The Conspiracy (2008) Poster

The Conspiracy (2008)

  • Rate: 5.4/10 total 208 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | History
  • Release Date: 5 September 2008 (Spain)
  • Runtime: Spain:128 min | Germany:150 min (European Film Market)
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The Conspiracy (2008)


The Conspiracy 2008tt1100898.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Conspiracy (2008)
  • Rate: 5.4/10 total 208 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | History
  • Release Date: 5 September 2008 (Spain)
  • Runtime: Spain:128 min | Germany:150 min (European Film Market)
  • Filming Location: Baeza, Jaén, Andalucía, Spain
  • Budget: €15,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: €2,782,456(Spain)(15 December 2008)
  • Director: Antonio del Real
  • Stars: Jason Isaacs, Julia Ormond and Jürgen Prochnow
  • Original Music By: Alejandro Vivas   

Writing Credits By:

  • Antonio del Real (writer)
  • Manuel Mir  writer
  • Juan Antonio Porto  writer
  • Marta Rivera de la Cruz  writer

Known Trivia

    Plot: 16th century ruler King Philip II of Spain maneuvers within a court of deceit and betrayal.  »

    Story: 16th century ruler King Philip II of Spain maneuvers within a court of deceit and betrayal.

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Maria José Muñoz known as executive producer
    • Antonio del Real known as producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Jason Isaacs known as Antonio Pérez
    • Julia Ormond known as Princesa de Éboli
    • Jürgen Prochnow known as Espinosa
    • Jordi Mollà known as Mateo Vázquez
    • Joaquim de Almeida known as Escobedo
    • Juanjo Puigcorbé known as Felipe II
    • Blanca Jara known as Damiana
    • Fabio Testi known as Duque de Alba
    • Rosana Pastor known as Doña Juana de Coello
    • Pablo Puyol known as Insausti
    • Concha Cuetos known as Bernardina
    • Tony Peck known as Tiépolo
    • Pilar Bastardés known as Reina Ana
    • Pepe Martín known as Don Antonio Pazos
    • José Lifante known as Mayordomo Escobedo
    • Manuel de Blas known as Fray Diego de Chaves
    • Jorge Bosso known as Padre Morgado
    • William Miller known as Rodrigo Manuel de Villena
    • Antonio Campos known as Enríquez
    • Ciro Miró known as Diego Martínez
    • Xabier Elorriaga known as Conde de Chinchón (as Xavier Elorriaga)
    • Juan Lombardero known as Conde de Barajas
    • Bill Holden known as Duque de Medina Sidonia
    • Juan Ignacio Ocaña known as Marqués de los Vélez
    • Javier Mejía known as Juan de Austria
    • Lola Peno known as Cocinera Escobedo
    • Stephen Hughes known as Armero
    • José María Sacristán known as Encargado Baños (as José Sacristán)
    • Malcom Site known as Negro Danzarín
    • Carlos García Navarro known as Dominico (as Carlos Gª Navarro)
    • Miguel de Grandy known as Arzobispo Gaspar de Quiroga
    • Nacho Aldeguer known as Operario Acería
    • José Conde known as Conde de Melgar
    • María Tardón known as Abadesa
    • Antonio del Real known as Galeno 1
    • Javier Artiñano known as Galeno 2
    • Rafael Reaño known as Cuidador 1 (as Rafa Reaño)
    • Paco Catalá known as Cuidador 2
    • Eduardo Fedriani known as El Pícaro
    • David Amón known as Miguel Bosque
    • Tomás Sáez known as Juan de Mesa
    • Alberto Pereira known as Ujier
    • Óscar Corbacho known as Vendedor Ropas
    • Carmelo Blanco known as Mendigo
    • Fernando Esteve known as Moro
    • Eva Almaya known as Lavandera 1
    • Sara Bernardos known as Lavandera 2
    • Natalia Domínguez known as Lavandera 3
    • Tomás Martín known as Suboficial
    • Chema Coloma known as Muñoz
    • Fernando Vilches known as Obispo de Sevilla
    • León Dávila known as Alabardero A
    • Enrico Fracca known as Alabardero B (as Enricco Fracca)
    • Juan Ripoll known as Alabardero C
    • Jorge Camba known as Vigilante
    • Enrique del Pozo known as Guardia 1
    • Antonio Pérez Henares known as Guardia 2
    • Juan Antonio Casado known as Guardia 3
    • Kate Petrie known as Doña Juana de Coello (voice)
    • Carmen Soto known as Dama de la Reina
    • Rosanna Walls known as Muslim



