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Cid [DVD] [1961] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.3 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

Price: £160.85
Only 1 left in stock.
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£160.85 Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by M and N Media US.

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Product details

  • Language: English, Latin
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,947 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

From Amazon.co.uk

Sumptuous in every way, visually magnificent, with grandiose sets, panoramic Spanish vistas and intricately detailed costumes, possessor of one of cinema's greatest music scores, boasting vast and astonishingly kinetic battles, and breathing heroic virtue in every scene, El Cid is the very epitome of epic. For this reworking of the medieval legend of the Cid (Arabic for "Lord") who united warring factions and saved 11th-century Spain from invasion, producer Samuel Bronston and director Anthony Mann insisted every set had to be created from scratch, every costume specially made for this movie alone; they also shot entirely on location in La Mancha and along the Mediterranean coast of Spain to enhance the film's authenticity. The cinematography is saturated with the burnished hues of the Spanish landscape, as are the palatial sets and rich costumes; Miklos Rozsa's resplendent score is also the result of painstaking research into medieval Spanish sources. The screenplay is imbued with knightly gravitas and more than a little salvation imagery, from the opening scene of the young Rodrigo rescuing a cross from a burning church, to the movie's indelible finale as The Cid rides "out of the gates of history into legend".

Charlton Heston is at his most indomitable as Rodrigo, "The Cid", a natural leader of men and the embodiment of every manly virtue (note that he fathers twins--a sure token of his virility); Sophie Loren is ravishing as Chimene, the woman whose love for Rodrigo conflicts with her filial instincts after he kills her father, the king's champion, over a point of honour. Their scenes together create a humane warmth at the heart of this vast movie: the moment when Chimene finally declares her love (beneath a shrine of three crosses--more symbolism) to the exiled Rodrigo forms a pivotal and very intimate centrepiece. Shortly thereafter he must rise from their rural marriage bed to lead his followers into battle, and the tension between his public and private lives adds a piquancy to the film's stunning battle sequences. The international supporting cast sometimes look like makeweights, especially when chewing on the occasionally stilted dialogue, but any such faults are easily forgiven as the scale and spectacle of El Cid carries the viewer away on a tide of chivalry.

On the DVD: This disc is a sadly missed opportunity to present a classic epic in its original form. Although formatted for 16:9 widescreen TVs, which initially gives hope that this might be an anamorphic widescreen presentation, only the opening and closing titles appear in the correct cinematic ratio. Otherwise this is essentially the same picture as the pan & scan VHS version with the same poor print quality. Since a restored 35mm print of El Cid has been shown at cinemas and on TV in recent years there seems to be no excuse for this cut-down presentation. Add some decidedly minimal extras and the result is a disappointing disc. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stupidly, Amazon have linked reviews from the older and rubbish pan & scan DVD releases to this new edition -- thus misleading customers into thinking that this MIRIAM TWO-DISC DELUXE EDITION is in some way as shoddy as earlier releases. It is not.

Here are the tech specs for this release:

Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Commentary with William Bronston (Samuel's Son) and biographer Neal Rosendorf
Vintage Radio promo interviews
Text Filmographies and Still Galleries
Disc 2 Featurettes:
Hollywood Conquers Spain: The Making of An Epic (23:56)
Samuel Bronston: The Epic Journey of a Dreamer (52:20)
Behind The Camera: Anthony Mann and El Cid (17:22)
Miklos Rozsa: Maestro of the Movies (30:11)
Preserving Our Legacy: Gerry Byrne on Film Preservation and Restoration (7:38)
Trailer Gallery
4 Comments 112 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
El Cid is one of my favourites from that epic period of American cinema, the 1960s, where every film made seemed to be over three hours long and featured all the stars you could possibly want to see that weren't in the sky. This one also has the distinction of being helmed by one of the great unsung directors, Anthony Mann, whose work with James Stewart in a remarkable and memorable series of westerns in the 1950s deserves to be reappraised. Mann seemed to specialise in films where the hero's mental and phsyical state was always in question (and usually brought to the fore). In El Cid, that inner conflict is dwarfed by the historical conflict, although he later went on to explore the male psyche more dramatically in his last truly great masterpiece, the equally spectacular The Fall of the Roman Empire a few years later.

For those not in the know, El Cid is the legendary Spanish hero who succeeds in driving the Moors from Spain. Charlton Heston (who else?) is the eponymous hero, portraying Cid as a man with a strict sense of honour even when everything and everyone is against him, and the lovely Sophia Loren plays Chimene, his on-off lover. A masked Herbert Lom, however, steals the show in a raving, shouting, wild-eyed performance as the leader of the Moors (he has one of the best and unintentionally funniest deaths in screen history, to boot). Aside from the gigantic battle set-pieces near the end of the film, which are exciting and powerfully shot by the great cinematographer Robert Krasker, the highlights of the film are two ferocious one-on-one fights, the first one a vicious swordfight between El Cid and Chimene's father over their relationship, and the other a trial by combat between El Cid and Don Martin over the the ownership of the city of Calahorra.
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Format: Blu-ray
Amazon do a bad job on reviews with mulitple versions and do not always get the right review with the right disk, so I have made it clear in the title. Amazon have also got confused on some aspect ratios as there is much confusion amongst the public in what they mean. This Blu Ray disk is great. I bought it from Amazon.de but now the UK price is very competitive. The picture quality is fantastic (you can really spot the jet trails and the retakes in the sand), the aspect ratio is 2.35, the sound is good and it appears to be the full movie. I also have the US R1 3 disk DVD and a Japanese DVD. The color is far superior here and for a film from the 1960's it gives a very good result. I love this movie, I do not care what they say about Sophia Loren's relationship with Heston it is great. Only drawback for me is Region B and although I have a Region B player, most of my kit (portable and laptops) are locked into Region A. Never mind may be Weinstein will release this some time in Region A.
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Format: DVD
El Cid is the story of legendary Rodrigo Diaz who lifted his country with valour and integrity to drive the Moorish invaders from Spain.

I think the best thing I can say about this film is that even though it's nearly three hours long, I never once look at the clock. It's a thoroughly engaging picture that boasts all the great hallmarks of a sweeping historical epic. The colour, the costumes, the scope, and the attention to detail from director Anthony Mann are first rate, and par for the course is the suitably rousing score from Miklos Rozsa. Big square jawed bronzed beefcake Charlton Heston takes the lead role as Diaz, and firmly cements himself as the go to guy for gargantuan epics. Support comes in the form of Sophia Loren, Genevieve Page, Raf Vallone, John Fraser (excellent), and Gary Raymond (also excellent).

The story is an excellent one because Diaz was such a fine character from the annals of Spanish history, uniting the sulking Christian kings of Spain whilst simultaneously lifting the people of the streets off their knees and getting them to believe in the cause. Yet it has to be said that El Cid is far from the perfect historical epic movie, even allowing for the usual Hhollywoodisation of facts, one can't quite get past the fact that El Cid comes across as a glamorised glory tale without any hindrances. Surely here in the 11th century, El Cid's path would have been fraught and sodden with a great deal more death and destruction? It takes away greatly from the film's end because the build up of Cid's heroism actually didn't contain a great deal of hard work. It was a stroll in the park so to speak.
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