Man of La Mancha (1972)

PG | 130 or 132 mins | Musical | December 1972

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HISTORY

The viewed print contained a three-minute overture. The onscreen credit of Luciano Damiani reads: ""Sets and Costumes by." Sibylle Ulsamer's onscreen credit reads: "Assistant to Sets and Costume Designer." The film contains several flashback sequences, during which the story told by the prisoner “Miguel Cervantes” is recreated. Most of the cast members perform in dual roles as prisoners and as a character in Cervantes’ story. The film was shot in 35mm and then blown up to 70mm for theatrical release.
       The historical Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547--1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. His combined writings, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha and Segunda parte del ingenioso caballero Don Quijote de la Mancha , were written and published separately in 1605 and 1615, respectively. The work is now considered by many to be the first novel in the Western literary canon, one of the greatest in both Western literature and in the Spanish language, and a major influence on generations of important literary works. The novel gave the world the adjective “quixotic,” which has come to describe a romantically inclined person striving for visionary and often impractical ideals, as well as the phrase “tilting at windmills,” a figurative expression meaning to fight imaginary enemies.
       The 1965 musical Man of La Mancha , by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion was based on Cervantes’ life and works. Although the musical opened modestly in Greenwich Village, it was soon moved to Broadway, where the show ran for six years and became the fourth longest-running Broadway musical at that time. Several of the songs from the ... More Less

The viewed print contained a three-minute overture. The onscreen credit of Luciano Damiani reads: ""Sets and Costumes by." Sibylle Ulsamer's onscreen credit reads: "Assistant to Sets and Costume Designer." The film contains several flashback sequences, during which the story told by the prisoner “Miguel Cervantes” is recreated. Most of the cast members perform in dual roles as prisoners and as a character in Cervantes’ story. The film was shot in 35mm and then blown up to 70mm for theatrical release.
       The historical Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547--1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. His combined writings, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha and Segunda parte del ingenioso caballero Don Quijote de la Mancha , were written and published separately in 1605 and 1615, respectively. The work is now considered by many to be the first novel in the Western literary canon, one of the greatest in both Western literature and in the Spanish language, and a major influence on generations of important literary works. The novel gave the world the adjective “quixotic,” which has come to describe a romantically inclined person striving for visionary and often impractical ideals, as well as the phrase “tilting at windmills,” a figurative expression meaning to fight imaginary enemies.
       The 1965 musical Man of La Mancha , by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion was based on Cervantes’ life and works. Although the musical opened modestly in Greenwich Village, it was soon moved to Broadway, where the show ran for six years and became the fourth longest-running Broadway musical at that time. Several of the songs from the show became famous in their own right, especially “The Impossible Dream,” which has been recorded and performed by many artists throughout the decades, and whose title has become a widely used phrase.
       In Dec 1965, Var and DV news items reported that actor Anthony Quinn negotiated with Wasserman for the film rights. The same DV news item stated that Quinn and the Mexican comedian Cantinflas, whom Quinn wanted for the role of “Sancho Panza,” had earlier been considered for a different project, based on the novel. In Jul 1967, a LAHExam news item reported that director Ronnie Lubin claimed to have been planning a "Don Quixote" project for the past ten years, for which he had been negotiating with Cantinflas and hoped to star Burt Lancaster, but Lubin’s project did not reach fruition, and the role of Sancho Panza went to James Coco.
       According to a Jul 1967 DV news item, United Artists outbid Universal, CBS and Twentieth Century-Fox for the rights, although the offers of Universal and CBS exceeded UA in terms of cash. A Jul 1967 HR "Rambling Reporter" column reported that one of the reasons UA's offer was attractive to the sellers was that the studio planned to cast Richard Burton in the lead and hire Terence Young, the director of the recently completed 1967 film Wait Until Dark (See Entry). Although a Jul 1967 HR news items suggested Elizabeth Taylor for the role of "Dulcinea," this was probably speculation due to Taylor's then marriage to Burton.
       According to a Sep 1968 DV article, filming of Man of La Mancha would be delayed until at least 1971, after the stage version, which was in the third year of its run, was no longer showing in “first-class” venues. An Oct 1969 DV news item reported that Wasserman, who held the largest single interest in the stage play, got $1.5 million for his portion of the film rights and for writing a screenplay. According to a Dec 1969 DV news item, Picker announced that Wasserman would write the screenplay, that Albert Marre would recreate his stage direction and that Mitch Leigh, who composed the original music, would produce and supervise the scoring. However, an undated 1970 LAHExam article, contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS library, reported that Marre would probably be replaced by a more experienced film director. Filmfacts added that, around the time Marre was replaced, John Hopkins had been hired to write the screenplay, but acording to an Apr 1972 LAHExam article, only the opening of Wasserman's final script was adapted from Hopkins' version. Both Filmfacts and an Apr 1971 DV news item reported that Peter Glenville was then hired to direct, but by Aug 1971, a DV news item repeated rumors that he would be replaced by Arthur Hiller, who had replaced Glenville by the time principal photography began in Jan 1972.
