The Palace of Pella


The ingenious and innovative Art Director André Andrejew designed a Palace décor on 
a small hill above the town of El Molar (Madrid), the Palace of Pella.
Many Spanish experts were involved in the construction of the great Palace Set under 
the supervision of André Andrejew. 
The famous spanish Set Decorator Gil Parrondo and his partner Luis Pérez Espinosa and the 
great spanish movie set designer Julio Molina de Juanes (as assistant).
Shortly before "Alexander the Great" they all worked for Orson Welles ("Mr.Arkadin").
Many years later Julio Molina was the architect of the fortress 'El Condor' and was 
responsible for the 'Daganzo em70' Western Sets.
The careful handicraft working was carried out by experts. 
The construction teams of the legendary Francisco Prosper Zaragoza and 
Francisco Rodriguez Asensio, supported by local artisans and workmen of El Molar 
and the surrounding area.
Many other Spanish experts were involved in the production (Maroto/Rodero/Villalba/...).
They all should play a major role later for the Spanish film industry and 
international productions filmed in Spain.
Special Effects by British special effects veteran Cliff Richardson supervising a 
spanish crew (Manuel Baquero!,...). 
Visual Effects/Matte Paintings by Wally Veevers and Bob Cuff.

Richard Burton (Alexander) between scenes with boys from El Molar.
Who are these guys? 

Alexander arrives at Pella Palace. What a great set!
The grand staircase leads to the entrance of the palace.
Residents of El Molar, who are working as Extras in the movie, visit the Set (1955). 
Only friendly faces await them, but...among them, an assassin.
They seem to sense something ...
Frederic March (Philip of Macedonia) - Richard Burton (Alexander) - Pella (El Molar).
Too late, Philip was stabbed by a young Macedonian on the palace steps at Pella.
Look a the statue of a Macedonian Warrior...
The statue was a bit shaky and threatened to tip over.
We are on a hill, so some high winds may be a problem.
Only shortly before the shooting, the supports were removed.
Through this Stone Gate (granite?) movie audience will see the Macedonian army 
march off to battle.
Here we see a few workers on their way home - El Molar, 1955.
Alexander is leaving the Palace of Pella. 
Granite Gate, ha, not at all! It's plaster and plywood!
An impressive set, built to flatter the cinematographer.
The rear view of the Set shows just a rough scaffold. 
Spanish workmen of the construction teams of Francisco Prosper and Francisco Asensio 
trudge homeward. Who are these men? 
Many of the local craftsman, carpenter and builders helped in the construction of 
the sets and many residents of El Molar were employed as extras in the film.
What a great view! 
The "Pella Palace" towers over the tile-roofed houses of El Molar (Madrid). 
Only the church looks out, la Iglesia de la Asunción. 
In the distance we can see the 'Pico de San Pedro' mountain with the famous movie 
location 'La Dehesa de Navalvillar' at his feet and the snow capped mountains 
of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Learn more about the interesting movie locations of Colmenar Viejo here: 
'La Dehesa de Navalvillar'.
'Alexander the Great' scene in 'La Dehesa de Navalvillar' - Comparison photo 2009.
Some scenes were also filmed in the city of El Molar. 
This old stone houses are now almost all gone.
'Alexander the Great' in El Molar (Madrid, Spain).
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The "Pella Palace" Set on the hill in El Molar shortly before the shooting.
A lone donkey grazing on a deserted meadow. 
The rear view shows what it is, a "phony" - a delicate masterpiece of plaster, 
plywood and metal! 
Steel framework is left bare, even on completed portions of the set. 
Richard Burton (Alexander) enjoys some water (Botijo) in a break from filming.
I remember a great story about a little boy from El Molar, who has always towed the 
heavy water bottles (botijos), made of clay, from El Molar on the mountain for the crew.
The Waterboy of El Molar - Was it in the LIFE magazine?
The scenes inside the 'Pella Palace' were filmed in the 'Sevilla Studios'.
Here we see a studio Set with a scenic backing painted by the spanish maestro 
Emilio Ruiz del Rio.

I'm already working on another story about an epic movie set: 
Cleopatra - The Pinewood Disaster.
Followed by insights behind the scenes of the Bronston Epics.

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