27 August 2012 | ma-cortes
Battle , drama , espionage and romance set against the background of Spanish Civil War
¨Blockade¨ is a passable film unmistakeably set against the background of Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) directed by William Dieterle , the original title of this film was "The River is Blue" and the first director was Lewis Milestone . The title was changed to "Castles in Spain," then to "Blockade" . It deals with two simple sheperd named Marco (Henry Fonda) and Luis (Leo Carrillo) who are forced to take up arms to defend his land during the Spanish Civil War . Along the way Marco falls in love with Russian aristocrat called Norma (Madeleine Carroll) whose father named Basil (Vladimir Sokoloff) is involved in espionage . Later on , Norma is also obligated to spy for Andre Gallinet (John Halliday) . There takes place a blockade about the small location named Castelmare with posters explaining : ¨Warning . Do not discuss military matters with strangers . Beware spies ¨.
The story doesn't take sides and was prohibited in some American cities in USA day since . Of course , it was also banned in Spain . The tale does not attempt to favor any cause in the present conflict. Care has been taken to prevent any costume of the production from being accurately that of either side in the Spanish civil war . The film was nominated Best Music, Original Score composed by Werner Janssen . Kurt Weill even wrote music for the original project that was never used. The movie can be seen nowadays as a War/romance/drama with some exciting images , well organized crowd and thrilling scenes . The topic of the Spanish Civil War was politically sensitive and there is some hint that the upheavals of the original project were due to the political content of the film. Much of the dialogue for the movie was supplied by the black-listed John Howard Lawson who was nominated ACademy Award for Best Writing, Original Story and novelist James M Cain (though uncredited and famous author of ¨The postman always rings twice¨) wrote interesting dialogs . The picture was professionally directed by William Dieterle but this film Blockade(1938) was too libertarian to keep him completely from the shadow of suspicion as a socialist sympathizer.
This German director had great artistic style and worked with much energy in providing some of Hollywood's and the world's crown jewels of cinematic art. He immigrated to the US and was in Hollywood by 1930s with the offer of directing for Warner Bros. and began directing their series of German-language versions of released films, including: Those Who Dance (1930), The Way of All Men (1930) and subsequently directing dramas (Scarlet down , Fog over Frisco , Fashions), costumer (Kismet,Omar Khayyan) and biopics (Life of Emile Zola , Dr Ehrlich , Juarez , Madame Curie , Reuter) that were a revelation at the box-office. Dieterle some of Warner's American output (his first, The Last Flight (1931), is now regarded as a masterwork) which would ramp up to his being at the helm of six pictures a year through 1934. After that , he directed an extravaganza ,William Shakespeare's "A Midsummers Night's Dream" . Dieterle would direct Paul Muni for Warner's in three first-rate Bio movies: The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), and Juarez (1939) Oscar nominations in all of them. After that , Dieterle moved on to do The hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) at RKO with Charles Laughton as Quasimodo that was one of Dieterle's best efforts . Through the 1940s, Dieterle moved around among the studios executing always vigorously wrought film work, such as, two 1940 Bios with Edward G. Robinson at Warner's. He became associated with independent producer David O. Selznick and actor Joseph Cotten first with his direction of I'll be seeing you (1944). Rating 'Blockade' : 6 , acceptable and passable . Worthwhile watching .