    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Ángel Luis De Diego known as makeup artist
    • Amparo Mateos known as makeup artist
    • Sara Márquez known as makeup artist
    • Mar Paradela known as makeup artist
    • Mercedes Paradela known as hair stylist
    • Carmen Peña known as hair stylist
    • Gloria Pinar known as makeup artist
    • José Quetglás known as makeup artist
    • Ana Renedo known as hair stylist
    • Patricia Rodríguez known as makeup artist
    • Miguel Sesé known as makeup artist
    • Nieves Sánchez known as hair stylist
    • Nuria Tejedor known as hair stylist
    • Sonia Teruel known as hair stylist
    • Blanca Sánchez known as hair stylist (uncredited)

    Art Department:

    • Pablo Alvarado known as prop buyer
    • Gonzalo Ansó known as prop master
    • Paco Calonge known as prop master
    • Daniel Cidoncha known as swing gang
    • Salvador Comes known as prop master
    • Silvia De Valentín known as props
    • Florentino Aramburu Detritus known as swing gang (as Florentino Aramburu )
    • Juan Escribano known as prop master
    • Francisco Fernández known as prop master
    • Francisco García known as prop master
    • David Murcia known as assistant set decorator
    • Sonia Nolla known as set dresser
    • Agustín Pisa known as swing gang
    • Diego Rodriguez known as prop master (as Diego Rodríguez)
    • Fernando Rubio known as prop master
    • Tino Torrescusa known as prop buyer
    • Patricia Valles known as assistant art director
    • Juan Carlos Vila known as prop master (as Juan Carlos Vila)
    • Juan Ignacio Viñuales known as prop master (as Juan Viñuales)
    • Ignacio Álvarez known as swing gang




    Production Companies:

    • Mascara Films
    • Settima Luna


    • Sony Pictures (2009) (Spain) (theatrical)
    • HBO Hungary (2010) (Hungary) (TV)
    • Hannover House (2011) (USA) (all media)
    • Teleview International (2008) (Lebanon) (TV) (Middle East)



    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Telson

    Visual Effects by:

    • Ramón Cervera known as digital compositor
    • Eduardo Cestari known as digital compositor
    • Pilar Cienfuegos known as digital compositor
    • Ramón Daza known as digital compositor
    • Daniel de Madrid known as digital compositor
    • David Fernández Girón known as cgi operator
    • Blas Galera known as digital effects editor
    • Isidro Jiménez known as digital effects supervisor
    • Marcos Onaindia known as visual effects supervisor
    • Telson S.L. known as digital post production & effects
    • Javier Sanz known as animator: Telson
    • Fernando Serrano known as matte painter
    • Nathalie Simonetti known as credits designer

    Release Date:

    • Spain 5 September 2008
    • Spain 13 January 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Germany 8 February 2009 (European Film Market)
    • Portugal 19 March 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Poland 19 March 2010 (Week of Spanish Cinema)
    • Hungary 2 April 2010 (TV premiere)
    • USA 29 July 2011 (limited)



    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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    Posted on March 31, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


    1. rogornmoradan from León, Spain
      31 Mar 2012, 12:05 am

      The 'conjuration' in the title refers to a real event: the politicalassassination in Madrid of a high-ranking official in the Spanish courtin 1578. A plaque marks the spot today in the exact corner of thestreet where it happened.

