Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loving The Cid

 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 saintly hero.
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