The Spanish Earth

A hard-hitting, poignant documentary on the innocent lives ruined by the Spanish Civil War – narrated by Ernest Hemingway and directed by Joris Ivens!
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Format:  DVD-R
sku:  ALP 8038D
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DVD Features:

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 2 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: February 13, 2018
  • Originally Released: 1937
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)

Entertainment Reviews:


User Ratings: 236
A lion's share of the fault lies in the narration, the kind of one-sided screen advocacy journalism that has resurfaced in contemporary non-fictions and based-ons. Full Review
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mar 8, 2009
Rating: 3/5 -- Its technique is that of the film document, but Hemingway's narrative makes it a definitely propagandist effort. Full Review
New York Times
Mar 25, 2006
The film develops parallel connections between farmers creating an irrigation system and civilian defenders of the besieged Spanish republic. Full Review
Chicago Reader
Jan 1, 2000
Rating: B -- Serves as both a look at the humanity of the Loyalist followers and as an historical footnote to a significant time in the modern history of Spain. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Jul 31, 2007

Description by

In late 1936, during the height of the Spanish Civil War, a consortium of American artists and intellectuals – including Ernest Hemingway, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, and Archibald MacLeish – banded together to produce a motion picture to support the democratically-elected Spanish Republic government. After raising three thousand dollars, the group (now calling themselves Contemporary Historians, Inc.) sent Dutch documentarian Joris Ivens to Spain, with instructions to capture on film common people affected by the war. Ivens chose to focus on the small village of Fuentedueña, where 1,500 townspeople were attempting to irrigate the dry, cracked earth. This was in hopes of providing nourishment for the soldiers fighting against the right-wing forces led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco (and backed by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi war machine.) Using a brutally realist style, Ivens' camera captures the heartbreaking futility of the villagers' efforts, and punctuates it with scenes of the horrific warfare happening nearby. Once the footage had been assembled in America, a voice-over was recorded for the film by young radio and stage actor, Orson Welles, who had recently starred in Archibald MacLeish's play Panic . However, Ernest Hemingway felt that Welles's voice was too soft and cultured for the subject at hand. He subsequently re-wrote and re-recorded the narration in his own brusque, red-blooded manner. (Despite this, Orson's name remains in the credits of the film.) The Spanish Earth had its premiere at the White House on July 7, 1937. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it "a film...the world should see."

BONUS: Moorish Spain (1931): The Arabic influence on Spain is explained in this installment of RKO's Vagabond Adventure Series. Narrated by Alois Havrilla, host of CBS's popular Strange as It Seems radio show (1935-1940).

Product Description:

A documentary written and narrated by Ernest Hemingway about the Spanish Civil War and attendant land reform. Hemingway stepped in to narrate when the voice of a young Orson Welles, still listed in the credits, was considered to be not strong enough for this powerful documentary.
This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.
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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 46,445
  • UPC: 089218803894
  • Shipping Weight: 0.20/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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