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Highly recommended, but only for those who know the history.
This is the story of the great South American hero, General Don Jose de San Martin, one of the three great liberators of the American Colonies from the European empires, next to Washington and Bolivar. The storyline covers near a decade of his life; from the arrival of San Martin to Buenos Aires after his military training in Europe, going through all his historical battles (San Lorenzo, Maipú, Chacabuco), and ends when he encounters General Bolivar, after liberating North Argentina, Chile, and South Peru from the Spanish forces. Almost every historic event is shown, including the crossing of the Andes Mountains -by far the best representation of the whole movie-. This approach of showing everything, causes the movie to be too brief on each event, and explain little or nothing about the causes and motivations of each and every step of San Martin's feat. So, it's essential to have a previous knowledge of this frame of the American history if you intend to understand the film. Otherwise, you'll get dizzied by the somewhat clumsy series of battles and arrivals-at-conquered-cities.
El Santo de la Espada is made by Argentines, and undoubtedly intended for an Argentine public, and the hero is always preceding the man. A more sensitive side of San Martin's personality is also exercised in the various scenes where he is alone with his wife, though this is only half achieved. Some little trivia here: The director's cut originally portrayed San Martin crying while watching soldiers die in one of the battles, but this scene was deleted after censoring from the dictatorial military government of the time, which wouldn't allow any sign of weakness in Argentina's #1 national hero.
Overall, the movie is very well done having in mind the techy limitations of the time where it was done, and specifically, the limitations on Argentine's cinematography. The performances are acceptable in general, and Alfredo Alcon's is definitely outstanding: he will make you firmly believe that he is the San Martin you've studied about in school.
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