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)
A Delightful Treat For Any True Welles Fan- (and more complete than you may think...)
Those who dismiss this reconstructed film out-of-hand cannot possibly have any appreciation of Welles' genius. The reviewer who calls it a "dog's dinner" is obviously reacting to the unusual and non-linear qualities of Welles' later films. I doubt that he can know very much about either Welles or Quijote. In any case, he fails to see the forest from the trees. Of course there are some scenes and shots in this incomplete film that go nowhere-- BUT this is still the most beautiful, exhilariting, and cinematic version of Cervantes yet put to film. I don't doubt that the film would be better if Welles had been able to finish editing it himself. But even as it is, the great director left his mark on each and every surviving scene. Visually speaking, the film is simply too similar to 'The Trial' and other late Welles classics to be ignored.
The film centers around the idea of Don Quixote (and Sancho) trying to stick to their guns in the midst of the great confusion of modern-day Spain. Such a conceit is absolutely typical of Welles, as are all the other major departures from the novel. Welles was not known for faithfulness. But there are also scenes of pure character drama, and they play so well as to make us believe that Cervantes had written them; Welles was, after all, among the greatest of screenwriters.
Not the least of his triumphs here is in the casting: Akim Tamiroff, one of the screen's greatest and most unsung actors, was born to play Sancho and he does not disappoint. Francisco Reiguera looks and acts more like Cervantes' Knight than any other. Again, the other reviewers fail to appreciate this.
If the film has any really major flaw (apart from the awful English dubbing), it is the additional dialog written by Jess Franco, who was Welles' A.D. on this film. Of course it is difficult to identify, but I take it that most of the dialog is Welles'. The film also goes on too long concerning bull-fighting, but of course this was one of Welles' fascinations and it is probably at least partly his fault.
The real reason this film has been ignored is because a lot of people crave conventional narrative cinema so badly that they deride cinematic art unless it has a "artist's brand name" attached to it. Since Welles' is not entirely responsible for the final cut as we have it, a lot of people feel that its 'fair game' in a way that his other films are not. Well, if you can't stand genius, then stay away from it-- you'll only embarrass yourself trying to deride it.
BEWARE THE English-LANGUAGE DUBBING. Welles obviously never did an English dub of this footage, and the one that is supplied by Welles' reconstructors is a total injustice to the film. It is far better to stick it out with the Spanish track and French sub-titles, even if you don't know a word of French. At least you'll have an idea of the quality of some of the scenes. HOPEFULLY we will see a DVD of this in the US with English subtitles.
Perhaps some further reconstruction is also still possible? BUT it will only happen if Welles fans are supportive of the footage the Welles did indeed achieve.
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