Sunday, November 8, 2009

El Cid (1961)

El Cid was Spain's great hero in the 11th century. From the hand of director Anthony Mann, came this big epic. The movie itself has a very good story to start to, and I must say that the fight/battle scenes are very well handled. I particularly love the duel between El Cid and the knight from Aragon, and the last battle, when a man who carries the banner gets hit. He falls, but can still find time to give the banner to his friend, before being stroked by another enemy.

Spain in the year of 1080. Rodrigo Díaz (well played by Charlton Heston), on his way to his bride, the beautiful Jimena (Sophia Loren), defeats the Moors who had attacked some village. Thinking of Jimena, he lets the Moor leaders go. They swear to be his alliance and call him 'El Cid' (The Lord). However, as he let the Moors go, he is brought to King Ferdinand's court as a traitor, and this event leads him to kill Jimena's father, who before dies forces his daughter to avenge him. Being a noble subject, El Cid continues to do anything for his country: fight the champion of Aragon for the city of Calahorra, goes to a journey in Africa, and last, conquer Valencia. His incorruptible character has won Jimena back, when he makes king Alfonso swear that he didn't kill his brother to get the crown.

When I watched the last war in Valencia, I wondered what the war was was about. I like the El Cid character, who embraces all mankind, no matter what their religions are. In a scene where Christian and Moslem troops sit and eat together, he wonders how a thing a like this can be wrong.

The movie is quite long, almost 3 hours, but didn't feel that long. The music by Miklós Rózsa has a strong feeling, and it seems that in a colossal movie, the music must be dominated by trumpets.

No comments: