In Spain, in the sixteenth century, an elderly gentleman named Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books on chivalry. Proclaiming himself a knight, he sets out with his squire, ... See full summary »
In Spain, in the sixteenth century, an elderly gentleman named Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books on chivalry. Proclaiming himself a knight, he sets out with his squire, Sancho Panza, to reform the world and revive the age of chivalry, choosing a slut to be his noble lady Dulcinea. He mistakes inns for castles, a play about chivalry for the real thing, flocks of sheep for armies, convicts for wronged prisoners, and windmills for giants. While he and Sancho are off on their adventures, his niece, her fiancee, and the local priest think up a strategy to get him back home. Written by
Albert Sanchez Moreno
In Cervantes' novel and in most other film versions, the hero's name is really Alonso Quijano (or Quijana, as in "Man of La Mancha"), and it is only after going mad that he renames himself Don Quixote. In Pabst's film(s), the hero's name is really Don Quixote. See more »
As somebody who admires the Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin, I was very impressed by Adventures of Don Quixote. I have seen all three versions, all three excellent, but my favourite is the french one. The English version is very effective, though I think the lyrics in the French version are a little more poetic, and Chaliapin is better at French than he is at English, which is not bad as such, just that there is a somewhat heavy accent that I didn't find noticeable in the French version.
On a more positive note, it does look great, with beautiful photography and convincing settings. The music is a delight, the lyrics here is not quite as poetic as the French version but they are perhaps more intelligent and the melodies stayed in his head a long while after. I equally love the humour and pathos in the script, and the story is succinctly told with three scenes in particular standing out; the scene at the inn with the travelling players which is a lot of fun, the windmill scene which for the time was an accomplishment and still impresses and the very moving final scene.
The acting is very good, George Robey is a splendid and relaxed Sancho Panza, the Duke and Duchess are amusing and humble, and Renee Donnio again plays Carrasco and is excellent. The film's best asset is Feodor Chaliapin's performance in the title role, he is brilliant. Vocally, he is not him at his very best, with a heavier tone than in his early days and some moments where his pitch is approximate.
However he brings to his performance here his rich voice, robust vocal expression, vivid acting- I have often seen cited that Chaliapin was one of the first, or even the first, singer to take acting in opera seriously and I can see why- and towering physique(of any bass I think only Martti Talvela was taller) that was perfect for his best roles Boris Godunov and Mephistopheles. This is especially true in the final scene.
Overall, well worth seeing, with my only real criticism being a few missing frames occasionally making the film jumpy. It is a very impressive film though, and for any anybody who loves or admires Chaliapin this is something to treasure forever and seeing how influential this legendary bass was in opera important as well. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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