Don Quixote (May 25, , 1933)
Released on May 25, 1933: An old man in Spain trades his land and wealth for books, and becomes convinced that he must change the world by bringing back the age of knights.
Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Written by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra with screenplay by Alexandre Arnoux, John Farrow, Paul Morand and Georg Wilhelm Pabst.
The Actors: Fedor Chaliapin Sr. (Don Quixote), George Robey (Sancho Panza), Oscar Asche (Captain of Police), Rene Donnio (Carrasco), Frank Stanmore (Merridew), Miles Mander (the Duke of Fallanga), Wally Patch (the Gypsy King), Sidney Fox (Maria the niece), Emily Fitzroy (Sancho Panza's wife), Renee Valliers (Dulcinea), Andreas Malandrinos (Innkeeper and the Jester), Lydia Sherwood (Duchess of Fallanga), Vladimir Sokoloff (servant).
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"Honest Mom, you don't want me to read a book, you want me to play games on the computer - you don't want me to become another Don Quixote, do you? Reading books will make me insane, like Quixote!" Well, that probably won't work, or at least it shouldn't work, but the great tale of Don Quixote, the Man of la Mancha might lead one to those conclusions. This is a restored version of the first sound motion picture of the great Cervantes tale of an old man that believes he is a knight in shining armor, long after the days of knights.
As the movie opens, we find an old man and his loyal friend Sancho Panza in a small town in rural Spain. Sancho is bringing a donkey load of books to his old friend. The townspeople are muttering about the old fool that trades his land and his wealth for books - soon he will not be able to eat because he has squandered his land and money on books! The books that he particularly enjoys are about the Knights of the Round Table, and the chivalry and good deeds that they did. One day, as he is watching a play at the local theater, that happens to be about the days of knighthood, he gets carried away with the action, and rushes onto the stage to fight a rogue knight. The audience loves it, and the actors pretend that he is part of the play, and even 'knight' him and give him a feather hat. Quixote believes that he is not a real knight, and with his side-kick Pancho, he roams the countryside in search of maidens to save, and misdeeds to right.
After several entertaining misadventures, Quixote is 'captured' and returned to his small village, where he is just in time to see the townspeople standing around a large fire fed by all of his books. He sings a final song of woe, but not of defeat, because although his books are burned and gone, their words will live on in his heart. The actor that plays Don Quixote was a famous opera star from 1933, Fedor Chaliapin Sr. His song at the end, as he watches his books go up in flames, is marvelous.
Have you ever seen a character that was 'different' than everyone else? Did you make fun of this person, or lovingly enjoy their different ways? We have been taught from childhood to conform - do things in the accepted way, just exactly like everyone else. We have been taught that 'different' is bad. If you don't talk like me, that is not good. If you do not enjoy the same foods as I, that is not good. If you have different customs that I enjoy, that is not good. How did we ever get this way in America? This whole country was built by 'different' people from around the globe. But now all of a sudden, anyone that is different is a threat, and must be removed from our midst. If you still have some popcorn left after watching this short classic tale, you might want to check out the James Cagney tale of a 'different' man in a bar in 1948, The Time of Your Life.