The Trojan Women (1971)

An all-star cast including Vanessa Redgrave, Katherine Hepburn and Irene Papas descended upon the peaceful village of Atienza, 80 miles north of Madrid, to recreate Trojan tragedy.

Katherine Hepburn rented a house in front of San Salvador church, known as El Chalet, although curiously, she was the only member of the crew to stay in the village, getting around on a bicycle; the rest were lodged in the nearby medieval town of Sigüenza. 

When Katherine Hepburn stayed there, it had recently been reformed by its new owners.She furnished the house herself and lived there with a young, uniformed butler, enjoying the house’s two floors and garden. 

On our visit to Atienza we were fortunate to be invited into the house by Julián the current owner. As his children played around in the garden, he pointed out that the lower half of the house was as it had been when Hepburn stayed there, although the top half had since been reformed.

We also met José Maria, who like most of the inhabitants of his age was an extra in the film. His job was to stand aloft the walls of Troy holding a spear.

Most of the filming in the village of Atienza took place around the old town walls, and at the spring, or drinking fountain known as ‘Fuente de San Gil’. The fountain can be seen in early scenes when the Trojan women are herded out of the city, which is mostly seen from the outside as a series of ruined walls.

About five minutes into the film, with women and children being carted off to slavery and worse, we get what is really the only full view of the castle in splendid, smoking sunset reds, and see what a wonderful landmark it is in the middle of the endless plains of Castilla, which is quite far in fact from the sea and the Greek ships, which we never see but receive a lot of news from, carried mostly by Brian Blessed.