Directed by Anthony Mann, the 11th century pageantry and medieval feel of this film has been meticulously created, and the cinematography, shot on location in Spain by Robert Krasker, is superb. The war-torn history of a divided Spain has been skimmed over and highly romanticized, but is very entertaining. There are family conflicts galore, murders and treachery, and lots of sword fights, where what amazed me was the sound of metal against metal; it has never to my knowledge been rendered so well, and adds much reality to the action.
Surprisingly, the art/set direction and song/score were nominated for Oscars, but did not win. The score by Miklos Rozsa is fabulous, but unfortunately it was up against Mancini's "Breakfast at Tiffanys". Sophia Loren received a Best Actress Oscar for this year, but not this film; she won it for "Two Women", which was also released in 1961. Total running time is 180 minutes.
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