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Messages - El Mal

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Although Western Leone is now very much a mini theme park and hopeful of hosting some  film shoots the Sweetwater ranch, now a saloon, still looks imposing against a backdrop of the hills of Tabernas. I've edited my camcorder home movie of one of the regular shootouts for tourists which takes place in the large area in front of the saloon. I've cut out as many cries from a baby next to me as possible! Also the first gunshot at the bank was a pathetic "pop" so I've superimposed a louder one. Hopefully this is on topic. My 8min. video is on Youtube reference "shootout at sweetwater".

El Maljavascript:void(0);
Afro.

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I've just uploaded to my web site a picture of the watch taken at the Hotel Alba this month. www.malcolmdrew.com and, if you've got time on your hands, follow the western trail!

El Mal

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General Discussion / Re: Almeria Locations
« on: July 16, 2007, 09:53:14 AM »
Thanks for the YouTube link to "Fonda" Leonardo. Great to have that confirmation. Now got to polish up my Spanish to follow the interview! Hi Sonny! - my site should be accessable at   http://www.malcolmdrew.com. Sorry, not sure how to link the actual page to the web board.

Following on from our recent visit to Western Leone (see "Fonda" correspondence above) I now realise that we were only a short distance away from the set (anything left?) for "El Condor" 1970 (Lee Van Cleef). So we hope to visit this next time we're there. Possibly in September. Just ordered from only source I could find of a copy of "El Condor" from USA (to Spain). VHS Tape 1.50, postage 12.29!!

El Mal.


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General Discussion / Re: Almeria Locations
« on: July 11, 2007, 02:06:26 PM »
The Fonda lookalike was leaning against a horse tie rail outside the restaurant when we got there (Western Leone) in full western gear, the gun, the lot. A few minutes later he was jotting down our menu in a notebook and serving us burgers with ketchup! It all seemed very surreal!

I've posted some comparison pictures of the stone circle restoration for 2006 and 2007 on my web site. malcolmdrew.com Click thru West in Spain/For a Few Dollars More/Goto Restoration...


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General Discussion / Almeria Locations
« on: July 10, 2007, 03:32:54 PM »
Hi everybody,

Just got back from a hectic 3 days in Almeria. I've got a lot of video and photos that need analysing but am being delayed by having had cards knicked from my wallet back here in Torrevieja, Costa Blanca!

Briefly, we first went to Los Albaricoques where, as previously reported, someone's building an apartment block overlooking the stone ring site. They have been built approx. in Clint's line of sight as he sites on the edge of the ring observing the shootout. The  original (or previous?) ring has been demolished and replaced by an obviously new version. The location appears to be the same but I need to check the photos I took last year to confirm. I'm not sure the diameter is right. The stone pile (well?) where Van Cleef stands after dismounting his horse wasn't there last year but they've built a new one. Near to this is another curved build of stones that looks like a BBQ area! The information plaque here and in 3 or 4 other sites around the village contain very generalised comments and add nothing of interest. An extraordinarily high wind on albeit a sunny day severely hampered my attempts to line up reference photos, even with a hefty tripod. Several pitiful, tick ridden dogs following us around for food didn't help any. Regretfully I have no real desire to return to this site, partucularly as the new apartments are blocking a view of the surrounding fields and mountains in one direction. I prefer the memories I have of last year when the site was in gentle decay.

At the restaurant on the junction of the A92 with the Tabernas N340 road we met a French Algerian called Pecos (real name Robert) who told us he had been in the area for 25 years and was a spaghetti western fanatic. He took us to a ruined film location near the Banos De Sierra  Alhamilla which he claimed Eastwood had filmed on but he couldn't confirm the name of any of the films. The location may have been a conversion from original farm or estate buildings as an avenue of mature trees is a feature there. A lot of partially ruined stone buildings are standing though some are obviously film "add ons" as they are only 2 sided. There are also wooden "add ons". A few paint balls were found on the ground. Access roads to the site are rough. If anybody has any info on the site I would be interested to hear before carrying out any research.

