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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Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia. Horizon Pictures 1962.

Before watching the movie:

Well, I’ve spent plenty of time getting to know how magnetic Peter O’Toole is on screen, it’s high time I got to his most legendary role.

It occurs to me that everything I’ve seen him in has cast him as a sort of amiable streetwise rogue and/or tortured sage, while I have the impression of Lawrence as more of a stoic military figure, probably with an inner struggle he doesn’t let his men see, which is one thing O’Toole does well. Then again, what do I really know of the story? I recall it may concern training native soldiers, and there’s a famous desert-crossing montage. Yet another film that’s known more by its reputation than its actions.

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How to Steal a Million

How to Steal a Million. 20th Century Fox 1966.
How to Steal a Million. 20th Century Fox 1966.

Before watching the movie:

The stars are the headline for this movie. Peter O’Toole is no doubt a scoundrel with class and Audrey Hepburn brings glamour with… playfulness? I’m not as familiar with her type as I should be.

This appears to be a story of an unlikely pairing of people who never expected to be art thieves. Something to do with an art forger who gives his master forgery to an art museum, presumably meaning these two decide to steal it back. I’m predicting a clumsy, snarky heist, but I recognize I’ve built a lot of preconceptions on top of what little I actually know.

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High Spirits

High Spirits. Something 1988.
High Spirits. Palace Pictures 1988.

Before watching the movie:

I’d never heard of this movie when I came across it, and to be honest, I didn’t put a lot of thought into enqueuing it. I searched for a few widely known Peter O’Toole movies and this came up as a similar title. Comedy, ghosts, Irish castle, I’ll take it. He seems to have been in a lot of odd movies later in his career, which are coming to the surface first.

I’ve only recently begun to notice the… charisma(?) of Steve Guttenberg, and I’m reluctant to classify the strengths of Daryl Hannah just yet for fear of putting her in a box.

The flying bed in the poster reminds me far too much of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

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Creator

Creator. Kings Road Entertainment 1985.
Creator. Kings Road Entertainment 1985.

Before watching the movie:

I think I remember seeing this in a collection of tapes held at a sports memorabilia store. I don’t remember why they were there, but since they were in the open, they were probably for sale or rent rather than for the workers’ entertainment during slow hours. I think it was right next to (or very near to) a Bride of Frankenstein remake, so that influenced my understanding of the plot. Anyway, it looked like an interesting movie I was too young for at the time, and that and other reasons meant that I left it.

I feel I really ought to have seen Peter O’Toole before, but I can’t recall anything, so I don’t really have a feel for him besides his reputation as a Great, which doesn’t tell me much specifically.

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