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Isabel de Pomés,
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This is the first film version of "Don Quixote" to be notably faithful to the book. See more »
When Don Quixote arrives at the inn during the early scenes of the film, he cannot eat because the visor of his helmet gets in the way, preventing him from feeding himself. He will not allow anyone to remove the helmet because it would involve cutting the ribbons that attach the visor to it. So, he has to be fed by the innkeeper and the serving wenches, and he drinks liquid through a straw-like piece of cane (one person holds the cane while the other one pours wine into it). All of this is exactly as in the novel, but in the book, it is implied that because he will not allow his helmet to be removed, Don Quixote holds vigil over his armor and is later "dubbed" a knight with the helmet still on. In the film, however, when Don Quixote asks the innkeeper to dub him knight, he is no longer wearing the helmet, and there is no explanation of when it was removed. See more »
At the end of the film, instead of a "FIN" [The End] title card, the end credits read "Y eso no fue el fin, sino el principio" [And that was not the end, but the beginning]. See more »
I saw this film at a special library screening several years ago. The print was rather worn out, and the music reproduction was horrible at first,but it improved some afterwards. This is by far the most literally faithful of all the film versions of the Cervantes novel I have ever seen. (The 1992 color Spanish TV miniseries,entitled "El Quijote", with Fernando Rey in the role, is even more faithful, but stops at the end of Part I of the book.) It is clear that Spain truly reveres its greatest novel, since they chose to place as many as possible of its episodes on film as they could in 134 minutes, and in the exact order in which they occur in the book. But you'd think they would have gone to more trouble to insure that the details in this film were memorable. Rafael Rivelles and Juan Calvo look exactly like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, even without makeup (I have seen them before), but they just don't bring enough acting ability and/or personality to these roles. They are competent, certainly not bad, but completely unmemorable, as is everyone else (the one exception is the young beardless Fernando Rey,who plays Sanson Carrasco as if he were full of himself (maybe this was intentional). The photography is good,but not outstanding, and after the windmill sequences in Chaliapin's 1933 version and in the 1972 "Man of La Mancha", the one in this film just falls flat.
Nonetheless, this movie version of "Don Quixote" made a great impact in Spain when first released, and remains interesting.
Update in 2011: I have since seen the film again on YouTube (it isn't available on video in the U.S., and unfortunately, it's not on YouTube anymore). I found that all of my criticisms have withstood the many years since I first saw it.
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