The French version of G.W.Pabst's monumental three-language (English, French and German - separate versions each) filming of Cervantes' classic novel. The German version seems to be lost, ... See full summary »
The French version of G.W.Pabst's monumental three-language (English, French and German - separate versions each) filming of Cervantes' classic novel. The German version seems to be lost, but it is spoken of in three books, "The Film Till Now", and two of Pauline Kael's books of movie criticism. Written by
Albert Sanchez Moreno <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Great film with a touching ending, superb music and a brilliant Chaliapin
Don Quichotte is quite simply a great film, that has a lot going for it. I saw the film in all three of its versions, and while all three of them are well done on their own terms, the French one I feel is the most effective, but the English lyrics are wonderfully poetic. The only real problem is that some scenes are a little jumpy and perhaps the film is a little too short, but other than that it is fine. Being a fan of the great Russian bass Chaliapin and a lover of the legendary story by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, I wanted to see Don Quichotte after seeing a part of it featured on the outstanding documentary The Art of Singing:Golden Voices of the 20th Century, and after finally seeing the film I was not disappointed.
The visuals here are stunning, with some truly effective framing scenes and the effects of light and shade. The scenery and costumes are also really authentic and don't look fake. The music is absolutely superb, the score is a gem, and the lyrics are simply wonderful. The dialogue is very good, as is the direction and staging. The ending is very effective, beautiful and touching, the story is very coherent and the performances are really good. Chaliapin practically becomes Don Quichotte here, I do agree that his French is marginally better than his English and I do prefer his Boris(where he practically is the Russian tsar), but he has a towering presence and a robust singing voice. Dorville, Rene Donnio, Renee Valliers and Jean de Limur all give great supporting turns, but it is Chaliapin's show all the way.
Overall, this is a great underrated film with many good things about it. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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