With the help of Pecos we also located the ruined set originally built for Chino (USA) 1973 or Valdez the Halfbreed (UK) starring Charles Bronson and later used by Alex Cox for his wacky film Straight To Hell (1987). This is not far from the restaurant on the A92, opposite Mini Hollywood, but a circuitous access takes a while. Several brick ruins are still standing. Only the church is just about recognisable. The A92 was built on a raised level probably 15 years after Alex Cox's film on the line of the original Almeria/Granada road which is visible in his film.

Having finally accepted that Western Leone spoils the memory for me of my favourite Leone film, OUATITW, I decided to go there (heck, it's right opposite the restaurant anyway) and view the house and also check out the cutting where the railway line was brought in for the closing scenes. The added buildings were not as bad as I expected assuming you're looking on it as a new western theme park and not a tribute to the aforementioned film. They are just putting the finishing touches to a white Mexican village to the back far left of the ranch house. There were very few visitors. The shootout in the "town square" was OK if unspectacular. We were particularly taken by the uncanny resemblance of one of the main "cowboys" on the site to Henry Fonda! The likeness is uncanny. We have heard rumours but I don't feel I can say anymore! I located the gully which was dug out for the train line. What a lot of work for a very brief scene. My prize of the day was finding one of the rusting metal plates which I presume was used in the laying of the track. It measures approx. 7" x 5" and has three holes in it. Any railway buffs out there who can confirm or advise on this item?

Finally (did I say this would be brief?) my brother was with me, in addition to my partner Jan, and he was travelling on to Granada, Seville and Cadiz in his camper van so I asked him to divert and take a look at the Flagstone set at La Calahorra.
He's not familiar with OUATITW etc., but he confirmed that the sheep farmer, presumably, has started building a low wall from, based on his telephoned description, the "Merchant Dentist" building to the Saloon. Again I would think these modifications are going to put a nail in the coffin as far as visualising the site as it once was.

I don't claim to be an expert on Leone matters, just very interested as I live a couple of hours away, so please feel free to correct me on any of the above or tell me you knew all about it anyway! If I still can't figure out how to post pics I'll put some on my web site instead - eventually (malcolmdrew.com)


El Mal

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Thanks moviesceleton for bringing me up to date with your pics. I was in Los Albaricoques  just over a year ago and the impression was that builders were practically demolishing the ring. Old Proverb "No condition is permanent". Anyway my partner and I are making a return visit to Almeria tomorrow and will now make a detour on the way to check out Los Albaricoques again in the light of this news. I had planned to search the area for a, not too expensive, holiday home (I live a couple of hours up the coast on the Costa Blanca). It would be my ideal to own an apartment overlooking the FDM shootout spot. Hey!! But as the Cabo De Gata is a protected area and as a consequence seems to have limited new builds (unlike Torrevieja where I live) then I imagine the prices could be quite high. I guess they would be bought by speculative investors to rent out to some of you rich Americans! (Me English!)

I would have posted a pic from May 2006 showing the state of the site then but I've forgotten how to upload images into my messages. I think I used ImageShack before but you need an address to send to, don't you? If anybody can put me straight on that I'll post some pics.

If I have anything interesting to report when we return I'll post it. (Pics subject to problem as above) By the way if anyone wants to know of a very friendly and homely Bed & Breakfast place at Tabernas I can strongly recommend Shirley Cook's home with pool and En Suites for around 35E a room. accommodation@avired.com. That's where we'll be staying.



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I picked up a couple of small broken bricks that had fallen into scrub grass at the base of the saloon building (OUATITW) at Flagstone. I didn't dig them out of the wall or anything like that! Anyway the farmer has made minimal repairs to the building to house his sheep and wouldn't have been interested in the broken bricks. I only had to pop them in the boot (back) of my car! I am a bit concerned about the deterioration of the Cortijo Del Fraile buildings, near Albaricoques & Rodalquilar (GBU etc). Nobody in Spain seems interested in preserving it. And the circle of stones (corn ring) at Los Albaricoques has practically gone and,no, I didn't "nick" any of them!

