IMDb > Christopher Columbus (1949)
Christopher Columbus
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Christopher Columbus (1949) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Rafael Sabatini (novel) and
Muriel Box (writer)
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Contact:
View company contact information for Christopher Columbus on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 December 1949 (Sweden) See more »
Tagline:
The greatest adventure man ever lived!
Plot:
Christopher Columbus overcomes intrigue at the Spanish court and convinces Queen Isabella that his plan to reach the East by sailing west is practical. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (David MacDonald, 1949) *** See more (8 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Fredric March ... Christopher Columbus
Florence Eldridge ... Queen Isabella
Francis L. Sullivan ... Francisco de Bobadilla
Kathleen Ryan ... Beatriz Enriquez de Arana
Derek Bond ... Diego de Arana
Nora Swinburne ... Joanna de Torres

Abraham Sofaer ... Luis de Santangel
Linden Travers ... Beatriz de Peraza

James Robertson Justice ... Martin Alonso Pinzon
Dennis Vance ... Francisco Pinzon
Richard Aherne ... Vicente Yañez Pinzon
Felix Aylmer ... Father Perez
Francis Lister ... King Ferdinand
Edward Rigby ... Pedro
Niall MacGinnis ... Juan de la Cosa
Ralph Truman ... Captain
Ronald Adam ... Talavera
Guy Le Feuvre ... Admiral
Lyn Evans ... Lope
David Cole ... Diego Columbus - Columbus' Son
Hugh Pryse ... Almoner
Stuart Lindsell ... Prior
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Valentine Dyall ... Narrator (voice)
William Monroe Cypert ... Antonio Camino (uncredited)

Thelma Grigg ... Lady in waiting (uncredited)
Anthony Steel ... Messenger (uncredited)
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Directed by
David MacDonald 
 
Writing credits
Rafael Sabatini (novel "Christopher Columbus")

Muriel Box  writer
Sydney Box  writer
Cyril Roberts  writer

Produced by
Betty E. Box .... producer
Sydney Box .... executive producer
A. Frank Bundy .... producer
Alfred Roome .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Arthur Bliss 
 
Cinematography by
Stephen Dade 
 
Film Editing by
Vladimir Sagovsky 
 
Production Design by
Maurice Carter 
 
Art Direction by
George Provis (supervising art director)
 
Costume Design by
Joan Ellacott 
Elizabeth Haffenden 
 
Makeup Department
W.T. Partleton .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Anthony Nelson Keys .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Don Weeks .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Leslie Hammond .... sound recordist
Bill Salter .... sound recordist (as W. Salter)
B.C. Sewell .... sound director
Claude Hitchcock .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Alfred Davis .... special effects
Albert Whitlock .... special effects (as A. Whitlock)
Philippo Guidobaldi .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
David Harcourt .... camera operator
Reg Johnson .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Doris Lee .... assistant costume designer
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
Doreen Carwithen .... composer: additional music, Spanish Court dances (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Arthur Alcott .... production controller
Joan Bridge .... associate color director
Alex Bryce .... location manager
Cyril Hughes Hartmann .... historical advisor
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Cyril J. Knowles .... location and special effects photography
Paddy Girdlestone .... continuity (uncredited)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
99 min | West Germany:105 min | Finland:94 min (Finland: video)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Cyril Cusack was cast in this film but dropped out before filming could began.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Opening narration perpetuates the myth that people of Columbus' time thought the Earth was flat when in fact they knew it was spherical. Later, when Columbus discusses his plan with Father Perez and another friar, the friars clearly know that the world is round.See more »
Quotes:
Father Perez:I see you're a scholar, my son, as well as a traveler.
Christopher Columbus:Certainly a traveler, Father. I've sailed as far north as Iceland, as far south as Guinea, and eastward to the Golden Horn.
Father Perez:But that is to have reached the limits of the World.
Christopher Columbus:Of the known world? Yes, Father, but the actual world... not by a thousand leagues.
Father Perez:How can you say that - never having seen it?
Christopher Columbus:Have you ever seen Heaven or Hell?
Father Perez:We have sound reasons for believing they exist.
Christopher Columbus:I have sound reasons too.
Father Perez:What are they?
Christopher Columbus:The same as yours, Father, and revelations to which I can add cosmography and mathematics.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Cristóbal Colón (1943)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (David MacDonald, 1949) ***, 18 March 2014
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta

It is very odd that this prestigious 1949 Technicolor production should emanate from Britain – dealing as it does with the Italian explorer who discovered America, a nation which had to fight the very British monarchy to attain its independence! Perhaps it was bankrolled as a token of appreciation towards the U.S. for having joined the Allied Forces in WWII; if so, I cannot say that it was particularly appreciated at the time as it was a resounding box-office flop. In fact the film is often dismissed as a tedious costumer but, while no classic for sure, I found it to be a well-crafted and engrossing picture buoyed by a good cast and fine production values.

Since Columbus was 41 when he set sail for The New World, the casting of 52-year old Fredric March to portray him here may seem to have been a strange choice; indeed he is fitted with a most unbecoming white-haired wig for the film's entire duration but one cannot deny the fact that he gives the role his utmost in stature and dignity – after all, Columbus was firstly an inspired cartographer then a swaggering adventurer. Indeed, March's real-life wife Florence Eldridge is also present here as Queen Isabella of Spain who, after the initial but long-winded skepticism, lends a sympathetic ear to Columbus' pleas for funding his exploratory marine enterprise (though what ultimately propels this is pure movie fabrication!). The rest of the cast list is peppered with familiar faces from post-WWII British cinema: Francis L. Sullivan and Linden Travers (as Columbus' major opponent in the Spanish court and his attractive scandalous cousin who tries to ensnare the former); Derek Bond and Niall McGinnis (as Columbus' companion and navigator – his major allies during his tumultuous sea voyage); Felix Aylmer and Abraham Sofaer (as the Queen's former confessor and Chancellor – Columbus' first champions who were instrumental in obtaining him royal favour); James Robertson Justice and Edward Rigby (as the ambitious and ultimately treacherous Captain Pinzon and a perennially grumpy mutineering sailor).

Needless to say, the producers' aim here was less to instruct than to entertain and, as such it may seem surprising today to find that half of the film's relatively trim 104-minute length is spent in court intrigues that dissipate Columbus' energy but not his spirit. The initial sea voyage that almost ended in mutiny and failure takes up the next quarter of the film while the arrival on land, the meeting with and subsequent colonization of the natives, Columbus' first triumphant return to Spain and his disgraceful second one in chains (at the behest of incoming governor Sullivan) and eventual disillusionment and abandonment by the Spanish crown are crammed into the last quarter of an hour! Although the TCM-sourced print (which cut off rather too abruptly during the end credits!) I watched was hardly pristine, with the colour looking especially insipid, I still managed to enjoy Stephen Dade's cinematography and Arthur Bliss' rousing score.

For the record, this is the fifth movie about the Italian explorer I have gotten under my belt, following the star-studded eponymous 1985 partly-shot-in-Malta Italian TV mini-series and the 3 disparate but simultaneous cinematic renditions made in time for the 500th anniversary of the historical event: George Pan Cosmatos' CHRISTOPER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY (also partly shot on our shores), Ridley Scott's 1492: THE CONQUEST OF PARADISE and the spoof CARRY ON COLUMBUS (a one-off revival of the popular comedy franchise). Apparently, Anthony Dexter also played him in Irwin Allen's infamous historical charade THE STORY OF MANKIND (1957) and I also have a four-part Italian TV mini-series from 1968 directed by Vittorio Cottafavi and starring Spanish actor Francisco Rabal in my unwatched pile.

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