|Burt Kennedy, born september 3, 1922, was an American screenwriter and movie Director.
Best known for his numerous and popular Western films, both theatrical and for television.
He directed 3 remarkable "Big Screen" Western in Spain.
"Return of the Seven" (1966), "The Deserter" (1969) and "Hannie Caulder" (1971).
Director Burt Kennedy on "Return of the Seven" in his book "Hollywood Trail Boss":
"My next picture, Return of the Seven, which was the sequel to The Magnificent Seven, had to be
shot it spain. We were in the right country, but it took us about four weeks driving all over hell
to find where we wanted to build our various sets and shoot the picture.
We went to Malaga, all up and down the Costa del Sol and we ended up in Alicante, which is
a beautiful little seaport. Now, everyone who had been going over there had been shooting in
Almeria, so we went there first. We had two villages to build. We found the location to build
them about twenty miles outside of town (in Agost, ed.).
Actually, that wasn't too painful, except that in those days the flights from Madrid to Alicante
were pretty hairy, in that you flew down in a C-47, which is a great airplane but was about
forty years old at that time. There were no cement runways in those days.
The pilots would land these 47s on one wheel so that in case one tire blew, they still had one left.
I remember the first flight we took. I was with my first assistant, Pepe Lopez (that's Jose Lopez Rodero, ed.).
He hated to fly. When we were coming in over the coast, there were big cliffs.
The heat makes an updraft, and as we came over this cliff, we must have dropped five hundred feet.
The pilot was sitting in the seat behind me with a stewardess, and the copilot was flying the plane.
The pilot was trying to get up to the cockpit, and he had to crawl.
There was such a G-force it was just pushing him down into the floor.
But it's pretty hard to wreck one of those 47s. Poor Pepe never flew again.
In those days, I never went anywhere that I didn't have my seat belt on, but Pepe had taken his off,
and he went up to the ceiling, and I grabbed him. Everything on the plane came off.
They had curtains on the windows and they all came off, all the silverware went flying everywhere,
and people were screaming. But we landed, and found the locations within a short period of time...".
Burt Kennedy died on February 15, 2001.
|Director Burt Kennedy filming a scene for "Return of the Seven" in Colmenar de Oreja (Madrid, Spain).|
|The "Return of the Seven" production was supported by numerous Spanish experts.
The Dino de Laurentiis "The Deserter" production is more an italian production, more a Spaghetti Western than
any other Burt Kennedy Western. Only a very few spanish
experts being involved.
Burt Kennedy: "I told the italian cameraman (Aldo Tonti, ed.) to be careful around the horses - his first Western.
Cameraman stepped on by a horse - now he's careful.
This is the worst crew I've ever worked with."
|Burt Kennedy: "Arrived Rome to direct The Deserter. Western Costume: 220 cavalry outfits,
boots, hats, belts, and 25 scouts. The cavalry outfits are $33.75 a piece, $60 per officer and
$35.70 per scout. Arrived in Madrid. Went out to see the horses. Saddles are a problem.
Seems we have one hundred horses and they bought 25 saddles.
Staying in the same room at the Castellana Hilton where I stayed when I came here to make
Return of the Seven. I hope that isn't a bad sign."
|John Houston, Director Burt Kennedy and Bekim Fehmiu on the "Fort Bowie" Set in the desert of Tabernas (Almeria).
Burt Kennedy on John Houston: "He was a royal pain in the ass - with emphasis on the "royal"".
|The last remains of the extensive "Fort Bowie" Set, 2005. More can be discovered here: "Fort Bowie"|
|A little "Boot Camp" set was built in an area called "Las Salinillas" in the desert of Tabernas.
Here we see the "Deserter" cast posing with a Gatling Gun, 1969, ready for a first lesson in
Machine Gun Action.
|Comparison photo 2007 - Visit the dusty "Boot Camp" here: Las Salinillas|
|During a break in filming, Patrick Wayne (Son of John Wayne) plays a round of chess with Fausto Tozzi
on the Deserter Set at Balsicas de Alfaro (Almeria).
More about this interesting desert location can be found here: Balsicas de Alfaro
|"The Deserter" in the depths of the "Desierto de Tabernas". This desert location I always loved to explore.
It's a small Barranco of the Rambla Indalecio, called the Barranco de la Fuente.
|Comprison photo 2007 - Almost 40 years have passed, much sand and gravel was washed away.
Every heavy rain can change this Barranco. Learn more about it here: Barranco de la Fuente
|Bekim Fehmiu filming a scene in El Torcal de Antequera (Malaga), 1969.||Comparison photo 2005 - Discover this great place: El Torcal de Antequera|
|"The worst, or the most time-consuming, and the most tiring, was trying to find the locations for
The Deserter for Dino de Laurentiis. We went to Spain, where the picture was eventually shot.
We had to go to a location outside of Malaga, up in the mountains, El Torcal.
It was a murderous location, two hours from the hotel."
Burt Kennedy in his book "Hollywood Trail Boss", 1997.
Another little Burt Kennedy anecdote:
"Drove from Malaga to Almeria - six hours, twenty-three hundred curves."
Thanks to new and modern roads, it is much easier today.
|Director Burt Kennedy never was really happy with the "Hannie Caulder" production.
"The company ran out of money..." a few days after the starting of the production (January 18, 1971).
"It's hard to believe, but I'm on a plane to New York, then out to see a cut of Hannie Caulder.
The Producers claimed I was in breach of contract, which I wasn't.
The only way I could stay out of court and get the money the owe me..."
Burt Kennedy in his book "Hollywood Trail Boss". Other qoutes from his book:
"June 2, 1971 - Got to London to find they had cut Hannie Caulder into a mess..."
"July 21, 1971 - This is hard to believe, but I'm back in London for the final cut of Hannie Caulder.
This isn't a picture, it's a way of life."
|I made a few location expeditions for "Hannie Caulder".
But the movie has not much to offer for "location archaeologists".
No great effort in the shooting locations.
Jose Alguero (Direccion Artistica) has nothing special to prepare.
Without Raquel Welch the film would be a sleeping pill!
Burt Kennedy about "Hannie Caulder": "Raquel is playing woman gunfighter in a serape.
Sergio would probably call it A titful of Dollars ... without her (Raquel Welch, ed.),
we have no film."