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The Spanish Earth (1937)

Unrated | | Documentary, War | 20 August 1937 (USA)
A documentary showing the struggle of the Spanish Republican government against a rebellion by ultra-right-wing forces led by Gen. Francisco Franco and backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.



(English narration), (English narration)
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Credited cast:
Manuel Azaña ...
Himself (President of Spain)
José Díaz ...
Himself (Parliamentarian)
Dolores Ibárruri ...
Herself (as La Pasionaria)
Enrique Lister ...
Himself (Republican Army)
Commander Martinez de Aragón ...
Himself (Republican Army)
Gustav Regler ...
Himself (German writer)
Narrator (English version) (later replaced by Ernest Hemingway) (voice)


This documentary tells of the struggles during the Spanish Civil War. It deals with the war at different levels: from the political level, at the ground military level focusing on battles in Madrid and the road from Madrid to Valencia, and at the support level. With the latter, a key project was building an irrigation system for an agricultural field near Fuentedueña so that food could be grown to feed the soldiers. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | War


Unrated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

20 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

This Spanish Earth  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Orson Welles recorded the commentary written by Ernest Hemingway and receives on-screen credit, but Hemingway decided to use his own voice instead. It is not clear which version of the film uses Hemingway's voice; the most common print does use the more cultured voice of Welles, which seemed jarring to members of the Contemporary Historians production company--formed by Herman Shumlin, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker, which produced the movie. Both versions are available. See more »


Orson Welles, Narrator: [Last lines] The men who never fought before, who are not trained in arms, who only wanted work and food, fight on.
See more »


Featured in Sosialismi (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Red blood sinking into the Spanish earth
26 May 2002 | by (Corrales, NM) – See all my reviews

Probably more shocking at the time, this dated essay on war documents the good peasants and peoples army vs. the bad professional army and foreign troops. One of the earlier times that a camera was permitted to document the horrors of war, the production attempts to tell the moral message of the righteousness of the Republican cause -- but ultimately the film denounces war itself. Despite its noble crew, the documentary is slow-moving and suffers from what appears to be a voice-over of a silent film. A must see for those who have to see something about the Spanish Civil War or who have to hear Hemingway's voice, but this is not an evening's entertainment. The Why We Fight series done by the US Army during World War II is far superior. The horrors of war were captured for the present generation on their TV screens during the Viet Nam War.

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