Friday, March 20, 2009
Spaghetti Western Locations
Approaching Tabernas via the freeway, a couple of kilometers beyond the gentle spine and impressive profile of El Faro, just before the exit to Sorbas/Murcia, you'll see a substantial western town on your right.
Take the Sorbas/Murcia exit and you'll find yourself at the gates of Mini-Hollywood: a movie location so famous that it appears in atlases and on road maps. It was built in 1965 by Sergio Leone's brilliant designer, Carlo Simi, for the Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef film “For A Few Dollars More”. The plot centers on the robbery of a massive bank in El Paso. If you've seen the film, you'll get a kick of recognition when you turn a corner of the wooden boardwalk, and encounter the bank. You can have a drink in the saloon where Lee Van Cleef struck a match on Klaus Kinski’s hump. They also conduct an impressive stunt show. Mini-Hollywood also appeared in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and countless other Euro-Westerns. It's still a fine set, though over-dressed these days, and saddled with an adjacent zoo.
Although now strictly a theme park it is well preserved and will bring back a flood of memories. Too bad the Spaniards are not content to promote their own film history. They want the ignorant visitor to believe John Wayne and other American actors made many of their films here. You won’t believe your ears when you hear the theme to Bonanza and the Magnificent Seven playing over the loud speaker system instead of Morricone, De Masi and Nicolai. To the Spaghetti Western aficionado you’ll have to block out these annoyances and the fact that many of the buildings are full of T-shirt and souvenir shops. A highlight is the Bank of El Paso building contains a museum filled with Spaghetti Western posters. Then you’re jolted back to reality when you return to the front porch and see a dozen vending machines containing sodas and snacks. All Spain needs is some PR people and it could be a Spaghetti Western fans dream come true. Oh well it’s still a fine set and well worth the visit.
For a more detailed view of this site and other Spaghetti Western locations please visit my friend Yoshi “Garringo” Yasuda’s excellent website: http://garringo.cool.ne.jp/