7.9/10
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39 user 62 critic

The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)

Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie (original title)
Upon finding a book that relates his grandfather's story, an officer ventures through Spain meeting a wide array of characters, most of whom have a story of their own to tell.

Director:

Wojciech Has (as Wojciech J. Has)

Writers:

Tadeusz Kwiatkowski, Jan Potocki (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zbigniew Cybulski ... Alfonse Van Worden
Iga Cembrzynska ... Princess Emina
Elzbieta Czyzewska ... Donna Frasquetta Salero
Gustaw Holoubek ... Don Pedro Velasquez
Stanislaw Igar ... Don Gaspar Soarez
Joanna Jedryka ... Zibelda
Janusz Klosinski ... Don Diego Salero
Bogumil Kobiela ... Senor Toledo
Barbara Krafftówna ... Camilla de Tormez
Jadwiga Krawczyk Jadwiga Krawczyk ... Donna Inez Moro
Slawomir Lindner Slawomir Lindner ... Van Worden's father
Krzysztof Litwin ... Don Lopez Soarez
Miroslawa Lombardo Miroslawa Lombardo ... Van Worden's mother
Jan Machulski ... Count Pena Flor
Zdzislaw Maklakiewicz ... Don Roque Busqueros
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Storyline

In the Napoleonic wars, an officer finds an old book that relates his grandfather's story, Alfons van Worden, captain in the Walloon guard. A man of honor and courage, he seeks the shortest route through the Sierra Morena. At an inn, the Venta Quemada, he sups with two Islamic princesses. They call him their cousin and seduce him; he wakes beside corpses under a gallows. He meets a hermit priest and a goatherd; each tells his story; he wakes again by the gallows. He's rescued from the Inquisition, meets a cabalist and hears more stories within stories, usually of love. He returns to Venta Quemada, the women await with astonishing news. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

9 February 1965 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

El manuscrito encontrado en Zaragoza See more »

Filming Locations:

Olsztyn, Slaskie, Poland See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,377
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kamera Film Unit See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel, who seldom viewed movies more than once, liked this film so much that he saw it three times. See more »

Quotes

Don Pedro Velasquez: We are like blind men lost in the streets of a big city. The streets lead to a goal, but we often return to the same places to get to where we want to be. I can see a few little streets here which, as it is now, are going nowhere. New combinations have to be arranged, then the whole will be clear, because one man cannot invent something that another cannot solve.
Alfonse Van Worden: I no longer follow.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released in a cut version in the US, the film was restored to it's original 182-minutes running time and premiered at the New York Film Festival in September 1997. The restoration project, supervised by Edith Kramer, was initially sponsored by Grateful Dead's leader Jerry Garcia and later completed by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. The restored version includes a dedication to Jerry Garcia. See more »

Connections

Version of Agadah (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Ode to Joy
Taken from "Symphony No. 9 IV movement ('Finale')"
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unusual, imaginative classic of fantastic cinema
19 March 2003 | by Alex KlotzSee all my reviews

Although I usually try to avoid very long movies, I was glad I took the time to watch this one. Based on Jan Potocki's marvelous, somewhat `enlightened Gothic novel', this is another congenial literary adaptation of Director Wojciech Has; it's a shame this is the only one of his movies easily available. The film tells of a young soldier traveling through Spain and meeting a lot of strange characters that all have their own stories to relate. Of course, the series of interlocked stories-within-stories may appear complicated, but there is always the opportunity to just lean back and enjoy the story being told right now; or to look at the diagram in the great DVD Edition to make things clear. And surely there doesn't seem to be a central thread if you don't watch the end of the movie. (How useful would a review of, say `The usual Suspects' be, if you didn't watch the ending?) And, by the way, there are a lot more stories and framing devices in the novel… It's no wonder that (Danger! Pretentious name-dropping ahead) this is one of Luis Bunuel's favorite movies, the structure of some of his later films, especially `The Milky Way' and `The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' bear a lot of resemblance. And there's a scene in `Monty Python's Life of Brian', in which the Pasheko – Character reappears. (It's too close to be a coincidence.) To cut a long story short: If you prefer films with a straight forward narration; this one's obviously not for you. But if you're open minded and like to see a highly original, imaginative epic, try it.


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