SOURCES: Ron Cobb, Emilio Ruiz del Rio, Prevue.
FILMED?: Not sure at all!

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For the the Wheel of Pain sequence (to which the young Conan will remain chained during long years), Milius also wished to show the passage of time by the means of the change of the seasons. The winter scenes were those which posed the most problems.

Interviewed in the Metal Hurlant special issuer, Ron Cobb remembers:

  "The Wheel of the Pain was to be it also under snow, at very high altitude. It is not easy to find snow in Spain, the summer. We started to film the Wheel under snow, but snow evaporated while we turn!"  
The Spanish specialist of matte-painting, Emilio Ruiz Del Rio, thus was called to the rescue and was asked to artificially cover with snow the set built on location at Soria. For the needs of certain shots, a miniature replica of the Wheel was even built and equipped with small characters of reduced scale (pictures 1 and 2), as Domingo explains on his site devoted to film:

Emilio Ruiz and his team created a model of the Wheel of Pain, which could slowly spin on itself like the original one, and added miniature characters to it. The model was then transported outdoor, on the same filming location where the life-sized Wheel was, and Emilio Ruiz added snow to the set by painting it on some glass plate placed just behind the model, thus obtaining a wide shot of the (mobile) Wheel located in a snow-covered landscape.
Of all these special effects shots, none unfortunately survived the final cut. Remains nevertheless a close-up of the snow-covered Wheel (picture 3) [1].

Also gone, the end of the sequence, described by Milius in this excellent interview published by Jim Steranko in Prevue:

  MILIUS: There were a couple of other bits with Zen touches like where Conan thanks the Wheel of Pain when he’s released from it.
PREVUE: Why was that cut?
MILIUS: It slowed up the film. In a way, you still get the idea. By cutting the scene out, it makes Conan more innocent. While he was on the Wheel, he was like a beast who never really knows what is happening to him. When he’s thrown into the pit to fight, he’s still very innocent, but he begins to learn. In cutting the movie, I tried to make Conan as innocent as possible, continually stress his wonderful naivete; Conan’s a child in a world of savages

The "bestial" behavior of Conan at the time when he is untied from the Wheel is detailed in the Buscema comic book (picture 4), as well as in the novelization: during one moment, the idea to flee crosses his mind, but he gives up it very quickly, RedHair who came to buy him being accompanied by armed men (in the film, he is alone). Conan himself thus gives the chain which blocks him to his new master, who smiles: "The animal has conscience! It will be a rare attraction in the arena." The novel also contains a scene where Conan, still chained, sheds a tear (and only one) then swears never again to let go (a scene which of course echoes the future line of Subotai: "He is Conan, a Cimmerian: he will not cry. Then I cry for him.").

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ConanCompletist 2004