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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A good try, but I wasn't completely satisfied

8/10
Author: Albert Sanchez Moreno from United States
23 June 1999

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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