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9 user 2 critic

Christopher Columbus (1949)

Christopher Columbus overcomes intrigue at the Spanish court and convinces Queen Isabella that his plan to reach the East by sailing west is practical.

Director:

David MacDonald

Writers:

Rafael Sabatini (novel), Muriel Box | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Richard Aherne ... Vicente Yañez Pinzon
Felix Aylmer ... Father Perez
Francis Lister ... King Ferdinand
Edward Rigby ... Pedro
Niall MacGinnis ... Juan de la Cosa
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Storyline

Using a letter of introduction from Queen Isabella's former confessor, Christopher Columbus gains access to the Spanish court where he tries to convince authorities of the practicality of his proposed voyage to reach to Far East by sailing west. Court intrigue and the efforts of Francisco de Bobadilla, whose financial interests would be hurt by Columbus' success, are roadblocks to the voyage, but the navigator perseveres and ultimately prevails. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest adventure man ever lived!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of seven films Fredric March made with his wife, Florence Eldridge. See more »

Goofs

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, ...
See more »

Connections

Version of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) See more »

User Reviews

 
Isabella, Really Liked This Fella
16 May 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I'm not sure what compelled Fredric March and Florence Eldridge to do this British film for J. Arthur Rank based on the life of Christopher Columbus. Or at least an interpretation of that life as come down in popular culture. It didn't add much to either of their reputations, but I suppose did no harm.

March is in the title role of the intrepid Genoese sea captain who is credited with the discovery of America. By America of course we mean the western hemisphere and not the USA. Columbus never did make it in any of his four voyages to the lower 48.

One thing that is a weakness of this film for American audiences is that this it is not made clear that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were joint rulers, she was not just a consort Queen. Earlier in Spanish history, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile married and that marriage unified Spain as a nation. But both were monarchs in their own right. It's clear to me, but I fear not to others as to why Florence Eldridge as Queen Isabella can in fact act independently as she does.

Francis L. Sullivan is Count Bobadilla who became Columbus's enemy at court and he plays it in the grand and florid Sullivan manner. He's always a joy to watch in any film, no matter how good or bad it is.

The greatness of Columbus lies in two things, the fact that he had an idea about sailing west in an effort to find a shorter route for trade with the Orient. He was in fact, wrong as you can be on that score. He based his calculations on the fact that he thought the earth much smaller than it really was. But he persisted and eventually sold the notion to the Castilian Queen.

Secondly though, whatever else he was, Columbus was one incredibly good sea captain. In a voyage into unknown territory he kept his crew together for about two months until land was sighted in what is now the Bahamas.

The film itself has quite a few dry patches. It's dull retelling of an exciting adventure. For their time, the special effects are good, but are pretty dated now. It's obvious the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria are all models in a tank.

A couple of films were done in time for the 500 anniversary of the first voyage that were more accurate in the detail. You probably are better off seeing either of them.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 1949 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Christopher Columbus See more »

Filming Locations:

Barbados See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Finland: video)

Sound Mix:

B.A.F. Sound System

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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