John Paul Jones (1959)

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John Paul Jones (1959)

Denia has changed since Hollywood arrived here in 1958 to make Samuel Bronson’s first super-production: John Paul Jones, about the founder of the American Navy.

Denia has changed since Hollywood arrived here in 1958 to make Samuel Bronson’s first super-production: John Paul Jones, about the founder of the American Navy.
The film was shot in 1958 and caused a second American revolution in this sleepy fishing village, bringing American dollars, Coca Cola and Mia Farrow (daughter of director John Farrow) to a needy population still suffering the post-war syndrome under the Franco Dictatorship.
The choice of Denia was largely down to John Cabrera, whose family had left the village for Liverpool years before, and was chosen after flying along the coast looking for places that could represent the coasts of Scotland, the USA and even the Caribbean!
Mia Farrow’s brother John Charles Farrow had a brief part in the film as John Paul Jones the young Scottish boy who throws an egg at a British officer. This scene supposedly takes place at a small square in the Scottish village where Jones was born.
This square was Plaça Sant Antoni, and from there, and in fact from most places in Denia, we can see the castle.
In John Paul Jones the castle represented Scotland’s Whitehaven being stormed by Jones’s raiding party.
The point where we see Jones and his man climbing upwards with the castle wall to their right is the Punta del Diamant.
At another part of the castle, next to the new audio-visual centre by the Torre de les Pusses, we can still see one of the boats used in the film Java: East of Krakatoa (1969), one of several that took advantage of Denia’s port.
Other films made during Denia’s golden years as a Hollywood annex include Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974), two naval films HMS Defiant (1962) and Billy Budd (1962), and Honeymoon Academy (1990).
In the film Cervantes (1967), the Denia port scenes represent Algiers, and it is interesting to bear in mind that when Cervantes returned from captivity to Spain, he actually landed in Denia.
John Paul Jones has not been forgotten in Denia; among the atmospheric streets of the old fishing port, we can find in Carreró del Malcriat a statue of questionable taste that commemorates, or doesn’t, the film’s 50th anniversary.
Our thanks to Toni Reig, Miquel Crespo and Romu Soler for the information and for arranging a lunch with John Cabrera, who would sadly die in 2014.

The film was shot in 1958 and caused a second American revolution in this sleepy fishing village, bringing American dollars, Coca Cola and Mia Farrow (daughter of director John Farrow) to a needy population still suffering the post-war syndrome under the Franco Dictatorship.