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Anthony Mann masterfully directs this classic tale of the 11th-century hero (Heston) who fought to unite Spain. Known as historys "compassionate warrior," the film follows El Cids remarkable journey from peace-broker accused of treason to the Kings fighting champion, and later from exiled hero to legendary martyr.
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The special features are nothing short of splendid. My only gripe with the feature-length commentary (spread across Disc I and Disc II) is that the social and political comments would have been better put into a separate featurette, since (in my opinion) they were irrelevant to the picture itself; other than that, it was very insightful. The first feature is a five-and-twenty minute making of look at the film, which is comprised of interviews with Charlton Heston, screenwriter Phillip Yordan, Samuel Bronston's children, and others. The second and longest feature, aside from the commentary, is an informative look at Samuel Bronston, producer of this epic. There are also substantial looks at Anthony Mann, the director of the film, and Miklos Rozsa, the composer (who I felt was almost completely overlooked in the feature-length commentary). Rounding things out on Disc II are a seven minute look at the art of film preservation, and a Trailer Gallery which includes two trailers for El Cid and one trailer each for The Fall Of The Roman Empire and two other pictures. Disc III only consists of a conversation with John Bevere that is well worth listening to, and I am surprised that Miramax would put this on the DVD, but I am so glad they did. Trust me, it is well worth listening to and watching. My only gripe with it is that the third disc just goes right to it, with no menu or subtitle options, and it could easily have fit on Disc II. But these are minor cavillations.
El Cid is an epic motion picture for all time that should be re-released in cinemas, and viewed in churches along with The Ten Commandments (1923 & 1956), Cecil B. DeMille's The King Of Kings, and Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ (1925 &1959).
El Cid is Not Rated.