Denia, Alicante.

For the scenes of the siege of La Rochelle, the beach scenes were shot at La Raset Beach to the north of the port of Denia. The British soldiers were in fact mostly Spanish soldiers from a regiment based in nearby Alcoy.

The beach scenes were cunningly merged in an early example of digital inserting with the castle and wall representing La Rochelle. When the boys light-heartedly assault La Rochelle, as an excuse for breaking their fast, they are in fact attacking the hilltop castle of Berlanga de Duero in the province of Soria.

Filming took place here in August 1973 and History student Roberto de Pablo showed us around the castle and the southern ramparts where the scenes of the Musketeers were shot in August 2015.

Roberto’s father, Jesús, who runs the Hotel Villa de Berlanga, was one of the extras who earned 150 pesetas a day to counter attack the Musketeers.

The Musketeers have their showdown with Rochefort and Milady at the Monastery of Uclés in Cuenca province, with fighting scenes in the exterior, the courtyard, the staircase and the chapel. The bits they burnt were only a set fortunately.

The remains of the castle are alongside the monastery, consisting of only a couple of towers.

The castle’s remains are seen twice in the film. After Constance (Raquel Welch) is freed from imprisonment; from what is, at least from the outside, the Alcazar of Segovia, she is galloped to the ‘convent’ of Uclés.

In the climax of the film, the Musketeers pass the castle in pursuit of Milady and Rochefort (Christopher Lee) and after some elementary besieging, put an end to both of them.

This humble IX century ruin has quite a tormented past. During the re-conquest, it was used by Jewish refugees facing expulsion in the 1490s.

In 1025, Muhammed III, briefly Calif of Cordoba, was poisoned here by his enemies as he fled an uprising, having himself done away with his predecessor and cousin Abderramán V.

In 1174 the knights of the Order of Santiago used it to house Arab prisoners.

In 1528 the castle was destroyed to help build the monastery that today dominates the town.

Uclés: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

At the end of the film, when the body count is completed and D’Artagnan, achieves a kind of reconciliation with Cardinal Richlieu, he leaves the Cardinal’s quarters and we see him among the arcades in the grounds of the Aranjuez palace.

What Changed Charley Farthing? (1974)

Another ‘man on the run’ film with Doug Maclure as Charley and Hayley Mills as always as herself with a different dress. Warren Mitchell also clocks up another Spanish film to add to his growing portfolio.

Although set in Cuba, Alicante was used to give that Caribbean feeling and the Castle of Santa Bárbara and the Arenales del Sol beach feature prominently.

Some scenes with a boat were shot at the beach and entrance to the harbour of Águilas, Murcia.

Stardust (1974)

Stardust was the follow up to ‘That’ll be the Day,’ which had starred seventies teen-idol David Essex and Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

It’s more or less the story of John Lennon (he is abandoned by his father and then abandons his wife and son and takes up with a French version of Yoko Ono) and Jim Morrison (drug abuse and haircut) mixed into one working class hero rock star who experiences first the pleasure and then the pain of being a living legend, until the pain wins, in Spain.

Attempting to get away from the downside of the rock and roll industry, Jim Maclaine (Essex) withdraws to his own castle in Spain, which is in fact La Calahorra in the province of Granada, a curious reddish coloured building on a small knoll above the village whose beauty is recognised during the film in different aerial shots.

He turns it into his own isolated paradise, even installing a pinball machine in the impressive cloister, a Renaissance colonnaded courtyard with carved marble features, etching out a carefree existence with the able assistance of some colourful local peasants.

Also featured in the film, although it is supposed to be Bermuda, is the famous Marbella Club Hotel in Málaga home of the international jet-set since its creation in 1946 by Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe.

The hotel is used in the scenes where David Essex is hanging around poolside listening to his owner/manager Larry Hagman (JR in ‘Dallas’) informing him that he must play endless concerts and write endless songs while Procol Harem’s ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ is something in the air.

The following dinner party has Essex walking out in a huff, consoled by his friend (Adam Faith stepping in for Ringo) on the wooden beach pier that is such a well known part of the hotel.

There is a giveaway Spanish flag which can be seen at one point during the scene, proving, if you didn’t already know, that it wasn’t Bermuda.

In the end Essex overdoses on live TV and is rushed to hospital, pursued by a Television Española TV crew, dying with the beautiful snow-topped mountains of Sierra Nevada in the background.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

There seems to be no end to the tales of the exotic east featuring Sinbad, and no finer location than exotic Spain. On this occasion the Caves of Artà, Mallorca, where the first scenes were shot on 19th June 1972, were once again employed, as was the Torrent de Parais.

The caves were used to house the temple of the Oracle, whereas the fight between the dragon and the Cyclops was filmed at Torrent. In this scene Sinbad is pursued through the caves and the fight ends on the Canyamel beach.

The mountain scenes were filmed at La Pedriza, Madrid, and the castle of Koura was that of Manzanares el Real. Many of the boat scenes were also shot using plaster boats in the same mountains when it wasn’t necessary to see the sea; reflecting the tight limits of cash and time (eight weeks for the whole film!)

Manzanares el Real. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The original intention of using the Alhambra Palace in Granada was also changed for financial reasons, and instead the Pueblo Español of Mallorca, which was built in the mid sixties by the architect Fernando Chueca Goitia, was used for many scenes.

Like the one in Barcelona, the Pueblo Español is a kind of theme park where many famous Spanish buildings and monuments have been rebuilt. For this reason the film makers show Sevilla’s Torre de Oro in the opening scene, the city walls of Cáceres, the Torres de Arias Dávila of Segovia, past which Sinbad rides on his horse, the Puerta de Toledo of Ciudad Real, where Koyra tries to enter the city, the steps of the Gothic Palace of Barcelona where the provincial government (Diputación) is housed, the steps of the Town Hall of Vergara, and the main squares (Plazas Mayor) of Templeque, Navalcarnero and Chinchón, all without actually leaving Palma de Mallorca.

Surprisingly; or not, it was his performance in this film that landed Tom Baker his role as Doctor Who.

The Spikes Gang (1974)

A veteran Lee Marvin (well, he always was a veteran, really, wasn’t he?) starred in yet another film shot primarily at Tabernas, Almería, and with township scenes at Fort Bravo-Texas Hollywood cowboy town and the train station at Gérgal.

Fort Bravo

Some of the earlier scenes with darker soil and slightly lusher vegetation were shot in that other home on the range; Colmenar Viejo near Madrid.

Two rising film stars, Ron Howard and Charlie Martin Smith (best known as the ‘Untouchable’ accountant who got touched in the lift) play young kids who dream of becoming bank robbers.

The film has some beautiful, even poetic moments, such as when Lee tempts the boys to a life of crime by informing them that the leather in his boots is as soft as butter. Now who could resist that?

And then there were None (1974)

Although most of the interiors and exteriors were shot at the Shah Abbas Hotel Isfahan in Iran, this adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel had desert scenes provided by Cabo de Gata, Almería, where a model of the hotel was built in the dunes.

