Production Designer: Julio Molina de Juanes


The architect of the incredible Fortress 'El Condor' was the 'Production Designer' 
Julio Molina de Juanes, born September 14, 1919 in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa, Spain).
He began his long career in the late forties and worked as Set Decoration assistant 
for the legendary spanish Art Director Antonio Simont in the fifties.
In 1955 he has participated, like so many others, as Set Decorator for the tremendous 
production 'Alexander the Great'.
He could then work for more international productions like 
'Around the World in 80 days' (Michael Anderson), Don Siegels 'Spanish Affair' 
and Ken Annakins 'Across the Bridge', before he worked as Set Decorator for the magnificent Mogul 
Samuel Bronston on the 'John Paul Jones' and '55 days of Peking' Sets.
All this of course without getting any credit for his work.
After the collapse of the 'Bronston Empire', Julio Molina worked for the renowned writer and 
producer Philip Yordan on various of his projects as set Decorator, production designer and 
Art Director. He worked on 'Battle of the Bulge', 'Royal Hunt of the Sun', 'Custer of the West' 
and 'Krakatoa' for Philip Yordan before he made the Production Design for the John Guillermin 
Western 'El Condor'. 
After the great challenge to build the colossal fortress 'El Condor', Philip Yordan needed 
Julio Molina again. Yordan wants him to build an entire Western Town Set for his new Studio, 
'Estudios Madrid 70' ('em70', Daganzo). 
He had some western movies on hold and wanted to establish his own (independent) studio in 
order to reduce production costs.
Julio Molina worked as production designer and Art Director for the first 'em70' movies,
'A town called Hell', 'Captain Apache', 'Bad Man's River' and 'Pancho Villa'. 
Later he was the Art Director for 'The Spikes Gang' and 'Take a hard ride'.
One of his last movies was the Christian Anders and Antonio Tarruella trash flick 'Roots of Evil', 
in the late seventies.

Fortress 'El Condor', 1969. The largest ever built Western Fort Set in Spain.
Designed and built by Julio Molina de Juanes and his assistant José María Alarcón and 
the Set Decoration Crew of Enrique Fernández and Rafael Ablanque.

'El Condor', at the construction site, 1969.
From left to right: Julio Molina (Production Designer), Antonio 'Tony' Tarruella (Assistant Director) 
and Robert 'Bob' Watts (Production Manager).
Chief visit! Director John Guillermin (striped shirt) informs himself about 
the progress on the construction site of the Fortress.
Production Designer Julio Molina explains him the situation flanked by Bob Watts (Production Manager) 
and Tony Tarruella (Assistant Director).
A richly illustrated report on the construction of the fortress will follow shortly.
Already during the construction phase numerous special effects were planned and prepared.
All that and so much more exclusively on www.kit-west-almeria.com.
In 1955 Julio Molina worked as Set Decorator for the Robert Rossen (Director) epic 
'Alexander the Great'. The Art Director Andrej Andrejew had a big spanish Set Decoration 
and Construction Crew and Molina was one of them (uncredited) next to Francisco Prosper, 
Francisco R. Asensio, Gil Parrondo and others.
Here you see the Set built on a hill near El Molar (Madrid).
El Molar, 1955.
Charlton Heston and his son Fraser honor the great mogul Samuel Bronston.
An enormous Crew of Spanish specialists worked under the tutelage of Veniero Colasanti and 
John Moore (Production Design and Art Direction) for the '55 days of Peking' production.
Julio Molina was one of them (all uncredited).
'55 days at Peking', 1962.
The huge Set, composed of over 85 buildings, is a replica of the city of Peking at the turn 
of the century, during the period of the Boxer Rebellion.
Julio Molina worked on many projects for Philip Yordan (Writer and Producer).
A go-getting survivor of the 'Bronston breakdown'.
On 'Battle of the Bulge' Julio Molina worked uncredited with many other 
spanish Set Decorators and Construction technicians for Yordan.
In the Sevilla Films Studios Francisco Prosper, Rafael Garcia and Julio Molina
built the Ambleve Town Set for 'Battle of the Bulge'.
Later Molina became the Art Director of the Philip Yordan studio, 
the 'em70' in Daganzo (Madrid).
German 'Battle of the Bulge' Lobby Card. 
The Bridge Set was built near Segovia (Spain) using a real bridge. 
Great design, I like the swimming stones!
See my report here: 'Our River Bridge'.
'Custer of the West' was a big epic Western Movie production of Philip Yordan.
Art Direction by Eugène Lourié, Jean d'Eaubonne and Julio Molina.
Julio Molina built a Fort Set (photo) on the backlot of the Sevilla Films Studios (Madrid).
Not a complete Fort, just a 3 sided one for inside footage.
Filming a scene for 'Custer of the West', Colmenar Viejo, 1967.
All scenes that show the Fort from the outside were filmed in the Dehesa de Navalvillar 
(Colmenar Viejo) using an existing Western Fort Set.
See my report here: 'Fort Colmenar'
'Custer of the West' - La Dehesa de Navalvillar, 1967.
I have no idea what the guys are doing here?
Was Custer sailing to the 'Battle of the Little Bighorn'?
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Straight after the 'Royal Hunt of the Sun' Production, Producer Philip Yordan was looking for 
something new. A new project, a new idea. 
He had the experience, the contacts and he was in the position to run his own little Studio, 
his own empire.
Bernard Gordon, a writer and producer himself and a close friend of Philip Yordan:
"To my surprise, this dream seemed to be evolving credibly." ('Hollywood Exile').
In 1969 Philip Yordan aquired a property just outside of Madrid.
His Art Director and Set Designer Julio Molina worked hard and they developed the lot with
a few buildings. 
In 1970 the 'Estudios Madrid 70' near Daganzo (Madrid) was born.
Bernard Gordon: "The 'studio' was not much - offices, dressing rooms, a warehouse, and a 
standing Western street with a substantial wall, a tower an a well-built church, finished 
inside and out. The street was minimal, not much more than a cantina, which was all that 
the Mexican pueblo BASTARD had called for. 
But the wall, tower and church were impressive enough, and we could see how, with the 
erection of a few storefronts and a hotel, the requirements for CAPTAIN APACHE would be met.".
The 'impressive' parts are very similar to the fortress 'El Condor', all designed by 
Julio Molina.
The above photo of the 'Estudios Madrid 70' was made during my last visit, July 2010.
The Storefronts and wood constructions are long gone. 
The photo shows the 'Hotel/Saloon' built for the 'Captain Apache' production 
(Art Director Julio Molina).
In the background you can see the last remains of the impressive Church and the Tower of 
the 'Bastard' town Set on top of the hill, still dominating the property after all these years.
But I wouldn't wait to long if you want to see them.
The 'Bastard' Set ruin on top of the hill, Daganzo 2010.
The fountain still looks pretty good.
'em70' - Estudios Madrid 70 - Daganzo, 2010.
For the western 'Pancho Villa' Julio Molina designed a small model railroad track on the 
'em70' property. They built a great model train with several well-made waggons.
On the photo you can see the old railroad embankment.
Producer Philip Yordan used the excellent Train equipment again for 
the 'Horror Express' production. 
A brilliant spanish exploitation movie with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Telly Savalas.
A short train sequence of 'Horror Express' was cut into the Ken Annakin movie 'Call of the Wild' (1972)???
An underexposed adventure trash movie. 
Actor Charlton Heston once called 'Call of the Wild' his worst film.
Anyway, I get the curve and come back to Kit West.
The first few minutes of 'Call of the Wild' were filmed in Spain and the hot special effects 
in the frozen Oslo (Norway) were made by Kit West!

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