       The film was shot in Italy. Interiors, which included the prison and inn sequences, were shot at Dino De Laurentiis Studios in Rome, where, according to production notes, there was enough vertical clearance to accommodate the tall staircase. Unlike the stage version of Man of La Mancha , which had only one set, the film shows outdoor sequences, which, according to a Jun 1972 Evening Outlook (Santa Monica, CA) article, were shot near Etruscan ruins near the village of Tarquinia, located about seventy-five miles north of Rome. Of the original Broadway cast, only Gino Conforti, who played “The barber,” reprised his role in the film. Although Peter O’Toole portrayed “Cervantes/Quixote” in the film, according to an undated 1970 LAHExam article, Richard Kiley, who originated the role on Broadway, and Gregory Peck were considered for the lead. Man of La Mancha marked the first musical role of Sophia Loren. Several songs from the stage version, mostly songs sung by Loren, were either omitted or shortened for the film.
       The Samuel Goldwyn Studios was used for post-production work, according to an Oct 1972 DV news item. Although, according to a May 1972 DV news item, David V. Picker, then president of UA, expected the film to cost about $9.1 million and other sources mentioned a cost of $11 million, the final cost of the film was reported at $12 million. A Sep 1972 DV news item reported that Prince Philip planned to attend the London premiere, which was planned for 20 Dec 1972. The film was not well-received by critics. The LAT review reported that there were post-synching problems and several reviewers criticized the trend of casting non-singers and non-dancers in musical roles. However, Laurence Rosenthal was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Scoring of an Adaptation and Original Song Score.
       An Oct 1981 DV article reported that a disagreement developed between Albert W. Selden, who co-produced the stage musical and Wasserman, Leigh and Darion, when the latter three refused to accept an offer made by banker Norman Main. Main wanted to film the musical for television using the original Broadway stars Kiley and Joan Diener and director Marre. Among the reasons given for the authors’ refusal of Main’s offer were concerns that Main lacked show business experience, concern about the film’s potential effect on future legit productions and that the offer provided the authors only gross percentages and no advance payment. The article reported that Selden was seeking arbitration. The production never reached fruition and no further information about the dispute was found. For information on other film versions about Cervantes and his works, See Entry for the 1916 Don Quixote . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Jan 1973
p. 3.
Box Office
15 Jan 1973
p. 4555.
Cue
16 Dec 1972.
---
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1965.
---
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1967
p. 1.
Daily Variety
11 Sep 1968.
---
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1969.
---
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1969.
---
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1971.
---
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1971.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 1972.
---
Daily Variety
22 Sep 1972.
---
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1972.
---
Daily Variety
1 Dec 1972.
---
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1981.
---
Evening Outlook (Santa Monica, CA)
10 Jun 1972.
---
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 617-20.
Films and Filming
Feb 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 1972
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1972
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1972.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
12 Jul 1967.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
30 Apr 1972
Section F, p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
16 Dec 1972
Section B, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
23 Apr 1972
p. 1, 26.
Los Angeles Times
14 Dec 1972
Section IV, p. 1, 30.
New York Times
12 Dec 1972
p. 60.
Saturday Review
23 Dec 1972.
---
Seventeen
Dec 1972.
---
Show
23 Jan 1972
pp. 25-30.
Time
25 Dec 1972.
---
Variety
28 Jun 1972.
---
Variety
6 Dec 1972
p. 16.
Wall Street Journal
15 Dec 1972.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Arthur Hiller Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Chief grip
Chief elec
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Asst to sets des
Prop master
COSTUMES
Asst to cost des
MUSIC
Mus adpt and cond
Mus ed
Mus assoc
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreographer
MAKEUP
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Loc scout and screen tests
Chief disbursing agent
STAND INS
Singing voice for Peter O'Toole
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Man of La Mancha , book by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, produced on the New York stage by Albert W. Selden and Hal James, original production staged by Albert Marre (New York, 22 Nov 1965), which was based on the novel El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Madrid, 1605) and his novel Segunda parte del ingenioso cabellero Don Quijote de la Mancha (Madrid, 1615).
