The Spanish Earth
This post starts with me stumbling across (via Twitter) a great L.A. Times article, Ernest Hemingway's Long Lost Los Angeles Visit which I encourage you to read. Hemingway hated Hollywood - with some justifiable cause - but went there to promote a documentary he did, titled The Spanish Earth.
I am always amazed at how many Americans (as in 99.9%) don't know there was a Spanish Civil War just before WW2 and that a lot of famous Americans were involved in it. There were even brigades of Americans in units like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade that put their lives on the line in Spain fighting fascism.
I knew about the civil war and that Hemingway was deeply committed to the cause but I hadn't known that he helped produce a documentary about a village there. It was shown in America to raise funds for ambulances in Spain.
Well, curiosity got the best of me after reading that Times article and I found myself ordering the DVD of the film on Amazon. It was cheap enough at six dollars. Really, I simply wanted to see what Hemingway was up to at that moment.
The documentary isn't great. Although in fairness, technology was very different then and filming a war was really much harder then than now. There are a couple graphic war scenes in this film but the real gem of this movie is the backdrop.
By that I mean how it captures Spanish life. Everything from the houses to how they make bread and farm the land is in this film. If you want to know what Spain was like in the 1930s, this is a good film to look at because the people are authentic. This is how they lived.
Oddly, you don't learn as much about the war as you do life in Spain. A couple Republican (as in The Republic not G.O.P.) leaders are in as cameos but I don't think Franco's name was ever mentioned. The causes and goals were skipped over in this production.
Like I said, as a documentary,, this is a mixed bag. On the rating scale, I'd have to give this a simple 3 of 5. It is an interesting historical piece but not much more than that.