Elios or Cave Studios?

This is from Death Played the flute, according to the credits filmed at the Cave Studios:

This is from And the Crows Will Dig Your Grave, according to the credits filmed at the Elios Studios:

This is from The Federal Man.

It is clear that the saloon in CWDYG is on the street from DPF. The same location is used in Let’s go and kill Sartana.

Which is it? Elios or Cave?

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Neither one nor the other: it is Esplugues City, the Balcázar productions western town.


Yep. That corner entrance to the saloon is a dead giveaway.

Well, that explains that. Thanks!

This perhaps will be from Cave Studios , then?

This one also from DPF. The same location is used in Savage Guns.

Yes, that’s Cave Film Studio. It’s very different from Elios (originally called Helios), Esplugues City and the other Italian and Spanish western towns.

Here are a few images of Cave from Barrel Full of Dollars and Adios Companeros

How on earth do you find out all of this information? You either have some serious patience and skills for digging this up, or you’ve got some great insider info.

Cave Studios are usually pretty easy to spot. They are the ones that look like the buildings were thrown up by someone’s brother-in-law at the weekend.

Doesn’t look like that from the pictures Jonathan has posted, though.

As for The Crows Will Dig Your Grave, it seems that all outdoor town scenes are shot in Esplugues, and not in Elios, which is the only studio mentioned in the credits.

I guess there were strong economic incentives for using both an Italian and a Spanish studio?

So Cave Studios isn’t the name of a studio company? It’s just the definition for a shoddily built set? Or are Cave Studios set’s just bad quality?

Essentially Cave Film Studio was renting the Western Town and/or the surrounding land to production companies.

This is certainly a rather complicated subject: to be recognised as domestic, and consequently to get State contributions, a movie with majority or minority participation in a co-production had to meet certain requirements (in predetermined proportions) concerning the nationality of director, writers, main and supporting actors, other crew members and so on, and that generated frequent falsification of the credits in both Spain and Italy.

Im (sadly) intrigued by the various western towns used in the spaghetti western productions, would love to read a book on them or maybe a blog!

I know as much about it as you do. But of course this was Gordon Mitchell’s place. Check out this:

That might explain some strange credits. Do you have more detailed knowledge on these regulations?

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First of all, according to Marco Giusti’s Dictionary as a producer you was allowed to partecipate in a minority co-production only after being involved in a majority co-production. In the same way, you was allowed to participate in a majority co-production only after producing an entirely Italian movie.

For co-productions with majority participation, the requirements to get State contributions were:
Italian director
a plot from Italian author
at least two out of three screenwriters
two-thirds of main actors
three-quarters of seondary players
three-quarters of other crew members

For minority participation, at least one screenwriter* and a few actors and crew
members (unspecified number).

  • This explains why in the Italian version of Cemetery Without Crosses Dario Argento, in all probability responsible for the Italian dialogues, was credited as third screenwriter.

In Spain the requirements were slightly different but equally complicated.

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Very interesting. Thanks, Jonathan.

Cave was built by hand by Gordon Mitchell. It is a bunch of small shack like buildings. The photos above I would say is Elios not Cave.

Ah, I see now, sorry for the confusion. Also thanks for the information! It’s always nice to have a clearer picture into these productions!

If you are referring to the images of Cave on post #5 you’re probably confusing the churches.

The church of Elios Studios western town (a.k.a. Silver City) in There’s a Noose Waiting for You… Trinity!, Sergio Corbucci Specialists and Return of Sabata.

It is important to note that in the initial years the church was not present and there was a different building on the other side of Main Street.

A few more pictures of the Western Town built and owned by Gordon Mitchell, this time from Allegri becchini… arriva Trinità aka His Colt, Himself, His Revenge

From your pictures it seems that films like Per una bara piena di dollari and Giù la testa… hombre were shot partly in Cave Studio and partly in Elios Studios.

We have another thread on Cave Studio, by the way: