German Release of "El Cid"
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, Germany
Samuel Bronston's epic premiered in 70mm in Hamburg at the impressive
"Ufa-Palast am Gänsemarkt" - a theatre with 988 turquoise and lime green
seats and teak panelling all round - on 25.05.1962. On the same day the
movie also debuted at the Berlin Cinerama Capitol-Filmtheater. "El Cid"
ran at the "Ufa-Palast" for 14 weeks until 30.08.1962.
"Two world stars in a triumph without precedent. German premiere 25 May.
Especially for this movie a "Superscreen" for 70mm Technirama had been
"A prolongation is not possible! 14th and last week."
|More in 70mm reading:|
Miramax Films Presents "El Cid"
Castillo de Peñíscola
Castillo de Belmonte
At the time of the movie's premiere an 8-page leaflet (size: 27cm x
37cm) was distributed throughout Germany, published by Rank Film, the
movie's distributor, press department (see image):
Text front cover:
The great special report in color. 2 world stars in a cinematic triumph
without precedent. EL CID now also in Germany.
Text back cover:
A triumph of flaming love and heroic greatness. Pay attention to this
An interesting German link is showing some locations of the
"Castillo de Peñíscola" in Spain at the time of filming in the year
1961 in comparison with the look in the years 2004/2006. There is also
integrated a link to the
Castillo de Belmonte / Battle for Calahorra
The prologues taken from the two German "El Cid"
web-sites by Captain Douglas translated into English language read as follows:
German 16-page souvenir programme of the epic movie (Italy/USA, 1961- from
the author`s collection).
Castillo de Peñíscola – Castillo del Papa Luna
The great battle of Valencia was filmed within the fortified coastal city of
Peñíscola. As an emerging large city and due to missing walls and
fortifications, Valencia was not a suitable location for filming; Peñíscola
was an ideal parallel from the era of El Cid. The victory of Cid in the
historically authentic battle, in the struggle for the fortress that was
considered impenetrable, is considered one of the greatest triumphs of the
Spanish Middle Ages.
"For an entire month, director Anthony Mann tried the formidable battle
scenes, in which he used 1,700 soldiers from the Spanish army, 500 cavaliers
from the Madrid Municipal Guard, and any men he could find in the province
as warriors. Fifteen huge siege weapons, like those used by the Christian
knights, were built according to old drawings. Thirty-five ships and boats
were provided with the accessories from the old Moorish archetypes.
Coordination of a system that would have been worthy of being an actual
invasion was a calculated example of artistic intuition and command of
filming techniques. Cameras, loudspeakers, sound vehicles, costume vehicles,
and a small army of stars and supporting actors and horses for the hundreds
were fused together by director Anthony Mann into a team that was able to
create a unique, unforgettable work. All acceptable accommodation within a
100-kilometre radius was rented out in order to house this film crew."
(Excerpt from the German souvenir programme for the film)
The approximately 300 drummers who went ahead of the Moorish army of Ben
Yussuf must have also been particularly impressive in order to instil fear
and horror in the Christians when they played. The production management
brought in the dark-skinned drummers from various countries. And before
filming was finished, the 300 masters of the calfskin held a concert that
can probably never be replicated: "A symphony for 300 drummers" (information
from the old RANK Film press information sheet). Today in Peñíscola, not
much remains from the production of El Cid. The battlements on the fortress,
easily visible from the beach, were built for the film at the time in order
to convey a tough and battle-ready appearance upon the Templar castle.
For God, Cid and Captain Douglas, 2007.
Castillo de Belmonte / The Tournament at Calahorra
The wonderful late-gothic palace castle of Belmonte was an impressive
backdrop for the Anthony Mann historical film "El Cid" starring Charlton
Heston and Sophia Loren. The struggle for the city of Calahorra was battled
out here. The sword master of Ramiro, the King of Aragon, fought against the
Cid, Rodrigo de Vivar, who fought as a paladin for Ferdinand, the King of
Castille, León and Asturias for Calahorra and for his own honour. Both
actors (Heston and Rhodes) received lots of bruises and contusions in the
well-executed battle. Historically, we do not know exactly what happened. At
the time of the real Cid (11th Century), fortresses such as Belmonte (15th
Century) could only be dreamed of; but this certainly doesn't impair the
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