El Cid (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) (The Miriam Collection) [Import]
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Technically ambitious but artistically underwhelming, this 1961 epic by Anthony Mann (Man of the West) stars Charlton Heston as an 11th-century hero who drives the Moors from Spain. The film has been described as "glum," and that is indeed apt for a story that focuses so much on its central character's losses in the face of his simultaneous, mythic approbation. Then again, Mann has always been interested in the hidden weaknesses in prevailing myths, so that's not unusual. What is unusual in El Cid is the degree to which technology takes over his filmmaking, as it does here with so many grandiose and bravura moments with a roving camera that don't add up to anything beyond spectacle. As an achievement of Hollywood's technical advancements in the postwar years, and also as part of the filmographies of Mann and Heston, the film is well worth a look. But it is not the artistic equal of other epics of its day, such as Lawrence of Arabia. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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There is curently a DVD available from amazon.co.uk, but do not buy it. It is full screen, not widescreen. There is a DVD available from Amazon.fr, however, which does have widescreen. I saw the film when I was eight (for my birthday) in 1962 and saw it on television (wth a pan and scan edit) which butchered the 70 mm Technirama print. The fullscreen (tv) format gives one only less than two thirds of the actual frame. It's a wonder to see the French DVD version on my 23 inch flat computer screen. the only problems with htis DVD are that the print is not a great one--there are scratches every now nad then, and hte sound track is momentarily off for a few seconds. More troublesome is that the French subtitles were burned into the print, so they can't be removed when you watch the DVD in English (there is also a French dubbed version). And the various menu features don't work except for film and language tracks. Still, I'm glad I got it and recommend it until a DVD here becomes available.
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.
History has many versions of El Cid (1040 ?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I would have given this no stars had I been able to write a review. This DVD does not work in North America DVD players and will only work in Germany. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Disc Had Wrong Area Zone. I was not able To view the Movie.Published 5 months ago by Daye Stannyers
One of the great movies of all time. Amazing battle scenes for movie made at this time.Published 8 months ago by Dave Sim
I failed to read the reviews before ordering, and like others, received a disc that can't be played in a North American machine. Why Amazon allows this is beyond me.Published 17 months ago by Dr. Geoffrey Bond