Adapted from the work of Miguel de Cervantes, this is the story of a hidalgo, fanatic for chivalry novels, who loses his sanity and believing to be a knight named Don Quixote de La Mancha, ...
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In Spain, in the sixteenth century, an elderly gentleman named Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books on chivalry. Proclaiming himself a knight, he sets out with his squire, ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Feodor Chaliapin Sr.,
Senor Quexana has read so many books on chivalry that he believes that he is the knight Don Quixote de la Mancha. So Don Quixote sets off on his horse, accompanied by his squire Sancho ... See full summary »
The funny story of mad but kind and chivalrous elderly nobleman Don Quixote who, aided by his squire Sancho Panza, fights windmills that are seen as dragons to save prostitute Dulcinea who is seen as a noblewoman.
Adapted from the work of Miguel de Cervantes, this is the story of a hidalgo, fanatic for chivalry novels, who loses his sanity and believing to be a knight named Don Quixote de La Mancha, decides to go on imaginary adventures along with his friend, the simple farmer Sancho Panza, who becomes his squire. On their journeys, they rescue dames in distress in honorable acts and fight giants among other perils, with Don longing to be with the love of his life, lady Dulcinea, and Sancho waiting to be rewarded with an island where he's about to become a governor. Written by
There had been a rival theatrical production which was cancelled by Phoenix Pictures in 1997. Fred Schepisi was to direct, and Robin Williams and John Cleese were to star. See more »
[possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers, who reportedly wanted to make the locale and costumes more colorful] The actual La Mancha is a more arid, monotonous region than the countryside shown in the film. Although it was shot in Spain, Andalusia stood in for La Mancha. See more »
Solid TV version but not strong enough for the running time it struggles to fill
Alonso Quixano eats dinner with the Mayor once a month, walks to church once a week and is shaved by the barber every other day. He longs for more than this and it is his love for the tales of knights and adventures that sees him rename himself as Don Quixote and set out with sidekick Sancho Panza, to whom he has promised an island. Promising his love to the beautiful maid Aldonza (who he has renamed Dulchinea), Quixote sets out for four years of adventure, to spread his fame and prove himself worthy of the hand of Dulchinea.
I wasn't sure quite to expect from this film. Primary in my thoughts was the fact that the source material is one of those things that is difficult to bring to film and indeed I have recently seen the documentary on Gilliam's failed attempt to do so. That this was a TVM with a cast more famous recently for their television work, a director whose best work is behind him and a writer famous for Rumpole of the Bailey. All this conspired to suggest that what I would watch would be little more than a very slight romp for everyone involved in the south of Spain. To some degree this is true but I actually enjoyed the film more than I expected.
Which is not the same as saying it is brilliant (as many have done here). Rather I found the film to be too long and deliberate, which did rather leave the material exposed as wanting. At its core I did find that the world of fantasy and aspiration around Quixote was pretty engaging for stretches of the film but it frustrated me the way that it seemed in no rush to really go anywhere. Had it had more depth and complexity in the characters then this might have been worth it, but as it was it left too much to the actors and didn't really bring up people beyond the obvious narrative development thereof. This was a shame because the performances were actually pretty good and deserved more to work with. Lithgow is the best example of what I mean. He gets the mix of madness and hope just right, producing a figure that is fun and engaging at the same time. However without the material to work with, he is left working as hard as he can but superficially nothing wrong with that in itself but as the time runs on it does wear thin. Hoskins is similar he is fun but his one-note turn does run out of steam with a lot of the film left to go. Rossellini and Williams are not that great and sort of drift around the edges, with the rest of the support doing so-so work.
The direction is solid if not spectacular perhaps showing a lack of imagination across the material as he tends to go for the easy effect when it comes. The use of southern Spain is a good choice and does give the film a sense of place that helps cover up for other faults. Overall then this was better than I expected but still not a great telling. It lacks complexity and plays a straight bat throughout which becomes more and more of a problem as the overly-long running time exposes the weaknesses.
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