Fine Gold (1989) is a strange film, and one aimed at showcasing Rioja wine more than anything else, although it does include a 74 year old Stewart Granger and that nasty lizard Diana from the TV series ‘V’, Jane Badler in human form.
Stewart was in fact returning to the country where, many years ago he had worked in the construction industry in Marbella, and from which he could still remember how to swear a little in Spanish.
Filmed around the vineyards of La Rioja, locations include the bodegas of Casa de la Reina and the castle at the lovely sandstone village of Sajazarra, which belongs in reality to the vineyard, and dominates the town.
And it was in front of the castle that I was asked to present the project España, un país de cine, a review of some of the 870 English language films made in Spain.
I had been invited by Perfecto, the local councillor of tourism and culture, to address a group of about 35 locals, who then shared their anecdotes about the filming.
Afterwards we were invited to sample some local wine and to try some local specialities in the restaurant, especially the spectacular blood sausage.
During one scene of the movie, filmed at the entrance of the Bodegas Franco Españolas in Logroño, we can clearly see the city bridge ‘Puente de Hierro’ in the background.
Bodegas Paternina at Haro and Ollauri, the cooperativa de San Asensio, Casalarreina and the Hotel Los Bracos in Logroño were all locations.
It’s Falcon Crest but with a lower budget for décor.
Spanish director José Antonio de la Loma directed and habitual Spanish actor Simón Andreu also appears.
Sajazarra is definitely one of my favourite Spanish villages, and we were lucky to stay at the Posada de Sajazarra, with its amazing plethora of ornaments and decoration, chosen by our host Enrique, who also showed us the church, where a modern art project is underway.
The village has many artistic displays, including a dragon, a pair of lovers’ hands and a woman on the moon.
Our thanks to the people of Sajazarra for a warm reception and sorry that Thelma once again messed up the photos and trashed the language, even inventing a new name for herself!