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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


German Release of "El Cid"

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin, Germany Date: 22.01.2015
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 installed!"

"A prolongation is not possible! 14th and last week."
More in 70mm reading:

Miramax Films Presents "El Cid"

Rank Illustrierte

Internet link:

Castillo de Peñíscola
Castillo de Belmonte


"Rank Illustrierte"

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 poster.

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:

The 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 scene.
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Updated 21-01-24