Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The western in the province of Granada (1961-1984) (I) part 3

Precisely, the cave house area of ​​Guadix would be the place chosen to locate the Indian cemetery that Burt Reynolds inhabits in “Joe, the implacable” (“Navajo Joe”, Sergio Corbucci, 1966). This remarkable western, with a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone[10], is a great example of making the most of Granada's natural settings. As in these cave houses, Corbucci films in other places already used by Giraldi and his team, such as the Rambla de los Bancos (adding, however, a very close enclave, exclusive to this film: the Fardes riverbed that appears in the credit titles) or the railway line from Hernán-Valle to Guadix -although, in “Navajo Joe”, the route of the train reaches a small station located a little further north, that of the municipality of Gor-, he also films sequences on the same La Calahorra railway that Leone popularized; however, the film's remarkable cinematography work generally gives these locations a much more eye-catching dimension compared to Giraldi's previous film.

[The Indian cemetery of Joe, the implacable in the caves of Guadix]

[Impressive view of the Banks of Fonelas promenade in Joe, the implacable] 

And if we talk about “Navajo  Joe”, we cannot fail to mention the mystery that surrounded, for a long time, one of his locations; specifically the one that takes place in the train station called "Esperanza". It was strange, and hence the mystery, that none of the experts and location hunters mentioned a few paragraphs above had yet been able to find the location of said station. The logic of these shootings, not at all buoyant in terms of budget, makes us assume that the place in question should belong to some point of the aforementioned Granada railways, the only ones used in theory in this film; not to mention the consequent cost involved in moving the locomotive that we see in the film, again “La Verraco”, to another point further away from the Spanish geography. But after arduous investigations, widely discussed in forums and Internet sites, no one had been able to locate a similar station in the province of Granada. Similarly, localization experts in the province of Almería, another of the filming locations, ruled out this possibility. Quite an enigma, without a doubt, that was finally solved in October 2021 by a researcher from Granada in the history of the railway, Carlos Peña, who after ruling out a good number of Spanish stations, identified the landscape of "Esperanza" in the municipality of Ontígola (Toledo ) within the current Aranjuez-Cuenca-Valencia railway line, close to the Community of Madrid (another of the scenarios of  “Navajo Joe”), with the inconvenience that the station building had been completely demolished since 1973, hence the difficulty of finding this location during all this time.

[The mysterious “Hope” station of “Navajo Joe”]

A year after “For a Few Dollars More”, Sergio Leone returns to Granada to shoot a couple of short sequences, although well-remembered, of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. It does not repeat in its particular Tucumcari, but once again it shows the path to follow for future spaghetti westerns that would visit the area by showing for the first time in the cinema the next station of La Calahorra-Ferreira, which has since become a true sanctuary for lovers of the European western. Apart from the sequence in this season, perfectly set in the middle of the American Civil War, even more popular is the immediately following scene, which features the thief Tuco (Eli Wallach) violently knocking out his captor, a plump Union officer played by Mario Brega, both jumping from a moving train to, immediately afterwards, with the soldier already unconscious, Tuco used the passage of another train along the track to cut the handcuffs that bind them. This scene was shot at an intermediate point between the aforementioned station and the Tucumcari location of Leone's previous western.

  [The station at La Calahorra-Ferreira in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”]

[10] Of which, Quentin Tarantino would include, in 2004, two songs for the soundtrack of his second volume of Kill Bill.

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