      The script begins with the scene of the murder and then takes us backto recount the events leading up to it. There are many charactersinvolved, and although at the beginning it is not clear why we arebeing introduced to so many, eventually they all find a reason forbeing there, from a priest who ends up a the centre of theinvestigation, to a young 'morisca', a half-Moorish girl who is pluckedfrom the streets to serve in a rich house.

      The film is not very imaginatively shot and some of the expositorydialogue is quite clumsy: some actors seem to be there just tosummarise in words what the atmosphere at the time was, which is alwaysa pitfall in historical films. Many actors means many lines of dialogueand this film -not short, about two hours and a quarter long- is fullof conversations, often stilted and stagy. There's a lot of standingupright with broody brows with the purpose of looking imposing andserious, in bunches around the king or other important characters. Itis not a slow film, however, but it's not a swashbuckler either. Infact, the one time when we are given a good old sword-fight, it goes solamely clichéd, with stalls of fruit and ceramic bowls being turnedupside down in a street market and a couple of unrealistic fight moves,that it feels utterly wrong.

      In its favour, the costumes are great and many scenes are shot at ElEscorial itself, the palace-cum-monastery where king Phillip II poredover the business of governing the world's leading superpower. Some ofthe actors are quite good in their roles, and this despite a castmixing Spanish and foreign stars. I would single out for praise JuliaOrmond, who looks not a day younger than her 43 years old. With herageing beauty, she brings alive one of the most fascinating charactersof her time, the eyepatch-wearing princess of Eboli. Joaquim de Almeidais also very good as the vigorous secretary Juan de Escobedo, actinghis scenes with much-needed energy. It is a pity, though, that the roleof Jason Isaacs, Antonio Pérez, fizzles out somewhat towards the end,when he should be one of the most memorable characters, according tothe real story. Juanjo Puigcorbé plays a more ironic and even affablePhillip than the sombre and adust quasi-monk we have seen in otherportrayals. And I personally took a liking to Jürgen Prochnow'scharacter, a local 'alguacil' (sheriff) who becomes involved in thematter both through his job and his private life.

      The question at the heart of the film is: did King Phillip II order thedismissal of one of his own officials? This has been much debated byhistorians, and the evidence is not conclusive. It may have been in hisfavour because of political rivalries, but the public backlash wouldhave been uncomfortable (as it in fact was), even for a monarch asself-assured and with so great a grip on power as he happened to be.This matter is one of the central charges against him laid out by theso-called 'Leyenda negra' (Black legend), with which other Europeanrulers and political enemies sought to discredit him in public, inparticular in the Netherlands and Britain. Whether the film takes astance on it or not, you will have to see it.

    2. ma-cortes
      31 Mar 2012, 12:05 am

      This costumer movie is partially based on historical events. It'sdeveloped in the court of Felipe II(Juanjo Puigcorbe), the Prudent King, also called Noon demon. The situation of Low Countries ruled underJuan of Austria, his illegitimate brother is extremely dangerous. Theprotestant rebellion and the harassing by William of Orange makeFlandes an uncomfortable place. Duke of Alba(Fabio Testi) regaining theking favour attempts force measures over the rebels. Meanwhile Ana ofMendoza(Julia Ormond) married one of Philip's minister, bore sons, andsoon became a widow Duchess of Pastrana and princess of Eboli. Shewears a patch over her right eye and is an ambitious woman with selfishaims.Antonio Perez(Jason Isaacs) is the first secretary to the crown.Ana of Mendoza and Antonio become lovers and would create a scandal incourt , always the scenario of perpetual intrigue. Escobedo, John ofAustria's personal secretary(Joaquim De Almeida)is sent to ask forliberation of Mary of Scotland and help to stifle revolt.He comes fromFlandes to Madrid,but he aware passionate romance between Antonio Perezand Ana Mendoza .

