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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Vol. 24, No. 5. 1961

Don Quixote (U.S.S.R.)

Don Quixote (U.S.S.R.)

Produced and directed by Grigory Kozintsev in 1957, this version of Cervantes also has Cherkasov in the leading role, with Yuri Tolubeyev as Sancho Panza. Obviously, some selection has to be made in adapting a screenplay from the huge original, but the film does give an agreeably truthful and impressionistic account of some of the adventures of the pair.

I think the opening falters a bit in getting under way, but there is a fine sense of style throughout and an authoritative use of settings and costumes, allied with a beautifully realised reconstruction of the Spanish countryside. Kozintsev has chosen to emphasise the social aspects of the novel, creating a strong illusion of authenticity with his settings of sunbaked earth and stone. The scenes at the Spanish court and in the village stand out, but the famous duel with the windmill and with the Black Knight are quite well handled.

When shown commercially, the film was dubbed—not particularly well either, but we were fortunate in obtaining a subtitled version instead, which thus takes the sting out of the comment made by the reviewer in the Monthly Film Bulletin, when he noted that.

"For Nikolai Cherkasov, the film is a kind of climax to a lifetime's study of the role—it is especially regrettable that the English dubbing has deprived us of an essential part of this richly human characterisation."