Tuesday, December 8, 2015

El Cid (1961)

Director: Anthony Mann

Writers: Fredric M. Frank, Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman

Composer: Miklos Rozsa

Starring: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, Genevieve Page, John Fraser, Gary Raymond, Hurd Hatfield, Massimo Serato, Frank Thring, Michael Hordern, Andrew Cruickshank, Douglas Wilmer, Herbert Lom

More info: IMDb


Plot: The fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz (a.k.a. El Cid) overcomes a family vendetta and court intrigue to defend Christian Spain against the Moors.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

I probably haven't seen this in over twenty years and that's a damn shame.  It's one of the better epic adventure films that came out of the 50s and 60s.  The scenery is beautiful, it's well cast and acted, the costumes are amazing and look like they've been well-worn, the story goes to places you might not usually think and this picture moves very nicely for going on for just over three hours.  I'd love to see this in a theater someday.  Wow.  EL CID also features one of the greatest film scores of all time.  Rozsa's themes and orchestration beautifully capture not only the mood but it fits the epic setting while retaining every bit of intimacy the characters earn.  It's absolutely splendid.  I need to dig up my soundtrack CD and put that sumbitch on my iPod.  Words can't do it justice.  It needs to be heard.  I'm sure there are plenty of tracks available on YouTube to listen to for hours.  One thing I really like is the direction the film takes.  El Cid (Heston) takes the honorable path and he makes it his own.  His choices are not the choices a lot of us would make but they are true to his character despite what pain they may inflict.  He's also a fearless badass and he's got Sophia Loren to come home to...when he comes home, that is.  Not a bad deal.  I'm sure the film plays pretty loosely with the facts but if you leave the film knowing that El Cid was a heroic warrior in Spain then that's what matters I suppose.  Check out the story of what happened after his death on the Wiki page.  Neat-O.  There is NO Blu-ray for this.  What's up with the fucking Weinstein boys that they can't be bothered with that?  I've got the 2-disc deluxe edition DVD which is great (and it's LOADED with extras...thank you) but it's about time this great film gets the high def treatment it deserves. 

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