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Malaga and the Ronda Mountain Range have been great movie settings, both in silent films and movies with sound. Actually, the Ronda population has been one of the most sought-after by movie directors as a suitable setting for their movies.
Why Ronda? Firstly, it is located atop of a 120-meter deep gorge on the Guadalevin River, which bestows an enormous beauty; this is the so-called Ronda Steep Cliff. Its houses are held from the cliffs defying gravity. Secondly, the fact that they were a hiding place for bandits, cradle of an endless romantic myths, refuge for artists and the fathers of the great bull-fighting dynasties of the country. All the aforementioned has granted Ronda a unique essence and has become one of the places where a lot of the Spanish stereotypes are summed up. Rilke, Paul Bowles, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway or Washington Irving picked Ronda as their place to develop their inspiration.
Throughout the years, Ronda has been an Iberian settlement, a Roman location (Arunda), an Arab town and a Christian villa, surrounded by three natural settings that convey the idea of how marvelous this place is. Later on, already in modern times, it was built an impressive and vertiginous bridge, the New Bridge of Ronda. This bridge crossed the river’s steep-cliff and has been used as a background of enormous beauty for the movie industry. Besides, the Ronda’s bull ring is one of the world’s oldest and, every September the traditional Goyesque bullfight is held, after it was boosted by Antonio Ordonez.
From the 1920’s through the 60’s, stories of bandits, smugglers and bull-fighters were extremely well embraced in the movie industry. The world of international film fiction saw in Ronda the romantic place to shoot their movies, although many of them were banned in Spain by the censorship. Americans, French and British produced movies such as “Carmen” by Jacques Feyder, “Fire over Africa” by Richard Sale, “The last ones of the Philippines” by Antonio Roman or “Scent of mystery” by Jack Cardiff.
Even James Bond starred in one of his operations in Ronda–one of the movie scenes was shot in Ronda in the motion picture from 1966 “You only live twice”. Although the whole story took place in Japan, the movie production could not shoot one of the scenes where a shooting with a moving helicopter takes place. The Japanese laws prohibited the use of fire arms in air space, even with warning shots. The sky of Malaga was picked as a result of that situation.
Notwithstanding, the most iconic film-maker who has ever stepped on this soil is Orson Wells. Not only he stepped on it, he decided to not leave and picked Ronda as the place where his ashes were spread. His family fulfilled his wish and, today his remains lie in El Recreo ranch, owned by the Ordonez family.
Ronda and the Malaga province is a star-studded place!