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Kozintsev was one of the great Russian directors, whose career started in the silent era. His star, Nikolai Cherkasov, played a hero who used brains as well as brawn in Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, and a politician who becomes almost demoniacally subtle and unscrupulous in Ivan the Terrible. As Don Quixote, he plays the would-be knight-errant with such quiet dignity that his delusions begin to seem preferable to the reality around him. Sancho Panza, as solid and earthy as his master is gaunt and unworldly, shows up the nobles who amuse themselves by playing along with Don Quixote's delusions as even more deluded and out of touch with reality. One can't help seeing a reference to Soviet society, perhaps too subtle for the censors to catch. This film, as well as Kozintsev's Hamlet and King Lear, are overdue for release on DVD in the United States.
This Russian film of the late 50's is the definitive cinematic version of Cervantes' masterpiece, featuring the great star Nikolai Cherkasov in the lead. It is available on VHS and should be sought out by all true film buffs.
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