The ‘borrowed’ Egyptian ruins of the ‘Templo de Debod,’ were mixed in with the Iranian images using a low placed camera looking upwards so that it was not obvious that the ruins are located in the Parque de la Montaña in central Madrid, not miles away from civilisation in the desert of Iran.

The temple is not the original donated by President Nasser in 1968 but even so, it has its very own ghost, in this case a black cat that is really the Egyptian God Amun (also known as Amon, Ammon, Amen and Amun-Ra). Well, they are supposed to have at least seven lives!

Debod Temple. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The cast included Oliver Reed, Richard Attenborough and Herbert Lom, plus Orson Welles’ voice.

Blood Money/ The Stranger and the Gunfighter (1974)

Lee Van Cleef is the star of this film made when the TV series ‘Kung Fu’, starring David Carradine was at the height of its success.

One of a series of Chop Suey Westerns, like ‘Red Sun’, also made in Spain, where the producers try to cash in on martial arts in a sort of double whammy hype.

At La Calahorra, Granada, as is so often the case, the station was used, and all the train scenes were shot using the legendary Babwil 140-2054 steam train.

This film has some original moments, mostly involving tattooed female buttocks. Presumably, if hillocks are small hills, buttocks must be small butts!

Another splendid moment, possibly a hiatus in cinema history, occurs when Lee Van Cleef manages to unhorse four virile riders with some bunting…..twice!

The malicious, Bible-quoting preacher with the mobile church is also a triumph of the imagination over the ludicrous.

Filming took place between 8th April and 22nd June 1974 starting at the western township of Daganzo and the nearby Madrid-70 studios.

Filming also took place in Almería (El Fraile, El Condor, Salinillas and Mini Hollywood), whereas the scenes in China were actually filmed in Hong Kong.

Our thanks once again to Roberto Balboa from Guadix for his help with this information.

Touch Me Not (1974)

Lee Remick visited Barcelona to make this thriller, set in an office block, trying to evade the attentions of the serial killer after her blood.

Watch Out, We’re Mad (1974)

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill entertain once more with the usual humorous violence, this time with the action taking place in Madrid.

The Toledo bridge (Puente de Toledo) with its giant statues dating from 1732 can be seen as a background to the site where Bud Spencer has his workshop, and much of the area used for shooting was located near the Vicente Calderón stadium, home to Atletico de Madrid Football Club, which can be seen next to the fairground. Much of the area is now under the new M 30 motorway.

Donald Pleasance adds a touch of class with a reasonable ‘Doctor Strangelove’ imitation.

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

Although set in northern England, some of the work was done at Estudios Cinearte, Madrid, and Robledo de Chavela, Madrid.

It may be the first film in a new genre; Eco-Horror, seeing as how the return to life of the dead is provoked by nasty pesticides.

The House of the Damned (1974)

An interesting minor horror film made in Asturias at Celoriu (Llanes), and at Niembro with its famous church and sailors’ graveyard on the beach,


where Carmen Sevilla lives in the film, as well as San Pedro de Ambás, Tazones and Villaviciosa, where the Monasterio de Santa María de Valdediós represented the psychiatric hospital, while the meadow scenes were shot around the Palacio de Bedriñana.

Monasterio de Santa María de Valdediós

Although a Spanish production, it starred Donald Pleasance as the villain in search of a treasure that only the mute girl knows the whereabouts of.

B Must Die (1974)

Another Spanish film made in English and starring Burgess Meredith and Patricia Neal, directed by José Luis Borau.

Set in a South American country, it tells the story of a plot to assassinate a popular leader, with shooting on the streets of Madrid and the port of Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra.

Open Season (1974)

William Holden and Peter Fonda star in a film about Vietnam veterans who keep in touch by kidnapping and hunting human prey in the woods.

Some studio work was done in Estudios Roma, and exteriors were filmed in Aranjuez, and the motorway at Villalba, and San Martín de Valdeiglesias, all in Madrid,

Some shooting, and some filming, also took place in Segovia.

Simón Andreu appears as a barman.

Get Mean (1975)

This film was made in the same year that its screen writer, Lloyd Battista, who also plays Sombra, appeared in Woody Allen’s Love and Death. The film zig zags between the ridiculous and the comical, but includes some of Spain’s finest locations.

Almería locations included Desierto de Tabernas, La Alcazaba and El Condor Fort, which is Sombra’s brother Diego’s fortress.

In the opening scene a horse drags Tony Anthony along the Rambla Indalecio and into a ghost town, the Poblado del Fraile, now known as Oasys.

Here he has his first tussle with the barbarians, and according to the convenient map flashed across the screen, takes the Princess to Spain, where we see them riding along the Mónsul beach.

They ride past Segovia’s Alcázar, but it is while riding into La Alcazaba of Almería that the Princess explains to Anthony that Rodrigo’s treasure was once kept there.

Almost immediately they are among the boulders of La Pedriza, Madrid; quite a round trip!

They see the barbarian and Moorish armies squaring up for a battle, although it is suddenly transferred to the dunes of Cabo de Gata, Almería.

After the battle the victorious barbarians leave Anthony dangling and retire to the Condor fort to celebrate, while Anthony is rescued and rides through the medieval streets of Pedraza (Segovia) to take refuge in the castle of Manzanares El Real (Madrid).

After doing a deal he rides off to a small country church, but once inside we see a ceremony taking place among the columns of the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca in the city of Toledo.

Another deal is hatched and Anthony rides off alone to and inside El Escorial Palace in Madrid, where he admires the ceiling frescos. Here things get a bit silly as he fights skeletons and turns into a wolf.

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El Escorial

He enters a cave, where an explosion turns him black, and then suddenly he is facing an angry bull among the rock formations of Cuenca’s Ciudad Encantada.

Back to the cave to collect the treasure and then he returns to the synagogue to face the equally angry barbarians.

Everyone troops back to El Condor for some torch-light parading with multiple extras.

Anthony receives some unexpected help and escapes a roasting and the evil brothers ride into Pedraza again to threaten an old man.

Strapping on the dynamite, Anthony returns to El Condor and takes on the barbarian army. Obviously he wins as Lloyd goes down quoting Shakespeare, and then he rides across the snowy peaks of Navacerrada, Madrid.

Thank God he had a good map.

The House of Exorcism (1975)

Although filmed mostly in Italian studios, there is a lovely shot of Toledo cathedral, where American tourist Elke Sommer sees a fresco depicting the Devil, and then speeds off to a small shop to confirm that it is indeed Telly Savalas.

Toledo Cathedral

She is then possessed and taken to hospital, there to use language unusually graphic for the time, until finally only toads come out of her mouth.

At the same time she, or a version of her, is wandering the streets of Toledo, where, after passing through one of the city’s Arab arches, she is confronted by a man that she accidentally kills, while behind her we can see the battlements of the castle of San Sevrando.

San Sevrando Castle. Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

The Land that Time Forgot (1975)

The film that out-Juraissiced ‘Jurassic Park’ and brought dinosaurs back to life on the volcanic wastelands of the Canary Islands, amongst scenery where time does indeed stand still.

Most of the filming was done on La Palma island with some additional shots on Tenerife, although the Scottish island of Skye, taking a holiday from all that rain and rain, makes a guest appearance at the beginning and end of the film.