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General Discussion / Re: Mini Hollywood in Almeria
« on: June 29, 2007, 07:37:52 AM »
Ref the landscape query I don't live in the Almeria region so can't answer your query for sure but I'll try to remember to ask our B&B landlady, Shirley Cook, when we get there next week if she notices any difference as her place is adjacent to the Tabernas desert (which we've yet to explore) on the N340 Mini Hollywood road. Here on the Costa Blanca the vegetation has got much greener in recent months presumably due to some very heavy downpours we had around April. At the back of Torrevieja, near Fortuna, just about a 30 minute drive away the hills look very much like Almeria.

I now have a modest collection of "spaghetti"dvd's. I try, if possible, to get as many as I can that were filmed in whole or in part in the Almeria region because of local interest.  It's usually pretty easy to identify those shot in Almeria compared to the Madrid area which is noticably greener (unless filmed in a local quarry!).

By the way I've now answered my earlier question - which film was the "Straight To Hell" set originally built for? The answer would appear to be "Chino" USA which goes under various other titles and year of production. I'll stick with 1973 (IMDb). Just ordered a cheap copy on Amazon. Assuming we find the set from which Mini Hollywood can be seen on the opposite side of the A92 we will be able to compare the remains with the dvd which should arrive shortly after our return.
Alex Cox in his commentary to "Straight To Hell" says the set was built smaller than usual because the star, Charles Bronson, was vertically challenged (my words!). However, when I visited the Old Tucson set in Arizona in 1980 I seem to recall they said it was standard procedure to make the sets there a little smaller to make the actors seem more prominent. That would have included John Wayne, of course, in "Rio Lobo" who required no "trickery" to enhance his screen presence.
A shame that many of those sets were burned down in a "vandal" fire a few years ago.


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General Discussion / Re: Mini Hollywood in Almeria
« on: June 27, 2007, 03:15:56 PM »
I live in Spain and shall be making a return visit to the Tabernas area of Almeria in a few days time. I concur with comments made by marqkin and danny. I'll probably give Mini Hollywood a miss this time (2 coachloads of screaming kids made it even worse than marqkin depicted when we visited it). Texas Hollywood looks far more authentic and we live in hope that Franco Nero still gets a chance to feature in the new western that we had hoped would be filmed there. In the meantime I look forward to wallowing in the surrounding "spaghetti" scenery. Does anybody know if there's anything left of the set for "Straight To Hell" (Alex Cox 1987) and which film it was originally built for?

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Sergio Leone News / Re: New Spaghetti
« on: May 05, 2007, 08:50:26 AM »
Don't get me wrong. I've nothing against children's films! Just the suitability or otherwise of an actor(mainly tv) and occasional producer of children's films putting together a spaghetti western. I have visions of "A Fistful Of Dollies", "A Fistful Of Play Dough", "Death Rides A Gee Gee" or "My Name Is Barbie"!

I've heard from my contact at Fort Bravo Studios, Almeria (he has been keeping his horses there) but unfortunately he has heard nothing of the proposed Franco Nero film. If he does he's promised to let me know. He has befriended an American actor, Andrew McCarthy (Mannequin, Pretty In Pink, St.Elmo's Fire) who is planning a TV series "On Location With Andrew McCarthy" to be filmed in Almeria.

Good news for me as a resident of Torrevieja, Costa Blanca, is that a new motorway had just opened between Cartagena and Vera, Almeria which will cut down my travel time to the Almeria region considerably. Unfortunately it'll cost me a few euros in tolls but it will be worth it. Hope to try it out soon.




