Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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I was able to skip out of work a little early on Thursday, which allowed me the opportunity to see the screening of El Cid at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. This was, apparently, one of the 1993 restoration prints, which means that the condition of the original elements were quite dire. There were several moments where contrast was poor and the image appeared splotchy. I found myself idly wondering at one point if the image quality would have been improved if I had brought 3-D glasses; on top of these issues, the print was not in the best of shape and most of the reel changes were obnoxiously jarring. Apparently the 2008 restoration was in the digital realm and has corrected most of these issues for the DVD release, which I will pass up in anticipation of a Blu-ray presentation. Nevertheless, this was the first time that I had ever seen the film, and was glad to have been able to experience it projected. The battle scenes in particular were quite breathtaking to see on the big screen.

Most of the performances very good (taking into account the disparity of acting styles between 1961 and today), with Charlton Heston's impassioned turn in the lead as a highlight; the film hangs on believing in Rodrigo's virtue, and he does an admirable job of conveying that without coming across as a sap. Sophia Loren seemed a bit uncomfortable towards the beginning of the film, but that cleared up once the plot kicked into high gear, and she moves from being cold and distanced to warm and loving. John Fraser was extremely believable as Alfonso and Andrew Cruickshank was also quite engaging as Gormaz, who has a very interesting arc. Geneviève Page, Gary Raymond, Douglas Wilmer and Ralph Truman also contribute creditable performances.

There was applause during the opening credits for several of the names, different people were applauding for different things up until then (I was amused by the smattering that Herbert Lom had gotten) and it was most gratifying to hear the widest reaction was for none other than Miklós Rózsa... Everybody there gave it up for the Doctor! Interestingly, Anthony Mann's credit passed without any response.

Sigerson Holmes commented on the relevant thread on the Film Score Monthly Messageboard, "...on the whole the score reminded me of the famous Oscar Levant reaction to seeing King Kong for the first time, 'a Steiner symphony accompanied by pictures,' or whatever the exact wording was." I also had the Levant reaction... while I was indeed enjoying the film, I was at all times focused on the score, hearing how it mirrored the action and reflected characters. This is in no way detracting from the film... it was made in an era when the score was considered of paramount importance to the narrative flow, and so my reaction was the one desired by the filmmakers. Indeed, when the James Sedares recording first came out while I was working at Tower, I was playing it in the store and several older customers, who rarely if ever went near the film music section, recognized the music.

A very good film made unforgettable by Rózsa.

The time has come to lay The Bronze Mist to rest. It has become increasingly clear that her value is in her parts rather than her whole, which means that I'm going to have to turn her in to a junkyard.

This saddens me because she has been my car for three years now, which is the longest any car of mine has yet lasted. Her loyalty extended so far as to give me fair warning when she was preparing to die; I've known she's been seriously ailing for quite some time now, but she's still running (forward, at least). Yes, I'm anthropomorphizing my car, but I subscribe to the naval tradition of referencing one's vehicles.

I will have to be car-less for a while now. I have per force been so for some time, but now even those small tasks that I used her for (laundry, grocery shopping) present themselves as difficult prospects. I am considering buying one of those shopping carts you see the bag ladies with.
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