It’s 1916 and the war in Europe reaches the ocean when a ship is torpedoed, and after killing each other off for a bit, the British and Germans band together against the rubber dinosaurs and primitive men with dirty faces.

On discovering the bewildering complexity of life on the land that time forgot, most of which was believed to be extinct, they start to extinguish as much of it as they can before the volcanos have their say and set us up for part two, ‘The People That Time Forgot.’

Secondary characters are eliminated at a steady pace leaving a modern day Adam and Eve to hurl their message in a bottle into the icy waters.

Impressive scenery, although a lot of it is to be found in small boxes in Shepperton Studios.

Three for All (1975)

Clever title, eh? Free for all!

Not the best British film about a rock band and their girlfriends. The boys go on a tour of Spain and their girls follow but never meet up.

They arrive at Málaga airport and are then bussed to PlayaMar, a tourist complex near Torremolinos.

High rise buildings, crowded beaches and lots of shops and bars, only compensated by cameo appearances of some of the best of British secondary actors.

The Passenger (1975)

The film features a youthful Jack Nicholson and a sultry Maria Schneider, just after Marlon Brando got his clutches into her (or whatever it was he got into her and which seemed so painful) in ‘Last Tango In Paris.’

Nicholson plays a journalist who exchanges his identity with a dead man and sets off on a journey to ‘find himself’ or lose himself, or whatever it is you do when in the full thrall of angst.

Many cruel people unfairly claim that very little actually happens in Antonioni films. This is patently untrue. People get up, sit down again and go for lots of long walks. There is also ample staring and waiting.

Antonioni’s original idea was to have Maria Schneider drive Nicholson around Spain to keep the appointments he’d found in the diary of the dead man, who turns out to be an arms salesman. Unfortunately Schneider couldn’t drive

Schneider is supposedly an architecture student in the film, and she takes Nicholson to see some Gaudí architecture. They meet in the Palau Güell lobby, and then visit the roof of La Pedrera in the Paseo de Grácia.

La Pedrera Roof

Nicholson also rambles along Barcelona’s famous La Rambla, when it still sold birds in cages and flowers instead of tacky souvenirs, and before it was infested by mime artists. At one point he runs into a shoe-shine shop; not an institution that exists today in this modern, 21st century city.

He stays in the Hotel Oriente in La Rambla, and the hotel receptionist turns out to be suave, French-speaking Joan Gaspart, ex-President of Barcelona Football Club. Gaspart’s family owned the hotel at the time.

The sprawling Ciudadela Park, where Barcelona’s zoo is located, can also be seen, and inside the park is the botanic garden, the Umbracle, where Nicholson keeps an appointment discovered in the dead man’s diary, and meets an old man, who speaks excellent English and expresses simplistic philosophy.


They leave Barcelona, in theory heading south, although in reality they first head to Girona province, to the fortified city of Hostalric, parking in front of their hotel, which in reality was La Fortelesa restaurant, now closed. The impressive castle, where the scene was shot, is open to visitors, although the part they used was the Caballero building and Patio de Armas (Parade Ground), which can be visited for free.

After Barcelona the film crew travelled for scenes in the streets and orange groves of Almería, where Schneider has her little moment of temperament near the village of Rioja, before moving to Málaga. Further sequences were shot in Sevilla before the unit then crossed the Mediterranean to the Algerian desert, which doubled for the African state of Chad.

Nicholson is finally murdered by agents from an African government in a hotel room in Vera, a village in Almería province. The hotel was a set constructed next to the bullring, and was built to open out so that the final 360 degree shot could be made when Jack Nicholson gets shot.

The bullring is a remarkably subtle symbol of death, and if you visit it today you can chat to Paco, who claims to appear in the film, although he’s much more interested in selling you souvenirs at 5 euros a shot.

The hotel owner makes Basil Fawlty look friendly and the town is one of many bleak-looking places which contrast with the luxurious hotels and restaurants that they had frequented until then, which is probably meant to make a point; that it’s better not to leave the hotel poolside when you go on holiday in Spain if you don’t want to be murdered, or arrested by Spanish policemen who wear crash helmets when they drive a car.

His wife is also chasing Nicholson during the film, although she thinks he’s someone else (as wives tend to do) and she almost catches him at a hotel, from which he speeds away in a car. The hotel in question is the Costa Sol in Almería’s Paseo de Almería. The car can be seen hurtling through Puerta Purchena, El Paseo, Plaza Circular and the Nicolás Salmerón Park.

The scene where they arrive at a church in a strange ‘new’ town (built in the 60s to promote agriculture) was filmed at El Solanillo near Roquetas de Mar.

Today the Town Hall has reformed the area to make it appear as it did when the film was made. Although the bleakness has been replaced by lush vegetation, the church steeple, clock and fountain have all been returned to their original state.

Nicholson and Schneider stayed at the Hotel Meliá Aguadulce (now Senator Playa Dulce), where they were neither shot nor treated especially badly, and Nicholson loved the film so much that he eventually bought the rights.

The hotel has a corridor that is an eerie reminder of another of Nicholson’s films. Now which one was it?

The Wind and the Lion (1975)

Even though a lot of the action, centring around the aggressive foreign policy of President Theodore Roosevelt, takes place supposedly in the USA, only Spanish locations were used in the making of the film.

Even the sacred White House is none other than the elegant games room of the Hotel Palace in Madrid, built in 1912 by order of King Alfonso XIII and situated just across the road from the Spanish Parliament.

The White House? Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

Furthermore, Yellowstone Park, where Roosevelt shoots a Grizzly Bear and later has it stuffed and displayed in the White House, is in reality Boca del Asno, Segovia.

We see the macho President boxing and practising on the rifle range or shooting the breeze with his bow and arrow, although the shooting was shot on an estate near Aranjuez and the boxing, rowing and archery took place in El Retiro, one of Madrid’s most important parks.

Moreover, the scene where Roosevelt campaigns from the back platform of a train, was filmed in Las Delicias Railway Museum in Madrid.

For the rest of the film, the Moroccan parts used scenery and cities from Andalusia. El Raisuli (Connery) has his headquarters in the austere Moorish castle at La Calahorra in Granada province, while his enemy the Sultan holes up in the Reales Alcazázares Palace in Sevilla amidst the splendour of an Arabic architecture. The polo match too was played in one of its courtyards.

The Alcazaba, representing Tangiers in the film, is usually more associated with war than with chess; however, when Sheik Sean Connery takes on his hostage Candice Bergen at the game, sparks do indeed fly.

Hollywood does its crazy thing in this game as, when we see Connery, the walls of the Alcazaba are looming behind him, whereas when Bergen appears, it is the castle of La Calahorra, Granada, that we see.

Various deserted Almería beaches are used, such as Mónsul and Genoveses, as well as the dunes of Cabo de Gata, where the battle sequences take place at the 18th century Castillo of San Felipe, built by King Carlos III at the fossil beach at Punta del Esparto near Los Escullos.

