The Spanish Earth (1937): the circumstances of its production, the film and its reception in the United States and United Kingdom

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Houssart, Mark (2016)

I examine the political significance of the classic documentary The Spanish Earth in the context of the Spanish Civil War, 1936 1939, challenging Russell Campbell’s argument that it should be considered in the light of ‘an overriding need for unity in the face of the enemy’. I argue instead that the film reflected the international Communist agenda. This emphasized defence of the Republic rather than engaging with its political complexities or with the demands of urban workers. I underline the film’s rural and Castilian focus, and describe its reception in the United States and United Kingdom, before offering an explanation for its continued currency in those countries, and an overview of the consequences.
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