Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the Beatles films ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ (in which co-star in this film, Roy Kinnear, also appeared) as well as ‘Help,’ the film is interesting for many people as it marked the first performance on screen by John Lennon being something other than a Beatle.
Lennon played a Second World War soldier ‘Private Gripweed’, a name worthy of his own imagination. This was also the first time that the public saw Lennon wearing his Granny, or Trotsky (whichever way you lean) glasses.
Being a long way from home, and frequently bored, Lennon wrote one of his most emblematic songs, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in Almeria. Strawberry Field (as it is really called) was in fact an orphanage near his house in Liverpool, in whose garden Lennon played as a child.
The Spanish sections of the film, which were supposed to represent North Africa, were used for the most ‘English’ part of a surrealistic, funny film with a serious anti-war message.
Mesa Roldán appears briefly when the quaintly essentric (or bloodthirstily mad) Grapple, played by Michael Hordern, shouts at his men from the top of it, inculcating military discipline and cricketing values.In the film the castle appears to be a round tower because it is seen from the side, although in fact it is considerably larger when seen from the front or back.
It is located on one of the highest points of the Almeria coast, on a headland near a lighthouse a few miles to the south of Carboneras.