The battle between the American forces and the Sultan’s unprepared bodyguards is enacted in front of the façade of the old ‘Museo de las Artes y Costumbres Populares’ in Plaza de las Americas in Sevilla, built for the Latin American Exhibition of 1929 as the Pavilion of Industrial Arts in the Mudejar style.

The film itself borders on the ridiculous, with Connery’s men starting off as the baddies, massacring Candice Bergen’s staff in an orgy of destruction, even murdering a poor, native servant who attempts to serve the wine despite the annoying dagger sticking out of his back.

Ok, so they had to ride a long way uphill to Candice Bergen’s house admittedly, so they were probably peeved; but no more so than the citizens of Almería’s Al Medina district, up through which they fearlessly rode.

The house, when they finally reach it was El Chalet de los Góngora, situated in the north west of Almería in the Rambla de Belén; abandoned at the time and refurbished for the film.

Twenty US Marines were used in the making of this picture, as were a number of Special Forces troops from the Spanish army.

The Marine assault on Tangier was filmed over the course of several weeks. The scenes, where the ‘American’ soldiers run in formation towards the Bashaw’s Palace, scattering frightened locals, were filmed in Almería and Sevilla. Almería was also the location of the American Consulate, which was in fact the city’s Casino, as well as La Casa Rosa at Rioja.

The American Consulate

Almería also provided the German Consulate, in the guise of the Banco Español de Crédito in Paseo Almería.

German Consulate

The final showdown, a curious battle between Connery’s Berbers allied with the Americans who had engineered a coup d’état in Morocco, fighting against a German army, whose presence is never really explained, but who are clearly the genuine baddies, in league with the Sultan’s remaining unmassacred men, took place at the ‘Aqaba’ set, which had been constructed years ago for the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ at Algorocibo beach, Almería.

The plot of the film was loosely based on a historical incident; the kidnapping of Ion Perdicaris, an American expatriate living in Tangier. For romantic purposes, Perdicaris was changed into an attractive woman with two children. Director John Milius gave himself a cameo as a machine gun manufacturer in a scene with the Sultan, played by Marc Zuber.

Once is not Enough (1975)

The plot at least was ahead of its time, with adultery and lesbianism to the forefront in a film starring Kirk Douglas 15 years after he’d filmed ‘Spartacus’ in Spain.

In Málaga province the Club Marbella was used simultaneously with the crew of ‘Stardust.’

It is in Málaga that Kirk seduces a rich serial divorcee in order to give himself and his daughter the kind of life he thinks they should be used to.

First we see him walking one half of two dogs in the marina of Puerto Banús, and then they are looking at a postcard of the hilltop village of Casares while the real thing is right behind them.


Take a Hard Ride (1975)

It could have been just another Spaghetti western, with Lee Van Kleef, Jim Brown and Dana Andrews, except that this one was shot not in Almería, but in the volcanic wastelands of the Canary Islands, with the role of Abilene, Texas taken by the Sioux City western theme park on Gran Canaria island.

As well as Gran Canaria, filming also took place on Lanzarote, where scenes were shot at El Golfo, Laguna Verde (where the first ambush takes place), Guatiza and Timanfaya.

On Tenerife the Parque Nacional del Teide appears, specifically as Van Kleef rides away after a tense meeting with Brown and Williamson, pausing by the iconic Roques de Garcia.

After the woman sacrifices herself, they meet up with the mute Indian on the famous Maspalomas dunes.

Breakout (1975)

Starring Charles Bronson, Randy Quaid, Robert Duvall and John Huston, and inevitably set in Mexico, but filmed in California, France and Spain.

Based on a true story of a prison escape, which is why the Mexican government didn’t allow filming there.

The Adolescents (1975)

A young Spanish girl goes to an English boarding school; an excuse for another of Jess Franco’s soft porn film, shot in English, then dubbed into Spanish and later released in English, redubbing the British actors with Spanish dub artists; a lot of hard work for nothing.

The saving grace is the presence of a young Anthony Andrews before he played Sebastian in ‘Brideshead Revisited.’ In this film he is likewise innocent (sort of) and doomed.

The Spanish location for a film, shot mainly in London, was Lo Pagan, Murcia. It is from here that the young girl heads for London as the tourist season winds up, driving off in a coach along the beach.

Zorro (1975)

Stanley Baker’s last film, although Alain Delon played the leading role in this Italian production. Baker would in fact return to Málaga, where he had a villa, to die in 1976 in the Carlos Haya Hospital.

The beginning of the film was shot in Lanzarote, the middle around Madrid in Aldea del Fresno, for the fishing scenes, Nuevo Baztán (Nueva Aragon in the film), Robledo de Chabela and La Pedriza, and the final scene where Delon says his farewells, in Almería.

Several scenes take place in Nuevo Baztán’s Plaza del Mercado, where we see Zorro interrupting a whipping, and armed with only his own whip, disarming a whole platoon of soldiers. All these scenes with the downtrodden peasants take place around Nuevo Baztán’s Palacio Goyeneche, and it’s curious that they consider Zorro a hero, considering that he destroys half of their hard earned produce while fighting the soldiers.

Plaza del Mercado

His dog later one ups him by dismounting a whole troop of cavalry with just a few barks among the rocky scenery of La Pedriza.

The mine scenes were shot nearby at Canto del Berrueco.

The castle scenes, where Zorro interrupts Hortensia’s unwanted wedding and finally gives villainous Stanley Baker his just desserts, is the frequently employed Viñuelas castle with its chapel, just outside Madrid, which serves as the Governor’s home, with frequent scenes filmed both inside and out.


Cry Onion! (1975)

Weird title, weird film starring Franco Nero, Sterling Hayden and Martin Balsam.

Nero is called ‘Onion’ in the film and eats a lot of them.

Once again the desert scenery around Tabernas (Almería) was used, including Llano Trujillo, Cautivo, Lanújar and Cortijo Genaro.

The oil rigs were built in Poblado El Fraile (now the Oasys western theme park).

For the Hotel Paradise the Daganzo western township in Madrid was used, and in nearby Nuevo Baztán, the Peacock Inn. The flour factory was at Talamanca.

Thanks to José Enrique Martínez for all this information.

José Enrique

Robin and Marian (1976)

Sherwood Forest’s theme park would today probably detract from the area’s authenticity, and even in the mid seventies Richard Lester chose the unspoilt Orgi wood, an 80-hectare oak grove more than 4,000 years old, now a Recreational Nature Zone, to portray Sherwood Forest.

On our visit to the park we saw a tree that looked suspiciously like the one that Denholm Elliott and Ronnie Barker fall out of onto the Sheriff’s men, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Lester commented that the area looked like everyone’s idea of what England looked like in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The glades among the oaks where Robin acts out his second childhood do indeed seem to be as idyllic and halcyon as an English country beer garden.

In Lisazo we met Manolo el Herrero (the Blacksmith), whose father and grandfather had indeed exercised that profession. Manolo was one of many local people who turned up looking for work and glory, and who was chosen to be Sean Connery’s stand-in for when the scenes were being prepared.

Although most of his time was spent with Audrey Hepburn’s stand-in, he did once get to sit down with the lady herself, and witnessed the strange fact that when she washed her hands, it was with bottled mineral water.

