Fuentiduena de Tajo

The Italian War Movie Cinema offers a number of legendary B-Movie Cherry bombs.
If they have been filmed in Spain I could never resist and search for the locations.
I made a few enquiries and finally I discovered a smashing War Movie location of the Umberto Lenzi epic "From Hell to Victory" (30th Anniversary). 
What I started as a small location report turned out to be a Trash Bomb and a story with many 
well known names beeing involved and all seems to be connected with the Producer Edmondo Amati. 
See exciting then and now comparisons and the Story behind the filming of "From Hell to Victory".
Capt.Douglas (Location Archaeologist), 2008.

A few years after Director Umberto Lenzi had a great success with his War Epic "Il grande attacco" he presented a lost "twin" out of his dusty hat by magic.
Umberto really had the nerve to remake his own War Movie Cracker! Wow!
But his "From Hell to Victory" is something special, a classic for B-Movie Fans.
With the help of Producer Edmondo Amati "From Hell to Victory" beats every sincere robberbaron. 
Some great Scenes and even complete parts from old Edmondo Amati Movies have been sticked together with new material directed by Umberto Lenzi. 
The Job is very well done and not easy to recognize. 
The old material came from Alberto de Martinos "Dirty Heroes" and Enzo G.Castellaris 
"Eagles of London" (40th Anniversary). 
Enzo G.Castellari filmed a tremendous Bridge Explosion in Fuentiduena de Tajo with Frank Stafford and Paco Rabal for "Eagles over London", 1969. 
The fantastic Special Effects have been made by the Spanish f/x wizard Emilio Ruiz del Rio.
Ten years later, 1979, Umberto Lenzi filmed his own scenes in Fuentiduena, now with George Hamilton and Ray Lovelock in a Special Commando. 
Again the Bridge over the Rio Tajo had to blow up, but the admirable explosion scenes in "From Hell to Victory" are the old Castellari/Emilio Ruiz ones directed for "Eagles over London"
(and used without their knowledge?)! 

German Lobby Cards

"From Hell to Victory"
comparison photo 2008
George Hamilton and Ray Lovelock at Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo Swamp, 2008
Preparation of a blow-up!
comparison photo 2008
1979 comparison photo 2008
comparison photo 2008
Ray Lovelock on the Bridge
"From Hell to Victory"
George Hamilton
comparison photo 2008
George Hamilton
2008 - New Pylons!
George Hamilton (Press Shot) comparison photo 2008
Fuentiduena de Tajo
1979 - Take Cover!
comparison photo 2008
Blowing up the Bridge comparison photo 2008
The blowing up of the Bridge scene in "From Hell to Victory" is a magnificent work of the spanish f/x artist Emilio Ruiz del Rio. Of course it was not allowed to damage or destroy the Bridge. He designed and put on stage this magnificent effect for the 
Enzo G.Castellari/Edmondo Amati "Big Money" Movie "Eagles over London" and probably without his knowledge it was used ten years later for the Umberto Lenzi movie as well.
Fuentiduena Bridge Explosion

"Eagles over London" / "La Battaglia d'Inghilterra"
A Bridge explosion is a demanding job for every visual effects Specialist, especially when
any damage of the original bridge has to be avoided. 
Emilio Ruiz constructed a 1:18 model (2,75 meter) of the Bridge out of aluminuim sheets. 
Between the Sheets he placed lead for an easy and good lookin explosion with flying Bridge parts. The Bridge model with a new background was very skilful positioned in front of the Bridge. Model and real Bridge fit in perfectly (construction, colors,..) and the effect looks great. 
The new background ("magic hills") is necessary to cover the real bridge after the explosion.
The whole effect is a mix of real and model explosions in great harmony.
See more from this great wizard here: Emilio Ruiz del Rio
An "Eagles over London" Scene shown in "From Hell to Victory". The terrain looks very green in the old "Eagles" Scene and was probably filmed in a different season than "From Hell.."
comparison photo 2008
Bridge blow-up
Flying aluminium sheets - On the right you see a part of the bridge stonework pier hanging in the air? This is only possible in the world of model kits.
Emilio Ruiz model minature and "magic hills" in the background
comparison photo 2008
"Eagles over London" / "From Hell to Victory"
An old Location photo of the Emilio Ruiz Collection (archives)
comparison photo 2008 - The Rio Tajo river-bed is bigger in this place today compared to the
movie scenes before 30/40 years.
Another great old Shot of the Emilio Ruiz collection showing his model minature in action. 
A part of the reed looks like as if Emilio used it to fix the model/background arrangement.
I highly recommend the excellent documentary about Emilio Ruiz ("El ultimo Truco"). 
Its a must see!
There is an interesting conversation with Emilio and Director Enzo G.Castellari in it about
the war movies both filmed together. Emilio is showing a few photos to Enzo. 
Among them "Eagles over London" shots of the filming in Fuentiduena mixed with shots from
"Inglorious Bastards".
Emilio Ruiz Enzo G.Castellari
Van Johnson
"Eagles over London" Star Van Johnson died recently (25.8.1916-12.12.2008). 
See more of him here: Action of the Tiger (1957)

Producer Edmondo Amati was really plundering his archives for "From Hell to Victory".
Another wonderful example is the "Diving Sequence" in "From Hell..".
The complete sequence in this movie was actually filmed for the Alberto de Martino/Edmondo Amati Movie "Dirty Heroes" and revaluated with newly filmed great matching scenes. 
"Dirty Heroes" / "Dalle Ardenne all'Inferno"
Before the "deep sea" Action started there is a Car scene...and that car should sunk in water a
minute later. On the left you see Frederick Stafford in a car with oxygen on the roof (1967) for "Dirty Heroes". It was not possible to use the old scenes, Umberto Lenzi had to film matching new ones. On the right you see the newly filmed scene for "From Hell to Victory" (1979) with George Peppard in a Car with oxygen on the roof!
George Peppard A "Dirty Heroes" Scene also shown in "From Hell..."
"Dirty Heroes" / "From Hell to Victory"
The car is sinking. "Dirty Heroes" Scenes with Adolfo Celi and Frank Stafford.
A matching newly filmed scene for "From Hell..."
A "Dirty Heroes" Scene also used in "From Hell to Victory"
All diving Action in "From Hell to Victory" was actually filmed for Alberto de Martinos "Dirty Heroes"! The combination from old and new material is well done and matching together perfectly.
A little report resume: Director Umberto Lenzi filmed a remake of his own cucumber pumping it up with stock footage out of the "Castle Amati Dungeon". 
Thats Trash...and I love it!
Producer Edmondo Amati is the man behind this trash and it might be interesting to check his Spaghetti Western ("Kill them all and come back alone"/...) and especially his Spy Movies
(Agente 077/...) again. Any more dead body highlights in the cellar?

George Peppard Fuentiduena de Tajo
Press Shot comparison photo 2008
"From Hell to Victory" Star George Hamilton recently released a book about his life in Showbiz.
He called his spanish jobs Trash Movies (and thats what they are) and he loved them.
Its funny to read and great to see that he didn't take himself too serious and obviously
he had a lot of fun with those off-shore Jobs. 
Fuentiduena de Tajo
B-Movie Paradise
Madrid Emilio Ruiz