      This is a lavish but slowly-paced costumer that has Julia Ormondwearing a black eye-patch as the one-eyed Ana of Mendoza whose gorgeousbeauty is difficult to resist. Ormond is marvelously photographedthroughout but the role, as written, gives her little opportunity toreally shine and she's wasted. Jason Isaacs gives a convincingcharacter as astute and mean Antonio of Mendoza. Jordi Molla plays withenormous distinction as Mateo Vazquez, the incorruptible priest.Personality and charisma of Juanjo Puigcorbe's portrayal as one of themost remarkable European kings that ever reigned.The rest of thesupporting cast is average, as Blanca Jara as Morisca Desirea andJurgen Prochnow as Espinosa , but neither the love story nor thecharacters have much interest with the result which this duo doesn'twork either as romantic couple. Extraordinary costume design by JavierArtiñano, accompanied by colorful, though some misty, cinematography byCarlos Suarez. Luxurious sets make excellent use of real locations inSpain and has a look of a great production. The motion picture isprofessionally directed by Antonio Del Real. In 1955 was filmed byTerence Young an inferior version about these historic deeds titled'That lady' starred by Olivia De Havilland in the role of Julia Ormond;Gilbert Roland, role of Jason Isaacs; Dennis Price, similarly to JordiMolla and Paul Scofield, role of Juanjo Puigcorbe, among others.

    3. Nicolas Martinez from Spain
      31 Mar 2012, 12:05 am

      I usually wait some time after a movie is released to watch it. Iprefer to avoid the crowds and rely on some friend's advice. Still, Iam not always consistent with this and, sometimes, movies like this onepainfully bring me back to the right path.

      "La conjura de El Escorial" could have been excellent. Excellent asmost of its actors (a very experienced, international cast) or itshistorical recreation (location spots, costumes…). And yet… A goodmovie needs a good script. When the script is bad, and this one isawful (or, to say the least, very uneven), all hope is lost. Thenarrative is hesitant; there are several unneeded, distracting (andeven positively disgusting) scenes; the entire love-story subplot (ofcourse there is one!) is hard to believe, simplistic and boring… Themovie's changing pace is made worse by the editing: for instance, afadeout between two scenes with some 20 seconds between them andinvolving the same characters. I also suspect the poor editing is toblame for not understanding how and why a number of scenes take place,the character's reasons for a change of mind, and son on. Quite true,some takes are brilliantly shot; but others are simply laughable (NOTfunny). Take the fights for instance. I was wondering why they forgotto play the theme tune of Benny hill's show. Bud Spencer or TerrenceHill could have signed it- but we're talking of a 16th century swordfight… Poor action scenes, bad editing, mostly static dialogs:technically speaking, this is more of a play than a movie.

      All things considered, I believe Antonio del Real (director andscriptwriter here) is much to blame for this waste of my time andmoney. The movie is worth watching, perhaps, if you like costumes orhave a historical interest in 16th century life in Spain. Also, it isprobably one of the best renditions of Phillip 2nd of Spain (a veryinteresting king), much unlike most productions. But if you likemovies, please, forget this one.

    4. max von meyerling from New York
      31 Mar 2012, 12:05 am

      Almost every historical movie is mostly movie and very little history.The fault of La conjura de El Escorial is that for once it might be toomuch history. The action takes place in the court of Spain's KingPhilip ll. The year is 1578 and the crisis is about the war against therebels, Protestant supporters of William of Orange in the Netherlands.There are two views at the court. The aging Duke of Alba, a bluntmilitary man, would go to all out war, and the young and progressivePrime Minister, Antonio Perez, (Jason Isaacs)objects to the expense ofthe war and argues for a negotiated settlement.