Some of the crew stayed at Lisazo’s Posada (Inn), which is now closed.

Sherwood was in fact played by two different forests in Navarra, the mountainous Quinto Real, on the way north to Roncesvalles, was also employed, particularly when Robin and John are watching King Richard’s funeral procession.

The procession passes through an arid area, which is in reality a magnesium quarry five kilometres from Eugui in the Valley of Esteribar.

Nottingham is in fact the Navarra village of Artajona, with a little bit of extra work by the production team to give it a suitably ‘lived in’ feel. Robin and Little John ride there on a stolen cart through a vineyard, which is still there today, in order to rescue some kidnapped nuns, killing an excessive number of the Sheriff’s men on the spectacular battlements.


We were escorted around Artajona by Town Hall employees Soco and Daniel, who generously showed us the imposing skyline from inside, outside and in all kinds of light and floodlight.

We were also introduced to some of the local people who participated in the making of the film, such as octogenarian Jerusalen Jurio, who explained to us how she had been one of ‘Nottingham’s’ market vendors, peeling the skin from a rabbit as though taking off a glove.

The castle besieged incompetently by Robin (Sean Connery) at the beginning and then pillaged irrationally by a psychotic King Richard (Richard Harris) was in reality Villalonso Castle in Zamora province.

Villalonso: Photo Courtesy Mark Yareham

Richard pays the price for his blood thirst when an old man ‘throws’ an arrow into his neck, causing his death the following day during a banquet held quite far away in the Palacio de Capitania, which is now the General Archive building of Navarra in Pamplona.

On our visit to the Archive we were shown around by Peio Monteano, who was well aware of the building’s movie use, having himself shown his in-laws from Wisconsin around the various local locations of the film.

I don’t know whether or not director Richard Lester knew that the Palace had originally belonged to Sancho el Sabio (the Wise), Richard Lionheart’s real life father-in-law, and that the display room representing the palace where Richard dies bears Sancho’s name, but it seemed too good a coincidence to be coincidence.

The famous, sensuous Spanish actress Victoria Abril plays Queen Isabella, King John’s child queen who occasionally isn’t thinking about sex, and Audrey Hepburn plays Marian, who gave up the life of the flesh when Robin left her and is willing to give up everything for him, even his life. Hepburn proved her impractical nature by driving a horse and cart laden with nuns into a river during filming, a genuine accident that remained in the film.

The river in question is the one that now surrounds the camp site at Urrobi, just south of Roncesvalles, where we were told by two local people that shooting took place.

Marian’s ‘Abbey’ was constructed especially for the film at the Urbasa mountain range, to the north west of Pamplona, where the final battle scene also took place.

Local expert Balbino García de Albizu informed us of the exact location of Hepburn’s convent, which was built at the Alto de Aranzaduia. This can be reached by taking the road from Zudaire on the southern side of the range, and at the top taking the left turn towards Vitoria for a couple of kilometres. It’s situated on the right.

Connery and Hepburn developed a close friendship during filming, and even attended the bull running at Pamplona’s San Fermín festival in July 1975.

Voyage of the Damned (1976)

Filmed in Barcelona, this was a less adventurous version of ‘Exodus’ with a ship load of refugees trying to escape Nazi Germany.

Orson Welles, Malcolm MacDowell and Faye Dunnaway star in a wetter version of ‘Schindler’s List,’ with the port of Barcelona co-starring as Havana.

Most of the film takes place on the boat, although ashore in Havana (Barcelona) we do get a glimpse of the Plaza Real of Barcelona through a café doorway as Ben Gazarra negotiates a way out for the Jewish passengers.

The cast stayed at the Barcelona Ritz Hotel.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1976)

Kenneth More stars in a version of the Jules Verne classic, filmed all over Spain, and especially in Tenerife, where the volcanic scenery lends credence, although not very much, to the idea of entering a volcano, walking to the centre of the Earth and fending off dinosaurs.

Filming also took place in Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park, where you can imagine dinosaurs feeling very much at home.

Also included was some footage shot in the spectacular caves known as ‘Gruta de las Maravillas’ (Marvels) at Aracena in the province of Huelva.

Spanish Fly (1976)

A British comedy with some classic comedians such as Leslie Phillips and Terry Thomas. Phillips is sent to Menorca by his wife to perk him up, and discovers an aphrodisiac that does just that; hence the title.

In the opening scene we ride through the streets of old Mahón on our way to Banco Balear, which in reality is the Town Hall. One of the streets we cross on the way is the clearly signposted Calle Hannover, a tribute to the British occupation and the Hannover Kings of the UK.

The Menorca distillery, Destilerías Xoriguer, was the scene of the crime where Terry Thomas (Sir Percy) and his chauffeur try to turn bad wine into something potable.

Some scenes were shot in the Hotel del Almirante, also known as Collingwood House because Nelson’s right hand man once stayed there.

According to the manager Enrique Pons the film crew spent the whole summer lodged at and filming in and around the hotel, and the hotel staff prepared and delivered the crew’s lunches to the sets during the day, while the actors usually had their breakfasts and suppers in the hotel dining room.

The red painted building represents not only Sir Percy’s house, high up on a hill flying the Union Jack, but also the hotel where Phillips is staying for the garden, swimming pool and interior scenes.

The hotel management still have an original script and clapperboard from the film.

The docks of Calas Fonts and Mahón port also appear. Calas Fonts is where Thomas and Phillips meet, at the Bar Trebol on the dockside, and where the final wild party also takes place. The bar, open since 1969, is now one of the area’s most popular seafood restaurants, situated at Moll de Cales Fonts 43 at the harbour of es Castell with views of the port of Mahón.

Current owner Damian Olives Houdret told us: “although I hadn’t been born when the film was made, I’ve heard many amusing stories about it all my life. Probably the best one was that during the shooting, the cast and crew got through so many soft drinks and Gin and Tonics that my parents made enough money to buy the ‘cave’ next door and build a decent kitchen.”

One reason for using Cales Fonts was that Flint Shipman, one of the producers, used to holiday in Menorca and was a regular customer at Bar Trebol.

The cliff caves, where one of the photo shoots takes place above the sea, and where Phillips signs the contract buying the wine, are in fact Cova d’en Xoroi or Caves Xoroi, which are a daytime bar and nightime disco.

Located on the southern coast of Menorca at Cala’n Porter, this spectacular viewpoint is an especially attractive location to watch the sun set.

Mahón Airport is also briefly seen when Phillips arrives on the island and meets the four girls, including an Australian girl called Bruce, something that may or may not have inspired Monty Python.

The Story of David (1976)

And once again David beats Goliath in injury time. Young David is played by Timothy Bottoms and King Saul by Anthony Quayle. Jane Seymour also takes part.

This two part film shows David as a young and later as an old man. The first part was shot in Israel, while the second was filmed in Almería, where Keith Mitchell played David.

The old El Condor fort was remodelled for its adaptation as a much older castle, and the much older Alcazaba palace in Almería capital became Jerusalem.

