Don Quixote is an unfinished film project produced, written and directed by Orson Welles. Principal photography took place between 1957 and 1969. Test footage was filmed as early as 1955, ... See full summary »
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.
After reading too many novels about knights and heroic stories, Don Quijote and his servant Sancho Panza decide to wander the roads of Spain to protect the weak and to accomplish good deeds. But the real world is not as magical and fairy as Don Quijote imagines it to be. Following the plot of Cervantes classical book, Don Quijote fights with windmills thinking they are giants but unluckily, he manages to be defeated by them.Written by
Cyril Aubaud (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This film is terrible, and don't blame Jesus Franco, because its not his fault.
This film was shot silent over many years by Welles as he got the money to bring a crew and the actors together to do some shooting. How much film Welles actually shot is not clear, although not all of the film or all of the sequences are here since several "key" sequences, such as Quixote in a movie theater, are in the hands of collectors or backers who wouldn't give them up. The film here is just under two hours and I would be hard pressed to imagine it ever really working at any length. I'm of the opinion, based on several comments that Welles made before his death, that he never really intended to release the film, but was putting it together as a personal toy.
What exists here is for the most part is beautifully shot, but dramatically dead. Very little happens for the first hour other than Quixote and Sancho wandering around the country side. Dull would be a kind description of the material. In the second hour Quixote ends up in modern Spain and in a series of not very good sequences deals with everyday life. This isn't to say that there isn't a few nice moments, the windmill and the chicken sequences are quite good, but mostly this is a vast waste of film and time.
"Completed" by Jesus Franco, who was Welles' assistant director on the vastly superior Chimes at Midnight, we have a bunch of film fragments that have been put together as best as possible. Many people have crucified Franco as having been the reason the film stinks, but frankly one can not make a good movie from crap material. One critic has gone on record as having seen a different cut of the film in the 1970's, which meant that Franco made this version up on his own and ruined it. While that maybe true, I've run across stories of Welles cutting and re-cutting the film many many times over the years since he could never get it right.
This film is terrible no matter how you slice it.
Ultimately I'm left wondering just how good a film maker Welles was. Aside from Citizen Kane almost all of his films have been plagued by lack of budget or interfered with so we are left with the excuse that many of his films "would have been better if only...". How do we know? How can we know? Perhaps Welles was a man of less talent than we thought and many of his borderline films just aren't that good, and never would have been. While this is no place to argue the place of Welles in film history, the surviving material of Don Quixote, assuming it approximates what Welles intended (I think it does), is a good case for rethinking how we view the man and his work.
4 out of 10 for the good sequences (though 2 out of 10 is probably closer to reality)
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