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Sergio Leone News / Re: New Spaghetti
« on: May 03, 2007, 03:45:20 PM »
Thanks cigar joe for bringing the Franco Nero news item to our attention. This talk of a new spag western has been running for some time now. Not much info in the news item other than it looks as though nobody in Italy is going to cough up the "dinero" to make this film. What do we know of the German producer, Douglas Welbat, who presumably is to be involved in finding the aforesaid money? He looks remarkably like Leone! But his most recent claim to fame appears to have been a production for children entitled "Seven Dwarves - The Wood Is Not Enough". Oh dear. I'll keep my eyes and ears open here in Spain in case anything is reported of the scouting trips. But Almeria is some way south of me so our press may not report anything. I'll see if my contact at Texas Hollywood/Fort Bravo Studios knows anything.

By the way, as far as I can tell TH/FB don't have any interior studio facilities other than perhaps the saloon but we now have a new state of the art film studio in Alicante - "Ciudad de la Luz" - http://www.ciudaddelaluz.com - (City of Light) which has recently been filming the new Asterix film with Gerard Depardieu.

If it ever happens I plan on going down there to see if i can get a part in it as an extra!


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Sergio Leone News / Re: New Spaghetti
« on: September 07, 2006, 06:05:43 AM »
Sorry guys! Just heard from my contact at Texas Hollywood (Almeria) and, you`ve guessed it, the filming will "now not take place in September". If this is indeed Enzo Castellari`s film then it`s running true to form with yet another delay. And I`d been hoping for a part as an extra in it. If another western is going to be made here in southern Spain in the forseeable future it looks as though fellow member Ramon and his mates are going to have to make it! Manana, manana!

El Mal in Spain.




quote author=marmota-b link=topic=2797.msg49043#msg49043 date=1157556295]
So good luck with that, El Mal! And tell us, please... but you already promised it. :)
Quote

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Welcome TB65.  You have fine taste in film, however, once you see DYS you will really be impressed with SL's exquisite
film making talents 8)

Welcome to TB65 a discerning filmviewer!

Having revisited the film (OUATITW) following a personal resurgance of interest in the films of Leone I can only agree that its way up there with the best of them. Strangely, I recently purchased a marked down copy of an Empire Magazine special edition listing their 100 best films. I fully expected my all time fav film, Gone With The Wind, to be in it but it wasnt!! But, thankfully, OUATITW was. But then so was a recent ok movie called Sideways.  Movie  preference lists are pretty subjective I suppose.

El Mal in Spain.

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Sergio Leone News / Re: New Spaghetti
« on: September 06, 2006, 05:25:46 AM »
supposedly in pre production.

Hi All,

As previously mentioned I have a contact at Texas Hollywood Studios in Almeria who advised me of a western shoot commencing this month. Per his instructions I have waited until this month to email him for an update as the production crew should be there this month. I am awaiting his reply. When I know anything you will know!

El Mal in Spain  My location Torrevieja  nr. Alicante. (but ready to travel to Almeria!)

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Sergio Leone News / Re: New Spaghetti
« on: July 22, 2006, 03:29:06 PM »
cool.

A follow on to my previous msg about a new spag. western may have been misplaced on the site. So here it is again- My landlady friend in Tabernas, Almeria came up with a contact at Texas Hollywood/Fort Bravo Studios and he tells me that the studios are booked for a western film "of sorts" from September 2006 for 16 weeks. He says he will have no further details until the production team arrive. 16 weeks seems a long shoot for the average film. Perhaps the film is "Gli Impacabili"?

Incidentally, someone referred to Mini Hollywood as a possible location but I doubt anyone would film there these days as it`s principally a theme park and the animals in the on site zoo wouldn`t take too kindly to guns and explosions!

My contact says he`ll try and get me a bit part in the movie. that`s OK if it`s cash in hand. Now I`m retired I don`t want to get into a tax system again.

I`m visiting  the UK for a few weeks but when I return home to Spain I`ll check with my contact for any more info.

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