We see the Alcazaba as David’s men, all five of them, storm the walls, in a film seriously short of extras, and later he arrives, apparently in his pyjamas, for some Dervish-like swirling celebrations.

Later David starts his decline into sin, starting with a young girl who berates him about her pregnancy as he reclines with soothing views of the walls and battlements.

During the last 50 minutes of the film, as David declines further, events unfold, and are seen from above and below the backdrop of the battlements.

According to film expert Juan José Carrasco, the caves of Guadix in Granada province were also used.

Island of the Damned (1976)

An English couple try to enjoy a pleasant stay in a Spanish seaside resort and find themselves in the middle of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds,’ except that our feathered friends are children.

At first they visit the imaginary town of Benavis, situated south of Tarragona according to the map they are shown. They are in fact in Sitges, near Barcelona, where they experience the town’s noisy fiestas, including a Chinese style dragon and fireworks, which gets them longing for the ‘peaceful’ island of Almanzora.

In Sitges, local cinema expert Francesc Borderia informed us that scenes were filmed in the charming little streets called San Joan and Bosc in the historic centre.

San Joan

The town scenes of Almanzora were filmed in Ciruelos, Toledo, more than 250 miles from the coast, although the location is supposed to be an island, while the harbour scenes were shot at Almuñécar, Granada.

In the summer of 2012 I visited Ciruelos to find out if the children continued to pursue people in the streets.

The town has modernised somewhat and the original inn where the English couple seek accommodation has been demolished and replaced by a modern house on the corner of Calles Relojero and Moral.

When the couple first arrive on the island they take refuge in a small bar, which still provides much of the social life in the main square, Plaza de España.

At the Town Hall I was introduced to some people who remembered the filming, and particularly Vicente Sanchez Villareal who retains a series of photos that he took.

The film, by Spanish director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, opens with documentary footage from the Holocaust and other conflicts where children have been ill treated, and was originally intended to star Anthony Hopkins. In Spanish it’s called ‘Who would kill a Child?’

Blue Jeans and Dynamite (1976)

Robert Vaughn, he of ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ stars in this art heist thriller made in Spain and Venezuela, and also known as ‘Three Way Split’ and ‘Double Cross’.

Spanish regular, rivalled only by Fernando Rey, Simón Andreu stars too as an indebted would be playboy.

The Estudios Madrid 70, Daganzo, Madrid, were used for the scenes where a cowboy film is being made using the western township.

Filming of the yacht scenes took place in and around the marina at Mataró, Barcelona.

The Four Feathers (1977)

Here we have yet another version of an old story about a soldier proving his worth by suicidal bravery following accusations of cowardice. Although set in the Sudan, the desert scenery around Tabernas, Almería was as good as it gets when portraying the endless aridity of East Africa.

The castle of San Andrés in Carboneras was used for the prison scenes, while in Polopos the scenes showing the escape of a column of prisoners were shot, mainly in Calle Almarza y Real.

San Andrés Castle

The XVI century castle of San Andrés is located in the centre of the town of Carboneras. In fact, the castle’s construction gave birth to the town, which grew around it.

In 1559, King Felipe II ordered the Marqués del Carpio to build the castle in order to defend that part of the coast from Berber attacks and Morisco uprisings.

It has been totally restored and is now a centre for all kinds of cultural activities, especially in the summer when the town receives many visitors.

There is an extensive photographic exhibition showing the history of Carboneras, which includes photos from ‘Four Feathers’ and Richard Lester’s ‘How I Won the War’.

A statue of questionable taste or accuracy, allegedly of Lawrence of Arabia, which was filmed nearby, can be seen next to the castle.

In Las Salinillas there was a battle between Dervishers and British troops and, inevitably, the dunes of Cabo de Gata provided the sand.

Beau Bridges plays the Beau Geste role, backed up by Robert Powell, Simon Ward and Jane Seymour.

Las Salinillas

Valentino (1977)

If it’s thighs you’re looking for then Rudolph Nureyev’s are pretty impressive, particularly when wrapped naked around one of his leading ladies in this Ken Russell extravaganza.

The Russian ballet dancer’s attempt to branch out into films was moderately successful and brought a new yardstick to drunken staggering that he made look more elegant than this ancient pastime had ever looked before.

Almería steps in easily for the deserts around Hollywood, where Nureyev performs extracts from the films of Valentino in silent classics such as ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ (at El Barranquete, Níjar) or ‘The Sheik’ (on the dunes of Cabo de Gata).

Scenes from ‘Blood and Sand’ were shot in Almería’s bullring and the Mini Hollywood western township’s saloon was the location of his tango dance.

The Mini Hollywood (or Oasys) Western set was used for Valentino’s argument with the studio boss Jesse Lasky, whose office is transported all the way to Barcelona Zoo, where it is built around the cage holding the legendary albino gorilla ‘Snowflake’ (Copito de Nieve).


June and George visit Lasky because Valentino has been imprisoned for bigamy. When they leave his office, the façade is the church at S’Agaró.

The gorilla seemed to resent the intrusion, although he remained the large, rambling zoo’s most popular attraction until his death in 2003.

They stayed in Catalonia to do the beach scene at the Costa Brava beach at Sa Conca, Girona, where Valentino and his wife negotiate an advertising deal with a patron.

Furthermore, the beach at Sant Pol served as Santa Monica beach in the 20s.

The real Valentino lived in Spain, in a house at Cala Fornells, one of the beaches next to Peguera in Mallorca.

He lived in a chalet called ‘Ca na Tacha’ with his wife, the dancer Natacha Rambowa. It was the first building constructed at the cove in 1926.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

This version used some familiar locations in Almería, such as the city’s port, the Genoveses beach and Cabo de Gata, although one of the opening scenes, showing Sinbad’s arrival at Charnak uses the famous city wall of Ávila, at the base of which Sinbad and his cohorts learn about the evil doings inside the city.

Once inside the city however, we are transported to Toledo, where the aborted coronation of the Caliph takes place in the 12th century Synagogue of Santa María La Blanca in Calle Reyes Católicos, a reconverted Mosque, reminiscent of Córdoba’s, with thirty two pilasters, with its capitals decorated with carved pineapples and rhomboidal scrolls.

The film is perhaps most memorable because of famous offspring; Patrick Wayne and Taryn Power, son and daughter of John Wayne and Tyrone Power.

Ray Harryhausen’s monsters are undoubtedly the highlight in one of a half dozen films in which they were used in Spain. I especially like the creatures that attack Sinbad at the beginning, who resemble ET but with anorexia. The chess playing simian is also a masterpiece of suspended disbelief.

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977)

Marty Feldman tried his eye as director for this film with an excellent cast of British actors, including Spike Milligan.

A parody of Foreign Legion films, set in North Africa, some interiors of Fort Zindeneuf were filmed at Hospital de Tavera, Toledo which Michael York would have known well, having fought his four-way duel there in The Three Musketeers.

The sand dunes of Matalascañas, Huelva helped recreate Africa, where the Foreign Legion, led by Peter Ustinov and including the Geste twins, Feldman and York, march up and down and fight off some Arabs led by smooth James Earl Jones.

