great people are usually only great to those outside of their immediate family. a man like el cid may change his country, but it seems, to me at least, that it would suck to be his wife or one of his daughters. i think a lot of great people follow in this way. their genius or dedication come at a great personal cost. granted it means movies might one day be made about you, and you may be a martyr for all time, but it stinks for those you who should care about the most. this is one reason why the stories of great people are often off-putting for me – i generally empathize more with their family than with their followers. a film like malcolm x is the first that i can think of that bucks this trend, but it’s the exception.
michael mann is a great director, but i think he’s out of his element here. he’s still making a picture about a capable man on the outskirts of society, but here he’s dealing with a man who is not a jimmy stewart – not an everyman. i don’t know why heston got all these roles (ben-hur, el cid, the ten commandments). he does fairly well with all of them because they require a certain degree of pompous overacting, but what makes him so suitable? he doesn’t look like a Spaniard or an egyptian. give me kirk douglas in spartacus any day. rozsa’s score loses some of its power as the film wears on towards three hours, but it starts strong. if mann made winchester ’73 and far country 20 times i would have been happy. i don’t need a director to stretch his wings or try different things. oh well.
sophia loren is hot and is the best actor in the film. not a film i’m likely to watch again.