Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren dared to dream the impossible dream with this musical film version of "Man of La Mancha". Don Quixote set to music must have seemed like a good idea to director, Arthur Hiller at the time, but on screen it's about as painfully shocking as seeing your own mother drunk! Quixote(O'Toole) is a crazy nobleman who is an embarrassment to his respectable family. Together, with faithful sidekick Sancho Panza, he duels windmills and defends his "lady" (Sophia Loren), who is actually a prostitute.
The songs, including "Impossible Dream" had their merits on Broadway. But on screen - and sung by actors to whom the concept of singing is clearly as foreign as the subject matter of this film - we get a cackling of melodies that is genuinely painful on the ears. All this would be forgiveable if the production values didn't herald the coming of a lavish film that, sadly, vaporizes the moment any of the principles open their mouths. But such a waste of money and talent is malicious!
TRANSFER: Presumably because this film didn't get that much play time in theaters, the DVD picture exhibits striking image quality. Colors are rich, bold and vibrant. Black levels are solid. Fine details are fully realized. There are NO age related artifacts. Digital anomalies; edge enhancement, pixelization, shimmering of fine details, are rarely present for a smooth visual presentation. The audio is 5.1, made all the more strident and shrill by the deplorable lack of musical talent belting out some truly horrific tunes.
EXTRAS: A Photo montage - as if reliving the film experience wasn't scary enough!
BOTTOM LINE: The transfer is stunning but the film is a disaster. Like "One From The Heart", "Man of La Mancha" is a misguided attempt to capture the magic of musicals of old. It fails miserably on all levels of entertainment and isn't recommended for anyone who isn't tone deaf!