Spain in Flames

Spain in Flames is a 1937 compilation film made by Helen van Dongen during the Spanish Civil War.[1] Hal Erickson has written that the film "... is remarkable in its willingness to offer both sides of the conflict -- though its sympathies are firmly with the Loyalists."[2] The film consists of two parts. The first, "The Fight for Freedom", was based on film footage from a Spanish government documentary Spain and the Fight for Freedom.[3] A foreword by the then Spanish Ambassador to the United States, Fernando de los Ríos, began one of the film's screenings in New York in 1937.[4]

Spain in Flames
Directed byHelen van Dongen
Release dates
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States

The second part, "They Shalt Not Pass", was based on a short film No Pasaran! done by the Artkino Film Company of the Soviet Union, where van Dongen was working at the time the film was made.[1][2][3] John Dos Passos narrated parts of the film,[1] and the commentary was written by Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Archibald MacLeish, and Prudencio de Pareda.[3][5] Erickson writes that, "The horrendous images of battlefield carnage, not to mention the close-ups of suffering and dying Spanish children, still pack a wallop when seen today."[2]

Later, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman and others founded the company Contemporary Historians, which produced another film called The Spanish Earth (1937), directed by Joris Ivens and edited by van Dongen.

Spain in Flames was banned in New Brunswick, New Jersey and Waterbury, Connecticut.[6][7] A screening of the film, accompanied by a speech from Granville Hicks, was also banned in Provincetown, Massachusetts.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Mastrangelo, Bob (10 November 2006). "Helen van Dongen Obituary". The Guardian.
  2. ^ a b c Erickson, Hal. "Spain in Flames".
  3. ^ a b c Schoots, Hans (2000). Living Dangerously: a Biography of Joris Ivens. Amsterdam University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-90-5356-433-2.
  4. ^ "NEWS OF THE-SCREEN; ' Plough and the Stars' Opens Today-Helen Jepson Signed by Goldwyn-Return of Constance Bennett News From Hollywood". The New York Times. 1937-01-28. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  5. ^ Scott, Patrick; Bruccoli, Mathew J. (2002). "Hemingway:War in Spain and the Fifth Column". University of South Carolina. Webpages based on the catalog for the Speiser and Easterling-Hallman Collection of Ernest Hemingway at the University of South Carolina.
  6. ^ "FILM ON SPAIN BANNED; New Brunswick Bars Showing as Red Propaganda". New York Times. p. 27.
  7. ^ "Waterbury Bars 'Spain in Flames'". New York Times. July 21, 1937. p. 12.
  8. ^ "Spanish War Movie and Speech by Granville Hicks Banned on Cape". Boston Globe. July 16, 1938. p. 1.

Further readingEdit