Man of La Mancha

Man Of La Mancha. United Artists 1972.

Before watching the movie:

I think this is the way most people have experienced Don Quixote.  I’ve read some of the book, but despite the new translation I was using, the stilted nature of it still sometimes overpowered the comedy, which itself sometimes felt a little too much like “mental illness is funny!” It’s at the same time amazing how modern it feels at over 400 years old and yet how basic the storytelling can be at times, because it’s had 400 years to become part of the way we always tell stories.

But the grandeur of the way Man of La Mancha interprets the book is enticing and accessible. Everyone has heard at least a few bars of “The Impossible Dream”. It’s a classic showtune ballad. The romance is probably more feel-good in this take as well.

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1776

1776. Columbia Pictures 1972.
1776. Columbia Pictures 1972.

Before watching the movie:

Grill some hamburgers, butter some corn, …load some muskets? warm up your singing voice? A brief look and page turn at your calendar will point out that next week is Independence Day. And what better movie to mark the event with than 1776? Okay, there are better choices, but I’d seen most of the ones that came to mind and/or couldn’t get them on short notice.

I can see the potential for the War for Independence to be a musical epic, but no individual major events really suggest songs to me. The writing and signing of the Declaration will probably have centerpiece song(s), but beyond that, I have no idea.

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The Godfather

The Godfather. Paramount Pictures 1972.

Before watching the movie:

Everything I know about this movie comes down to atmosphere and a few lines that get parodied frequently. I don’t even remember the plot of The Godson or the tribute episode of Quantum Leap, so I’m not sure if I’ve come across anything more substantial about this movie than Marlon Brando’s mushmouthed Italian and the wedding day favors. It probably concerns a rival family, tensions within the family, or both. I think I can expect Don Corleone to die by the end of this, because he’s clearly not in the sequels.

This movie is probably to organized crime what Wall Street is to disorganized legal crime stock trading, though I think I’ve heard that Italian-American mobsters often don’t like what it’s done to their image.

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