      The Spanish regent in the Netherlands was Don Juan of Austria, the heroof Lepanto and bastard of Charles V and Philips' half brother. Philipis worried that Don Juan might be too ambitious so Perez sends Juan deEscobedo (Joaquim de Almeida) to be Don Juan's secretary. Sort of aplant but Escobedo turned and became Don Juan's man. This is all aboutEscobedo. He returns to Madrid and becomes aware that Perez has beentreacherous, maybe even treasonous, manipulating the situation to hisown advantage, sowing doubt in the king's mind against Don Juan.Perez's lover/coconspirator is the Princess of Eboli, (Julia Ormond)complete with eyepatch. Escobedo comes into possession of papersproving their disloyalty and they plot his murder. After poisoningfails they have him set upon in the streets and murdered on EasterMonday 1578. The rest of the film is rather like Costa-Gavris' Z, asthe plot is uncovered as a 16th century police procedural.

      Though it's a Spanish film, I saw the film dubbed into English withSpanish subtitles and the voices were so similar and the men periodproperly bearded that it took a couple of minutes to distinguish theprotagonists. The film is just straight ahead history. There is subplot of a doomed love between a constable (Jurgen Porchnow) and a poormorisco girl (Blanca Jara). Escobedo was poisoned three times but inthe film there is only one attempt. Just necessary concision. There isa rather desultory sword fight, routine stuff. Other than that onecould write a tolerable term paper from having seen the film.

      It could be interesting if you're interested in history. However thereare no good looking ex- models in their 20s with great cheekbones,David Bowie on the soundtrack, 'splosions , Perseus not marringAndromeda and other anachronisms, so it will not, as they say, find itsaudience. TORA TORA TORA the story of Pearl Harbor told from bothpoints of view and tirelessly researched and recreated was, sorry, abomb at the box office. The sequel MIDWAY, which made use of a lot ofleft over material and was full of soap opera conventions watered downand sentimentalized history, made money at the box office. Severalyears ago I saw a Czech film from the socialist period about the Munichcrisis of 1938. It was an education but, again, not something thegeneral public could be interested in. However I am now fullyconversant with the minutia of the period. This role, the historicalfilm, the accurate historical film, has been supplanted by thewidespread contemporary technique in documentaries of recreation.Documentaries now have cast lists, props and costumes.

      Once upon a time, in fact from the very beginning of the feature film,the historical costume picture was a staple of the film industry. Thesewere basically fiction films like say The Three Musqueteers. It is ararity today, the challenge being to contemporize everything for ayoung audience, but in truth, an historical film which was bothexcitingly cinematic and accurate is a promise which the cinema hasleft unachieved except in rare instances like THE PIANIST. British warmovies of the 50s and 60s tended to be non sensational and accurate.But that's what they call the living past. The remote past is anybody'sgame. GLORIOUS BASTERDS played as fast and loose with recent history asa gladiator or crusades picture do without drawing attention tothemselves. We know how WW2 turned out but how many know how the 3rdCrusade ended? The pity is that film is the perfect medium to recreatehistory and history is itself more exciting than the dull assemblies ofclichés and standardized stories which attempt to pander to a narrowminded audience.

      King Philip is the king because we are told he is. His behavior doesnot categorize him as cruel, generous, greedy, brave or any othercomfortable stereotype. People tend to want to easily pigeonholecharacters to facilitate involvement in the story. A rooting elementits called, usually based on prejudice and preconceived ideas. A dramacontaining Richard The Lion Heart and Philip Augustus of France willplay to the audiences notion of Richard as a hale fellow, honest, fair,magnanimous, open and brave while Philip is sly, untrustworthy,cowardly etc. Find a jolly, open faced actor for Richard and a mean,narrow faced one for Philip. Let the audience figure it out from there.In this picture Philip ll is merely a man, a clever and experienced oneat that, but merely a man. He is capable of errors but he doesn't goaround in a perpetual temper tantrum as movie kings so often do.

      The version I saw was 128 min. but there is a 150 minute version too. Ithink they cut out some courtroom action as well a fuller explanationof Perez' and Eboli's motivation for their plot.

      Unfortunately, while the story of La conjura de El Escorial isfaultlessly presented, it is nothing that would interest a contemporaryaudience in the first place. Even tarted up it would be like colorizingan old movie no one is really interested in anyway. For the historystudent only lightly familiar with the period and events, its aneducation.

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