Miguel de Cervantes (whom everyone in the movie insisted on calling Mig-u-el, made me nuts) is in an Inquisition prison and (having been thrown there with his trunk of theatre props) orchestrates a play about Don Quixote with/for the other prisoners.
I have a real love-hate relationship with this movie. It makes me long to see a good production of the play, which I suspect is much better and makes more sense.
Firstly, the cast is first rate: Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren, James Coco, Brian Blessed, Ian Richardson…wow. Unfortunately, O’Toole and Loren couldn’t sing…the person who sang for him is credited, hers is not, but we think it was Marni Nixon, sounds just like her (but this movie is not listed under her name in IMDB, so we could be wrong). Anyway. Both their MAJOR roles are lip-synched, and it’s OBVIOUS. Especially in the trio with Coco, who COULD sing. Oh my. Not good.
It’s also kind of a wierd story-within-a-story-within-a-story kind of thing…the Inquistion aspect is cool, but there’s no big wow except for the Impossible Dream song (the huge hit from this movie, and with good reason…few of the other songs are actually singable by normal people, although Mr. Otter likes to belt out a few of them from time to time…but he’s got special powers, kids, so don’t try this at home).
So the songs are kinda odd, sung by people who can’t sing, following a plot that’s a story and a play and…you get the picture. Like I said, it was probably better on the stage.
Having said that, it’s still well worth watching. For sheer force of personality and rightness for the roles, you can’t beat O’Toole, Coco and Loren, sparks fly every which way. There are many good scenes and memorable lines, and even the odd songs can easily stick in your head for days.
So go ahead. Give it a try, and then tell this otter what you thought of it.