The local beach was also used for a scene where behind the beach there is a digital insert of Hollywood and for the final romantic scene with York celebrating his freedom with Ann Margaret, who is definitely not his mother, any more than the gloriously over the top Trevor Howard is his father. I hope that’s clear.

March or Die (1977)

Even Gene Hackman can have a bad day, and this was it. As the commander of a Foreign Legion outpost, fighting a battle he doesn’t believe in, his men are massacred by Spanish extras posing as Berbers.

These things happen.

The action begins at the old railway station of Las Delicias in Madrid, supposedly in France this time, although Almería once more provides perfect Saharan scenery, with filming taking place at the reconstructed fortress of El Cóndor near Gérgal, the port in Almería city, and Cabo de Gata.

The Alcazaba castle features in the scenes when archaeologist Max Von Sydow locates a treasure.

There was also some shooting of the railway convoy scenes at Guadix and La Calahorra, both in Granada province.

The People that Time Forgot (1977)

This follow up to ‘The Land that Time Forgot,’ made in 1975, features the island of La Palma, which substitutes for the fictitious South American island of Capriona.

Filming took place principally in the volcanic areas of Fuencaliente and Los Romanceaderos de Las Manchas, and in the Volcán (volcano) de San Antonio.

John Wayne’s son Patrick is the star, and it is obvious from the beginning when he starts disparaging the female lead Charly with subtle comments such as “I believe in a man doing a man’s work,” that they will end up in each other’s arms, providing that they avoid being eaten by the clockwork dinosaurs.

The year is 1919, and our heroes came through the great war intact, although not without emotional scars. As one remarks: “Pterodactyls are more interesting than Germans.”

Edgar Rice Borroughs wrote the original story, but neither the story nor the acting can match the spectacular volcanic scenery of La Palma, which fortunately survived the heroes’ attempts to set the woods on fire with flares or the double camp fires they light everywhere and then fail to put out.

Eventually they escape after killing several Samurai warriors and half of a lesser tribe of Neanderthals and causing the death of Doug MacClure (who had survived two years without them) instead of rescuing him. Not a great success story all told.

Widows’ Nest (1977)

The film stars Patricia Neal and was shot mostly in the Monasterio de Lupiana (whose cloister shows the home of the widows, an events location today), and Sigüenza (Guadalajara) as well as Talamanca del Jarama, Torrelaguna, Alcala de Henares and other locations around Madrid.

Sigüenza represents Las Villas, and its cobbled streets and porticos receive ample coverage, with the cathedral providing a frequent backdrop, as does the arch which leads to the castle; today a Parador.

Sigüenza Cathedral

Gina Lollobrigida abandoned the film when the money ran out.

The Black Pearl (1977)

Set in Baja California, Mexico, the film was shot in the Bahamas and Spain. Although some humans participate, a Manta Ray is the real star.

The director, Saul Swimmer, also directed George Harrison’s ‘Concert for Bangladesh.’

Battleflag (1977)

Although a German production, the film starred Simon Ward and Peter Cushing.

Set during World War I, it tells the story of an Austrian soldier trying to protect the regimental flag while breaching the defences of an aristocratic lady.

When they weren’t in Vienna they were in Oropesa in the province of Toledo and Tarancon, province of Cuenca.

In Oropesa one of the locations used was the old Jesuit church known as La Compania, which was a ruin at the time. This was pointed out to me by Parador employee José Manuel Gutiérrez Rodriguez, who was an extra during the making of the film.

La Compania

Impossible Love (1977)

Although made in Spanish, Stephen Boyd did his lines in English and is dubbed or not depending on the version you come across, if at all.

Set in Cuenca, the filming in fact took place at the estate of ‘El Quexigal,’ Cebreros, in the province of Ávila, with a brief getaway to Mallorca.

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

No, it’s not a joke; this was an earlier cartoon version, although the cartoons were based upon real locations, among them the Castle of Belmonte in Cuenca province, which had previously been used in El Cid, and which was used here as the scenario of the final battle at Helm’s Deep.

Belmonte Castle

Clayton Drumm (1978)

A true spaghetti western but with some interesting appearances by Warren Oates, Jenny Agutter and Sam Peckinpah.

True love and bullets filmed at Tabernas, Almería, including the Fort Bravo, Texas Hollywood western township.

Fort Bravo, Mexican site

Warren Oates returned to Spain after having made ‘Return of the Seven’ here. Sam Peckinpah, apparently on an unrelated visit, was roped in to play a part.

The Fort Bravo theme park provided the towns of China and Liberty, using their western and Mexican sites, and the action took place in the ramblas Viciana and Búho.

Fort Bravo, western site

The Thief of Baghdad (1978)

Yet another version of the Sinbad story with exteriors filmed in Almería.

Various scenes were shot in the Alcazaba, such as the courtyard of the harem, where the Prince and the magician steal clothes, and in the streets and squares of Almería, such as Plaza Bendicho, Plaza Vieja and Calle Hercules, while the desert scenes were mostly filmed at Tabernas.

An oasis was built in the Rambla Viciana for the scene where the Prince is attacked and believed killed.

An impressive cast includes Roddy McDowall, Frank Finlay, Ian Holm, Terence Stamp and Peter Ustinov.

The Nativity (1978)

The story of the birth of Jesus shot in Almería, with a cast including Leo McKern and Freddie Jones.

Almerian cinema expert José Enrique Martínez informs us that the locations in Almería were: Cañón Negro-El Saltador, Valle del Búho, Rambla Viciana and its oasis, Garganta de Alfaro, the sand dunes of Cabo de Gata, El Charco, Laguna Rasa, Cabo de Gata, Polopos, Río Aguas, Los Molinillos and Sorbas.

Oasis, Rambla Viciana

At Polopos the set of Herod’s palace was constructed. The villagers were most amused by the arrival of a large number of camels, but less so by the visit of lions.

The Greatest Battle (1978)

During the Berlin Olympics of 1936, German Major Roland (Stacy Keach), American General Foster (Henry Fonda), reporter Sean O’Hara (John Huston) and Jewish actress Annelise Ackerman (Samantha Eggar) meet and become friends. Their friendship is however interrupted by the minor inconvenience of World War II and we witness the Battle of the Mareth Line in North Africa, which was actually shot near Tabernas in the deserts of Almería.

The night scenes on a Cretan beach were shot at Los Escullos and in the Térmica beach in Almería city.

Orson Welles narrates the action in this Italian production, which also features everybody’s favourite German, Helmut Berger.

The big German gun, which is destroyed by partisans, was fired and shot in the province of Madrid, using the railway stations at Villamanta and Navalcarnero.

A strangely disjointed film with no obvious plot or purpose, and one which abuses the talents of Henry Fonda and John Huston.

Cuba (1979)

When British ex-army officer Robert Dapes arrives in Cuba to advise the Batista government on fighting the revolutionaries, he realises that the cause is already lost, with well organised rebels constantly gaining ground against poorly trained government troops. His difficulties are compounded when he runs into Alexandra, the love of his life who has settled for a comfortable marriage, which is now threatened by the revolution and by the exploits of her philandering husband.

At the beginning of the film, two suspects are being driven to a seaside fortress which in reality is the castle of San Sebastián in Cádiz harbour. So Cuban-looking is it in fact that it would be used again for the same function in the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’.

The origin of the castle dates back to a chapel built in 1457 upon the ruins of an old lighthouse and temple of Kronos by Venetian sailors, who stayed there in quarantine recovering (or not) from an outbreak of plague.

The present-day castle was built in 1706, accessed by drawbridges,

A causeway was built to the castle in 1860 so that its access was not dependent on the tides. This causeway was digitally removed for the film.

At the time of our visit in July 2019, the castle was closed to visitors.

San Sebastián

Cádiz’s Plaza de España was used for the scene with the Havana crowds hailing Castro, and black marines from the nearby Rota Military Base helped to give the scene some authentic Havanan ethnicity.

The battle scenes in the cane field with the old steam train were shot at the mouth of the River Guadalhorce, using the famous Babwil 140 train, used in so many films. Martin Balsam’s troops are defeated among the reeds by Castro’s rebels.

Balsam plays the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ironically would die among the authentic luxury of nearby Marbella in 1973.

Motril is also host to the tobacco factory that an American businessman is thinking of doing business with, and is in reality the Fabrica del Pilar, an old sugar factory where, in another scene, Sean Connery is taken prisoner by the rebels. These scenes also include some footage shot in the old tobacco factory of Cádiz, which has since been transformed into the Palacio de Congresos.

When Connery takes a young officer to ambush some guerrillas, the filming was done near the Camino del Canal around Monte Castillo known as the Era del Maíz, just above the aerodrome E.V.A 9, also at Motril.

When he arrives in Cuba, Connery is taken to a modern hotel, which he rejects for something with more ‘local colour.’ The hotel he rejected was Málaga’s Miramar Hotel, while the more down-market one he moves to is the Hotel Roma in Calle Real, Cádiz.

Another location in Cádiz was the Isla (Island) del Trocadero, while Málaga’s Town Hall and Plaza de San Juan de Dios also feature in the film.

Some equestrian elegance was provided by the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Equestre at Avenida Duque de Abrantes, Jerez de la Frontera. The Havana Yacht Club scenes were also shot in Jerez, using the swimming pool of the Five Star Hotel Jerez, Avenida Alcalde Álvaro Domecq, 35, where Connery actually stayed instead of the seedier Hotel Roma.

Perhaps the most curious scene in the film is the one in which Connery visits a police station (Comiseria de Policia) and walks past a row of cages holding prisoners. Behind them we can make out some children playing basketball. All very charming and probably typical of pre-Castro Cuban police stations, except that the scene was shot in the Padre Luis Coloma school in Jeréz de la Frontera where, presumably for budgetary reasons, they didn’t bother to close the school for filming.

Bloodbath (1979)

Dennis Hopper answers the question: “whatever happened to all the damaged hippies after ‘Easy Rider’?” playing a character called ‘Chicken’ in a film made at various Almerian locations such as Bedar and Mojácar.

A bunch of has-been expats have found the ‘real Spain’; locals rehearsing for ‘The Walking Dead’, slitting pigs’ throats and fulfilling their roles as backdrops in black, accompanying donkeys while largely ignoring the film’s ‘characters’.

The omnipresent (it’s even on the film’s poster) ruined tower overlooking the sea is the Torre del Pirulico, sometimes called the Torre del Peñon, and the nearby Castillo de Macenas appears as the dwelling of the young black man who takes the young gay man there on a donkey to ‘consummate’ their relationship.

Macenas Castle

The film’s writer was Gonzalo Suárez, and the director was Canadian Silvio Narizzano, better known for the British classic Georgy Girl.

Jaguar Lives! (1979)

Far too good a cast for a third rate Kickboxing film in which Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasance, Woody Strode and Barbara Bach could be better employed. Both John Huston and Simón Andreu have small parts; the latter as Petrie.

Among the excellent locations is the often used castle of Belmonte, Cuenca, where Jaguar scales the walls in order to face the evil doers within as they sip champagne and watch Flamenco dancing in the cloisters.

The final kickboxing and pike fight on the spectacular battlements ends inevitably with the villain plunging to his doom, while the rest of us admire the endless plains of Castilla La Mancha.

A lot of helicopter landing, kickboxing and wrestling Donald Pleasance, dressed like a South American admiral, to the ground, occurs in the courtyard of a large, pink palace, which is none other than the Palacio Real de Riofrio, southwest of Segovia, in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, set in 600 splendid hectares of parkland replete with deer.

El Escorial royal palace and the Valle de Los Caídos, both near Madrid are also used. The latter used to be the resting place of the dictator Franco, a tomb built inside a mountain by Republican prisoners of war in the 1940s, a place of pilgrimage for those who miss the good old days when the trains ran on time.

Here we see a fast car journey and a helicopter converging on the tomb with its huge cross, which is then blown to pieces, much to the chagrin of Franco’s followers, who were still quite numerous at the time.

Our hero, Jaguar, is shot here by his treacherous partner as he chases a villain up the Funicular railway that takes the nostalgic faithful to the top of the mountain.

Almería also gets a look in as Jaguar assaults a castle, which is none other than the Alcazaba. Pursued by two jeeploads of defenders, he shakes them off and wipes them out in the desert of Tabernas.

The Escuelas de Artes in Almería city was used to represent El Habbad in the film, and may have given the idea to Stephen Spielberg, who would later use it in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.’

The House on Garibaldi Street (1979)

It was in the house on Garibaldi street, Buenos Aires, that Mossad agents finally tracked down Albert Eichmann, although Peter Collinson’s film was shot mainly in Spain.

Topol, Martin Balsam, Nick Mancuso and Janet Suzman were among the stars.

Tehran Incident (1979)

A missile crisis film starring Peter Graves, with an opening scene shot in Spain, when the missile is hijacked, probably in Almería.

La Sabina (1979)

Although it was filmed in Spanish, this Spanish/Swedish movie also has an English language version, which is not surprising as it stars outrageously young Jon Finch and Simon Ward, and tells the tale of an English writer in search of another English writer, who disappeared 100 years previously in deepest Andalucía, possibly after a run in with a local dragon.

On one occasion a mixed group of locals and visitors go on a guided tour the ruined castle of Olvera, Cádiz, commenting on its magnificence.

The XII century Arab fortress dominates the town, and was besieged and conquered by Alfonso XI in 1372.

Legend has it that the Moors, on abandoning the castle, hid some treasure there, and even today, well-equipped gold-diggers still wander the battlements in the hope of a lucky strike.

The castle has an extensive exhibition about the castles along the frontier between Christian and Muslim forces up until the Reconquest.

The real star is Angela Molina, who would turn up years later as a hostel owner in Martin Sheen’s The Way, and the magical guitar music of Paco de Lucia on the soundtrack does no harm.

Setenil de las Bodegas is most famous for its houses built into an overhanging cliff. The town appears during a wide panning shot of the town when Ovidi Montllor, playing intellectually challenged Manolin, is dropped off by the Guardia Civil and then runs down to join in the fiestas.

Setenil de las Bodegas