SONGS
"Man of La Mancha," "It's All the Same," "Dulcinea," "I'm Only Thinking of Him," "I Really Like Him," "The Barber's Song," "The Golden Helmet of Mambrino," "Little Bird, Little Bird" "The Impossible Dream," "The Dubbing (Knight of the Woeful Countenance)," "Aldonza," "A Little Gossip," "The Psalm" and "The Quest," music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion.
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1972
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 December 1972
Los Angeles opening: 14 December 1972
Production Date:
13 January--late May 1972 at Dino De Laurentiis Studios, Rome
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 November 1972
Copyright Number:
LP42551
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
gauge
70 mm
Duration(in mins):
130 or 132
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Italy, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

During the Spanish Inquisition, Miguel Cervantes, a poet, playwright and actor, is arrested, along with his manservant and taken down a great iron stairway into a prison dungeon. Once they are inside, a mechanical device raises the stairs, thus leaving them no way out and vulnerable to the dungeon’s inhabitants, who are mostly hardened criminals. The prisoner’s leader, called “the governor,” announces that Cervantes and his manservant must undergo a ritual mock trial. “The duke,” an inmate imprisoned for treason, asks to prosecute the case, because he resents poets for the unrealistic visions they portray. Cervantes enthusiastically approves of the duke's assessment, saying that reality is a stone prison crushing the spirit, but that imagination and poetry offer the chance to dream. The duke charges Cervantes with being “an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man,” to which Cervantes pleads guilty. Meanwhile, the contents of Cervantes’ trunk, which is filled mostly with props and costumes, is distributed among the inmates. However, when the governor prepares to set fire to his manuscript, Cervantes begs him to wait until after hearing his defense, which he proposes to present as a “charade” he has written. After convincing the others to portray various roles, Cervantes assigns his manservant the part of Sancho Panza, a poor but loyal, proverb-spouting farmer. As for himself, Cervantes quickly dons makeup and a costume, and announces that he will play Alonso Quijana, a wealthy, studious older man who has read about the evils of the world and, through brooding about it, lost his sanity. Cervantes explains: Wanting the world to be a better place, Quijana imagines that ... +


During the Spanish Inquisition, Miguel Cervantes, a poet, playwright and actor, is arrested, along with his manservant and taken down a great iron stairway into a prison dungeon. Once they are inside, a mechanical device raises the stairs, thus leaving them no way out and vulnerable to the dungeon’s inhabitants, who are mostly hardened criminals. The prisoner’s leader, called “the governor,” announces that Cervantes and his manservant must undergo a ritual mock trial. “The duke,” an inmate imprisoned for treason, asks to prosecute the case, because he resents poets for the unrealistic visions they portray. Cervantes enthusiastically approves of the duke's assessment, saying that reality is a stone prison crushing the spirit, but that imagination and poetry offer the chance to dream. The duke charges Cervantes with being “an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man,” to which Cervantes pleads guilty. Meanwhile, the contents of Cervantes’ trunk, which is filled mostly with props and costumes, is distributed among the inmates. However, when the governor prepares to set fire to his manuscript, Cervantes begs him to wait until after hearing his defense, which he proposes to present as a “charade” he has written. After convincing the others to portray various roles, Cervantes assigns his manservant the part of Sancho Panza, a poor but loyal, proverb-spouting farmer. As for himself, Cervantes quickly dons makeup and a costume, and announces that he will play Alonso Quijana, a wealthy, studious older man who has read about the evils of the world and, through brooding about it, lost his sanity. Cervantes explains: Wanting the world to be a better place, Quijana imagines that he is Don Quixote De La Mancha, a knight-errant on a mission to right wrongs and aid the oppressed. Accompanied by his neighbor Sancho who serves as his squire, Quixote mounts his old cart horse, calling it a fine thoroughbred and, carrying a crooked lance, sets off. Two minutes into their journey, Quixote spots a windmill and believes it to be his nemesis, the Great Enchanter. Despite Sancho’s protests, Quixote fights the evil giant valiantly, if not victoriously. Later on their journey, Quixote hears a cow horn, which he assumes is a trumpet heralding his approach. Following the sound, they discover a remote inn, which Quixote calls a castle. When they arrive at the gate, Quixote asks the innkeeper, whom he refers to as Castellaño, or Lord of the Castle, to grant him the boon of hospitality. Judging Quixote insane, but wealthy enough to pay, the innkeeper invites him in, playing along with the illusion. To the other inn patrons, a group of rough muleteers led by Pedro, a whip-wielding man with a hook for an arm, Quixote offers his assistance in any noble undertaking. He then notices an embittered