El Cid [Anthony Mann]
After revisiting The Cid - after a gap of a couple of decades - I have
to confess an about-turn. I have always remembered at as stagy, very
silly and, more unforgivable, boring - in the grand ol' epic tradition.
Yes, it still is very silly and over the top and utterly in love with it's
But that is its draw.
In the very best sense of
the word, El Cid is thoroughly camp. And, apart from a David Lean, what else
do you expect from this kind of film? I make no apologies for thinking
it magnificent for the very reasons others (myself included) dismiss it.
There is a reason it was such a massive hit when it
was released - because it gave the audience of a pot-boiler what they
want - a hero to adore, a strong-willed and gorgeous heroine, kings and
queens and princes and princesses squabbling and stabbing and throttling
each other, an epic bit of jousting, heaving breasts, melodrama,
thrilling battles and one heck of a jaw-dropping finale. And, as an added bonus, it's also
Miklós Rózsa's finest score.
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones I
defy you to not have it in mind while watching.The utterly magnificent
(and totally bonkers) finale of our gorgeous hero, dead and nailed to
his horse (not surprisingly, Chuck struggled with this), riding off in
to eternity, literally trampling the villain underhoof along the way, is
something I don't doubt will end up in the show - if it hasn't already