1492: The Conquest of Paradise


The film does capture the wide, open empty spaces of Extremadura from which many of the Conquistadores came, with scenery from Cáceres and Trujillo, home of Pizarro, where they shot the scenes of Columbus arriving in what was supposed to be recently conquered Granada. Maybe the wide, open spaces reminded Ridley Scott of his home county of Northumberland.
We begin with the Christian conquest of Granada and the victors trampling through the exquisitely beautiful Alhambra Palace as Queen Isabel, played by Sigourney Weaver, who also appeared in Scott’s ‘Alien’, is seen preparing her new kingdom with various documents and giggling ladies in waiting.
Although he flirts with Queen Isabel, Columbus’s wife is played by the far more beautiful Spanish actress Angela Molina, whose appearances during the film mostly consists of staring at Depardieu as if he were transporting her to ecstasy every night instead of turning up every 7 years or so with scurvy and a burning idea.
The Spanish finally see through Depardieu/Columbus and sling him in the nick, which is described as the Prison of Castille, but which anyone who’s ever seen a postcard knows is the flamboyant fairy-tale Castle of Segovia.