Flame in the Wind Behind the Scenes

  • Film Genre: Historical, Drama
  • Cast: 1,200 Actors
  • Crew: Division of Cinema faculty and students
  • Locations: Unusual Films Sound Stage, Spain



Flame in the Wind is based on actual events surrounding the repression of a 16th-centrury Protestant group that flourished briefly in Seville. Bishop Munebraga, Fernando, and Fray Cristobal are well-documented historical characters.

IIIatatake3226The names of Fernando and Fray Cristobal were changed for the film. Bishop Munebraga, whose name remains the same in the film, had much to do with the extermination of Protestant groups. The real-life characters of Fernando and Fray Cristobal were burned at the stake by the Inquisition. Carlos and Mendez were not historical characters but were typical of many men who lived during the Inquisition.



Flame_courtyardProduction designer Tim Morris, working with the student crew, planned and executed 43 sets, many of them extremely complex, involving different floor levels and interconnecting hallways.



Ingenuity took the place of unlimited funds in developing massive old Spanish courtyards and ornate 16th century interiors that overwhelmed commercial moviemakers with their results and low production cost. Measures like these enabled Unusual Films to produce Flame in the Wind at a fraction of the regular cost.

BeardsCritical concern for every minute audio and visual detail lends an aura of realism to the sets, the props, the costumes, and even the beards of the characters. After much research Harrell Whittington designed the costumes, which were made in the University costume rooms under the direction of Lewellyn Babb and Alvin Browder.

Bopp151x151Over 1,000 hours were spent on makeup alone, one old monk’s taking up to four hours to apply. The most telling mark of accomplishment in these details is, perhaps, that they so suit the story they become unobtrusive.



Filming done on location in Spain brought to the film the rugged beauty of the Spanish countryside and a castle, which was the home of the young 16th century nobleman whose story the film tells.


Flame_JRRupp3991adjustedRichMagnusonAlong with 6,000 feet of 16mm film, 1,400 35mm color slides were taken in Spain. Employing a process known as front projection, Cinematographer Wade K. Ramsey, Jr., was able to use these slides of actual Spanish scenery as a background on the studio sets. Besides expanding the variety of camera angles, this saved hours of elaborate set construction or travel expense transporting actors to actual locations.


GlassShotSets were spatially expanded through a trick photography method called a glass shot. Part of the set was painted on a large piece of glass, placed about three feet in front of the camera, and critically registered with the rest of the scene so that the painting blended with the real setting and appeared to be part of it.



The moving musical score, composed by the late Dwight Gustafson, former Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication, was performed by the 55-piece BJU Orchestra under his direction. The score carries three themes: the Carlos or title theme, the Inquisition theme, and the chorale of the true believers.



Though the Cinema faculty, staff, and students bore the heavy burden of the production, every department at Bob Jones University lent cheerful assistance.

JuniorBJIIIcloseup151Both the president and vice-president acted in major roles. Other leading actors were chosen from every department of the University. A thousand 16th-century garbed extras in the Auto-de-Fe scene were members of the University family. Fred Davis, the supervisor of the Dining Common, and his efficient staff saw that hot meals were delivered on the spot to actors and crew members engaged in a tight shooting schedule. The laundry staff worked into the night cleaning costumes for the next day’s filming. The more than 55-piece faculty-student orchestra clocked roughly 2,700 man-hours rehearsing and recording the original musical score. The teamwork exhibited by all those intimately involved and in support roles for the production could only be found in an institution whose faculty and students were dedicated to the cause of Christ and the presentation of the Gospel.