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The Siege (1950)

Agustina de Aragón (original title)
1808. During the Spanish Independence war the city of Zaragoza is besieged by French troops. Spanish forces under General Palafox are scarce. Brave Agustina doesn't hesitate to lead the ... See full summary »

Director:

Juan de Orduña
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aurora Bautista ... Agustina
Virgilio Teixeira ... Juan, el Bravo
Fernando Rey ... General Palafox / Lorenzo, el pastor
Manuel Luna ... Tío Francisco
Eduardo Fajardo ... Luis Montana
Jesús Tordesillas ... Coronel Torres
Guillermo Marín ... Napoléon Bonaparte
Juan Espantaleón ... Tío Jorge
Fernando Fernández de Córdoba ... Gobernador (as Fernando Fdez. de Córdoba)
Raúl Cancio ... Maño
Fernando Sancho ... Escudella
Fernando Nogueras ... Fernando
José Bódalo ... Capitán francés
José Jaspe
Manuel Arbó ... Padre
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Storyline

1808. During the Spanish Independence war the city of Zaragoza is besieged by French troops. Spanish forces under General Palafox are scarce. Brave Agustina doesn't hesitate to lead the battle and even fire a cannon to stop the invaders when others run away. Based on historical facts. Written by BSK

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Genres:

Drama | History | War

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Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

26 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Siege See more »

Filming Locations:

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Zaragoza siege gave birth to the famous jota "La Virgen del Pilar dice" (see soundtrack). See more »

Soundtracks

La Virgen del Pilar dice
(jota)
Sung by popular chorus at the plaza during resistance to the siege
Lyrics : excerpt from Coplas de la Virgen del Pilar, anonymous, also attributed to Juan Bautista Arriaza) : La Virgen del Pilar dice / que no quiere ser francesa / que quiere ser capitana / de la tropa aragonesa
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User Reviews

 
Classical and spectacular Spanish film, based on historical facts happened during the Spanish Independence war
17 November 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Agustina of Aragón was a Spanish heroine who defended Spain during the Spanish War of Independence , first as a civilian and later as a professional officer in the Spanish Army . Known as "the Spanish Joan of Arc" , considered to be the saviour of Zaragoza , she has been the subject of much folklore , mythology , and artwork , including sketches by Francisco de Goya and the poetry of Lord Byron . Narrated in a long flash black in which Agustina arrives in the Royal Palace accompanied by General Torres (Jesús Tordesillas) . It starts with Napoleon (Guillermo Marin) orders his Generals to invade Spain but then occur insurrection in Mostoles , Bruch and Valencia . While Agustina (Aurora Bautista) goes out of Barcelona to Zaragoza to marry her fiancé Luis Montana (Eduardo Fajardo) who results to be an ¨Afrancesado¨ . But a pursued man accompanies her in the stagecoach . Before dying at a confrontation with a sadistic French lieutenant (José Bódalo) , he gives to her an important document she has to deliver to Lorenzo ¨El Pastor¨ (Fernando Rey) . Thanks to a brave Guerrillero called Juan (Virgilio Texeira) , she gets to arrive in her destination . Later on , the Zaragoza siege takes place and Agustina becomes a leader in the resistance . Then , the city of Zaragoza is really besieged by French troops and Spanish forces under General Palafox (Fernando Rey) are scarce . By the time of the siege , French army choked with vast numbers of refugees fleeing the advancing Grande Armée . In early June 1808 , the French began to advance on Zaragoza, which had not seen war for about 450 years and was held by a tiny provincial force under José de Palafox , whose heroism would come to rival Agustina's .

This is a remake to original film titled ¨Agustina De Aragon¨ (1929) by Florian Rey . The picture is divided in two parts : The first one is the best , being developed as an adventure movie and plenty of action and suspense . The second part deals with the Zaragoza siege , filled with successive battles and fights and it is packed with strong ideological charge . As in the fifties Spain was isolated from other other countries , suffering starvation and shortages similarly to the besieged people . The flick is marred by overacting , most of them play similarly to stage actors ; as the influence of the theater in players results to be extreme and embarrassing , specially by Aurora Bautista who gives a ridiculous and histrionic performance . The settings (Sevilla studios) are acceptable though mostly made in ¨Carton-Piedra (stone)¨ as well as matte-painting . Very good cinematography in black and white by Ted Pahle . And atmospheric score by Juán Quintero , including evocative songs and Aragon ¨Jotas¨ . The film is dedicated to ¨The sons of the Spanish Independence¨ . The motion picture was lavishly produced by CIFESA , the most known production company during Francoist period , that often financed these false but breathtaking historical spectacles , being professionally directed by Juán De Orduña at his best . With director Florian Rey formed the production company "Goya Films" . Juán adapted to cinema famous novels such as Zalacaín El Aventurero , Cañas Y Barro , El Frente De Los Suspiros , Nobleza Baturra , Lola Se Va a Los Huertos , being especially known for his historical renditions such as Teresa De Jesus , Alba De América , La Leona De Castilla , Agustina De Aragón and Locura De Amor . His most successful picture was El Ultimo Cuple with Sara Montiel .

The picture is based on historical events : As valiant Agustina (March 4, 1786 – May 29, 1857) uprising against the French and doesn't hesitate to lead the battle and even fire a cannon to stop the invaders when others escape . On June 15, 1808, the French army stormed the Portillo, an ancient gateway into the city defended by a hodgepodge battery of old cannons and a heavily outnumbered volunteer unit. Agustina, arriving on the ramparts with a basket of apples to feed the gunners, watched the nearby defenders fall to French bayonets. The Spanish troops broke ranks, having suffered heavy casualties, and abandoned their posts. With the French troops a few yards away, Agustina herself ran forward, loaded a cannon, and lit the fuse, shredding a wave of attackers at point blank range. The sight of a lone woman bravely manning the cannons inspired the fleeing Spanish troops and other volunteers to return and assist her. After a bloody struggle, the French gave up the assault on Zaragosa and abandoned their siege for a few short weeks before returning to fight their way into the city, house-by-house. With the human cost proving truly terrible on both sides and the city's defences hopelessly compromised, Palafox finally accepted the inevitable and was forced to surrender the city to the French. Despite the eventual defeat, Agustina's action became an inspiration to those opposing the French. After being captured, she was imprisoned and saw Eugenio die at the hands of her French guards. She subsequently mounted a daring escape and became a low-level rebel leader for the guerrilleros, helping to organise raids and attacks that harassed the French. As the strategic situation deteriorated for the French Army, her role became increasingly orthodox as supplies and training were covertly provided by the Duke of Wellington. Agustina began to fight for the allied forces as Wellington's only female officer and ultimately rose to the rank of Captain . According to some sources on June 21, 1813, she acted as a front line battery commander at the Battle of Vitoria under the command of Major Cairncross, who reported directly to Wellington himself.


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