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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:

CinemaScope revives the glorious days when Father Junipero Serra stopped the Conquistadors from looting Seven Cities of Gold...turned them to raising the wondrous seven mission cities of God! 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 »
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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

Edward Dmytryk was originally assigned to direct (The Hollywood Reporter, August 1954). 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

All that's gold does not glitter...
3 December 2003 | by Poseidon-3See all my reviews

There's a mixture of interesting drama and camp in this story of Spanish conquest over California Native Americans. Egan and Quinn play Spanish officers who are on the lookout for the title cities, but who are saddled with priest Rennie who is along for the ride to build a mission. The men don't see eye to eye on how to handle the "Indian problem" and this lends itself to some nice discussion of and demonstration of the tactics used to control them. Eventually, the human elements of both the "whites" and the Indians begin to blend, but not without difficulty and eventually with great sacrifice. Contemporary audiences will be surprised that Egan is top-billed over Quinn and has the more substantial role. Even though Quinn is the authority figure in charge, the story is more about Egan. Quinn is believable as a Spaniard (as he was as so many other nationalities in his career!), but Egan is about as Spanish as William Bendix!! His flat American accent and obviously non-Latin coloring create a sensory paradox when he is onscreen. Rennie is also far from Spanish, but manages to pull it off better with a less distinct accent. All three male leads do a decent enough job acting-wise, but never really catch fire. The only other performers of note are Hunter and Moreno as natives. Hunter gives his usual impassioned performance (unfortunately covered in war paint most of the time) in one of many roles that were beneath his ability. Moreno gets very little to do, but tries to inject some emotion into the proceedings. While the Cinemascope lens captures some awesomely beautiful scenery, it also keeps the actors at a distance. Time and again, dramatic and emotional moments are played in practically long shots! There are very few close-ups in the movie. The two most beautiful cast members (Hunter and Moreno) get nothing closer than a two-shot. This puts a sort of wall up that detracts from the emotional investment in the story. Then there's the camp factor. It begins immediately with a hilarious voice-over that exclaims how accurate the story is and that the only change that was made is that the "words will be set in English." PLEASE! Moreno and Hunter, while compelling performers, are given ridiculous wigs and clothing to wear. Attempts at humor, handled adeptly by Hunter, seem to add a corny aspect to the otherwise serious film. There's a bizarre interlude with Egan and Rennie finding shelter in a sandstorm. The sword-and-sandal crowd may find themselves trying to spot Egan's winky as it veers to the left in his clingy green trousers (with oh-so-festive red cummerbund.) In all, it's a pretty, sometimes engaging movie, but rather silly at times and lacking any real emotional resonance.


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