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Seven Cities of Gold (1955)

In 1769, a Spanish expedition to California seeks to conquer the land and discover its famed gold treasures while missionaries aim to gain new converts and establish a network of Catholic missions.

Director:

Robert D. Webb

Writers:

Richard L. Breen (screenplay), John C. Higgins (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Egan ... Jose Mendoza
Anthony Quinn ... Capt. Gaspar de Portola
Michael Rennie ... Father Junipero Serra
Jeffrey Hunter ... Matuwir
Rita Moreno ... Ula
Eduardo Noriega ... Sergeant
Leslie Bradley ... Galves
John Doucette ... Juan Coronel
Víctor Junco ... Lt. Faces
Julio Villarreal ... Pilot Vila (as Julio Villareal)
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Storyline

In the eighteenth century, a Spanish expedition is looking for seven cities of gold in a territory now known as California. A very difficult task due the opposition of the aborigines, but perhaps a divine intervention could help the Spaniards to save the life. Written by Luis Carvacho <lcarvach@lascar.puc.cl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the story of the making...and the forging...of California...when men chose gold or God...the sword or the Cross! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1956 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gun and the Cross See more »

Filming Locations:

Topanga Canyon, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Fr Junipero Serra was beatified (called "blessed") by the Catholic Church some years ago, which is the first step towards sainthood. He is now referred to as Blessed Junipero Serra. See more »

Goofs

Two historical characters' names were misspelled: Faces should have been Fages; and Galves should have been Galvez. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Epic adventure drama based on historical deeds about the Spanish priest Fray Junipero Serra
25 May 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

In the 16th , 17th , 18th centuries, the Spaniards in New Spain (now Mexico) began to hear rumours of "Seven Cities of Gold" called "Cíbola" located across the desert, hundreds of miles to the north . The stories may have their root in an earlier Portuguese legend about seven cities founded on the island of Antillia by a Catholic expedition in the 8th century . The later Spanish tales were largely caused by reports given by the four shipwrecked survivors of the failed Narváez expedition, which included Álvar Núñez Cabeza De Vaca . This is the story of the making...and the forging...of California...when men chose gold or God...the sword or the Cross! . As the adventurers said they had heard stories from natives about cities with great and limitless riches . As the film deals with an expedition of Spanish conquistadors led by Capt. Gaspar De Portola (Anthony Quinn) who along with military and missionaries descend in 18th century California looking for secret Indian caches of gold . Along the way they suffer attacks , pains , and sacrifices , due the strong opposition of the aborigines . Meanwhile , roughnecks and Indians (Jeffrey Hunter , Rita Moreno) learn ways of God , thanks to Father Junipero Serra (Michael Rennie) . While traveling on foot from Vera Cruz in search for the seven fabled wealthy cities of gold , he injured his leg in such a way that he suffered from it throughout , though he continued to make his journeys on foot whenever possible , and he efforts to establish missions . As when in 1769 the party reached San Diego on July 1, Father Serra stayed behind to start the Mission San Diego De Alcalá, the first of the 21 California missions .

Regular semi-lavish costume epic based on historic facts about conquistadors and missionaries in search for fabled Indian treasure in Western US , California . This colorful picture contains thrills , emotion , religious feeling , and wonderful outdoors from Mexico . Interesting , though a little boring screenplay by John Higgins based on the novel "The Nine Days of Father Serra" written by Isabelle Gibson . Main cast gives passable interpretation such as as Richard Egan , Michael Rennie and Anthony Quinn . Being accompanied by a notorious support cast as Rita Moreno , Jeffrey Hunter , John Doucette , and Mexican actors as Eduardo Noriega . Thrilling as well as sensitive musical score by Hugo Friedhofer . Luxurious cinematography by Lucien Ballard in CinemaScope and shot in Mexico : Guadalajara, Jalisco and Manzanillo . The motion picture was middlingly directed by Robert D. Webb.

The flick was based on actual deeds about a famous Father , Fray Junipero Serra . He was born (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) in Petra , Majorca . He was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California in the Province of Las Californias in New Spain. The Franciscans took over the administration of the missions on the Baja California Peninsula from the Jesuits after King Carlos III ordered them forcibly expelled from New Spain on February 3, 1768. Serra became the "Father Presidente." On March 12, 1768, Serra embarked from the Pacific port of San Blas on his way to the Californias. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near Monterey, California, at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. The missions were primarily designed to convert the natives. Other aims were to integrate the neophytes into Spanish society, and to train them to take over ownership and management of the land. As head of the order in California, Serra not only dealt with church officials, but also with Spanish officials in Mexico City and with the local military officers who commanded the nearby Presidios (garrisons). Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988 and Pope Francis expects to canonize him in September 2015 during his first visit to the United States.


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