serving wench, Aldonza, who has previously told the randy muleteers that they must pay for her sexual favors. However, in Aldonza, Quixote sees a fair virginal noblewoman and, confusing her by his gentle reverence, calls her Dulcinea. In the prison, the duke protests, saying Cervantes’ story is mere diversion, but the governor overrules him. Cervantes then tells the inmates: When Quixote’s niece and heir, Antonia, hears of her uncle’s deeds, she fears that her fiancé, Doctor Sanson Carrasco, a well-bred university graduate, will disapprove. Although Antonia and Quijana’s housekeeper tell their priest they are worried about Quijana, the good-hearted padre knows their concerns are self-serving. Aware of Antonia’s future inheritance, Carrasco remains, but decides he will cure the old man of his madness and demands the padre’s assistance. Meanwhile, Quixote sends Sancho to request on his behalf a token of Aldonza’s affection, such as a silk scarf that he may wear as a standard in battle. Aldonza, presuming Quixote is toying with her, tosses a dirty rag at Sancho and asks why he follows the madman. Sancho replies the reason is that he likes him. When Sancho presents Quixote with Aldonza’s rag, the Don sees it as a gossamer scarf and caresses it. After a barber arrives at the inn, wearing his shaving bowl on his head to ward off the sun, Quixote claims that the shaving bowl is the Golden Helmet of Mombrino. Later that night, Quixote confesses to the innkeeper that he has all the qualities of a knight, but has never been dubbed. The innkeeper agrees to knight him at dawn and Quixote pledges to hold vigil until then. While he is praying in the courtyard, a Black Knight and his party enters and a lady in mourning asks Quixote to fight the Great Enchanter, who she says turned her brother to stone. Determined to help, Quixote calls out to his Dulcinea to pray for him and retires to the stable, which he calls a chapel, to prepare for battle. As Aldonza watches from the periphery of the courtyard, Carrasco, Antonia and the padre, who are masquerading as the knight, the lady and her brother, remove their disguises and she accuses them of playing tricks on a madman. Sympathetic toward Quixote, the padre says that Jesus and St. Francis could also be called mad, but Carrasco argues that anyone who can choose to be mad, can also choose to be sane. Aldonza proceeds with her chores, but is hounded by the muleteers and, at Pedro’s insistence, agrees to meet him later. In her room, Aldonza looks into her mirror, trying to fantasize that she is Dulcinea, but failing, confronts Quixote, suspicious of what he expects from her. She warns that he may be killed, but he says it is important only to follow his quest, no matter how impossible it is. Pedro, finding them together, jealously attacks them. Sancho and the muleteers join the fray and a brawl ensues, in which Quixote, Dulcinea and Sancho are the victors. Awakened by the disturbance, the innkeeper respectfully asks Quixote to leave. Quixote agrees, but asks first that the innkeeper keep his promise to knight him, as he has held his vigil and proven himself in battle. After the innkeeper dubs him “Knight of the Woeful Countenance,” Quixote states that nobility demands that he tend to the wounds of his enemy. Aldonza, moved by all that has transpired, offers to take care of them instead, but when she tries to help the muleteers, who are about to leave, they kidnap her. Cervantes’ story is interrupted when the staircase lowers and guards descend. To everyone’s surprise, the guards ignore Cervantes and remove a different prisoner. Afterward, the duke says that there is a difference between reality and illusion, and urges Cervantes to see life as it really is. Cervantes claims that he already has, as a soldier and a slave, and has concluded that it is better to see life as it should be. Continuing his story, he explains that Quixote and Sancho leave the inn: On the road, they find Aldonza cowering on the road where the muleteers left her after having their way with her. Unable to bear Quixote’s tenderness, she accuses him of robbing her of anger and causing her despair. When armored men march up and surround them, Quixote recognizes their leader as the Great Enchanter, who reveals that he is the Knight of the Mirrors. His soldiers, with shields displayed, encircle Quixote and, with a droning voice, the Enchanter insists that Quixote look at the reflected image of the madman dressed for masquerade and acknowledge that his mind is disordered. When Quixote faints from shock, the Knight removes his helmet to reveal that he is really Carrasco. Back in prison, guards alert Cervantes that he will soon be summoned by the Inquisitioners, but the governor says there is still time to finish the story. Cervantes tells how Quijana is taken home: As Quijana lies in a coma, Sancho tells him local gossip and slips in words like dragon and quest, which mysteriously revive the old man. Now awake, he vaguely remembers an unusual dream but does not recognize Aldonza. However, upon recognizing his Dulcinea, Quijana arises, eager to resume his quest, but, just as abruptly, collapses. Although Quijana dies, Aldonza and Sancho agree that Quixote still lives. In the prison, Cervantes and his manservant are taken away, but the prisoners are better off for having met them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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