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Archive for July 31st, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA/Spain 1961 184m) DVD1/2

Out of the gates of history into legend

p  Samuel Bronston  d  Anthony Mann  w  Frederic M.Frank, Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman  ph  Robert Krasker  ed  Robert Lawrence  m  Miklós Rózsa  art/cos  Veniero Colosanti, John Moore 

Charlton Heston (Roderigo Diaz de Bivar, El Cid), Sophia Loren (Doña Chimene), Geneviève Page (Urraca I of Castile), John Fraser (Alfonso VI of Castile), Herbert Lom (Ben Yussuf), Raf Vallone (Count Ordonez), Gary Raymond (Sancho II of Castile), Hurd Hatfield (Count Arias), Massimo Serrato (Fanez), Andrew Cruickshank (Count Gomez), Michael Hordern (Don Diego), Frank Thring (Al Kadir), Douglas Wilmer (Moutamin), Ralph Truman (Ferdinand I of Castile),

Watching Anthony Mann’s epic for the first time in 1989 was not a particularly memorable experience.  This particular sixteen year old wasn’t too impressed at all, but then again, there wasn’t just my meagre age to consider.  Consider the quality of print I was viewing, a bastardised, bleached out, panned and scanned travesty of a VHS on the cheap Cinema Club label.  All sense of scope, visual splendour, composition, framing and style was totally ruined.  It was like looking at the Northern Lights through sunglasses, the mythical grandeur not so much dead as extinct.  Nearly two decades on and the film can be seen as it was meant to be seen; with gloriously remastered picture and sound in an impressive Region 1 DVD package showcasing what Martin Scorsese rightly called “one of the greatest epics ever made.” (more…)

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