John Cabrera, a life in cinema


John Cabrera with the Mayor of Dénia, Ana KringeSituated in the Province of Alicante on the Costa Blanca, the town of Dénia recently paid tribute to British filmmaker John Cabrera who settled there 35 years ago. Born in Liverpool in 1925 to parents originally from Dénia themselves, as a cinematographer, John Cabrera Puig chose Dénia as the backdrop for his 1958-blockbuster ‘Capitán Jones’, which was produced by Samuel Bronston and would subsequently spark an upsurge of films set in the coastal town. Cabrera was awarded with the ‘Medalla de la Ciudad’ for, in the words of Mayor Ana Kringe, “bringing fame to Dénia through the art of cinema, to which he has dedicated his entire career”.

Stationed in Dénia for four months in 1958, the film crew for ‘Capitán Jones’ was directed by John Farrow who was accompanied by his wife, actress Maureen O’Sullivan, and his seven children including a young Mia Farrow who later became the town’s ‘Reina de las Fiestas’. Boasting an extraordinary cast including Robert Stack, Bette Davis, Peter Cushing and many more stars, the film was considered as one of the most expensive of its time, costing nearly 1.2 million pounds due to the making of three 17th-century frigate replicas.

Original poster in Spanish of 'Capitán Jones'Dénia has since set the scene for dozens of films such as ‘The Four Musketeers’ directed by Richard Lester in 1974 starring Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee and Raquel Welch; ‘HMS Defiant’ with a cast including Sir Alec Guinness and Dirk Bogarde; and the most recent, ‘The Cold Light of Day’ starring Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and the much talked about Henry Cavill who took the leading role in ‘Man of Steel’.

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