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Using a letter of introduction from Queen Isabella's former confessor, Christopher Columbus gains access to the Spanish court where he tries to convince authorities of the practicality of his proposed voyage to reach to Far East by sailing west. Court intrigue and the efforts of Francisco de Bobadilla, whose financial interests would be hurt by Columbus' success, are roadblocks to the voyage, but the navigator perseveres and ultimately prevails. Written by
Opening narration perpetuates the myth that people of Columbus' time thought the Earth was flat when in fact they knew it was spherical. Later, when Columbus discusses his plan with Father Perez and another friar, the friars clearly know that the world is round. See more »
[as he and Diego observe a native smoking tobacco]
Doesn't that prove how backward they are? You never see a civilized man do that.
See more »
Being an explorer can be a tough business, especially if you lack money. This is the theme of this movie. Christopher Columbus is portrayed as a petulant adventurer who has an idea for sale, and is looking for a buyer. After a buyer is found and is expedition launched, his problems only escalate. The problem with the movie is its superficial portrayal of a complex character. The movie seems to gloss over some of the most momentous moments in history. They're mentioned, but that's about all. The geopolitical consequences of Columbus's achievement are barely mentioned. The Spanish court is also treated in a rather offhanded manner. The king and his ministers are portrayed as petulant fools; the only person with depth is Queen Isabella, who takes a liking to Columbus. The movie tells a story but that's about all. It lacks depth and fails to dramatize the truly momentous aspect of Columbus's voyage. Christopher Columbus was a great explorer whose achievement rates a movie of commiserate quality. Even the scenes showing Columbus being arrested fail to fully convey the sense of tragedy and defeat that marked the final years of Columbus's career.
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