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.
This musical version of Don Quixote is framed by an incident allegedly from the life of its author, Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote is the mad, aging nobleman who embarrasses his respectable family by his adventures. Backed by his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza, he duels windmills and defends his perfect lady Dulcinea (who is actually a downtrodden whore named Aldonza).Written by
Peter O'Toole recorded his vocal tracks for the film, but after realizing his own voice was not sufficient enough for the requirements of the music, assisted in the search for a singing voice double. The man O'Toole initially picked sounded nothing like him, so a new search was begun, and eventually Simon Gilbert was selected as the singing voice of Don Quixote, as his singing voice sounded the most like O'Toole's speaking voice. See more »
Both the film and stage performances of the play on which it's based depict the elderly Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra as able to use both hands. The real Cervantes had a paralyzed left hand from his wound in the Battle of Lepanto (1571) when he was a 20-something. See more »
You know what the worst crime of all is? Being born. For that you get punished your whole life.
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Practically all of the actors in the film, with the exception of those who play the Captain of the Guard and the soldiers of the Spanish Inquisition respectively, play dual or triple roles, but only five of them are actually listed in the credits as having done so. All of the other actors are listed as if they only played one role in the film, as the prisoners generally aren't given names. See more »
The DVD features the MGM logo in the credits, but not the United Artists one, although the film is a United Artists release. The VHS release featured both logos, and the original theatrical release only the United Artists one, along with the Transamerica logo (Transamerica once owned UA). See more »
Great Theatrical Experience----Good Film Experience, but......
I was privileged to have seen "Man of La Mancha" twice in the theater. These were riveting and unforgettable moments. As those who have seen it performed already know, the play was presented without intermission. Obviously this is because the drama builds up to such an emotional high as the story unfolds that a break in the narrative would have been both jarring and disorienting.
To that extent, the play was crafted almost in the same vein as a film-----without any break from beginning to end.
The movie version sticks quite closely to its theatrical origins. Given the creative personnel responsible for the film, this is quite understandable.
I thought that Sophia Loren was right for the female leading role notwithstanding her limited vocal range. She gave us an emotionally charged and powerful performance that overcame her lack of strength as a singer.
Peter O'Toole is another matter. Not only was his singing dubbed, but O'Toole was a somewhat mannered and affected Cervantes. Admittedly, it may be a valid artistic conception to make the soldier/actor/poet/author/tilter at windmills effete and rather fragile. But the role as developed on the stage projected a man with more power as he adopted his various guises.
Why didn't the filmmakers remember Howard Keel when they were casting the movie? He had a wonderful baritone voice, and exhibited in "Kiss Me Kate" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" the kind of qualities that could have made Cervantes more appealing and less exhausted. Keel was a vibrant 53 in 1972------the year when the film was released (O'Toole was then 40). Certainly, that would have been an appropriate age for the role. As a footnote, Keel played Cervantes in touring and summer stock productions of "Man of La Mancha" for many years around the time the film was made.
We should be grateful that we have a more or less complete contemporaneous film account of a legendary musical play. What a pity that this good musical film wasn't made even more memorable by casting a worthy singing film actor in the male lead. The score certainly did not benefit from being sung from the mouth of such a depleted-appearing performer as O'Toole. He should have stuck with "Lawrence of Arabia!"
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