El Cid (the 1961 film)


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All right, all right, this is a very romanticised version of events, and, when it comes to El Cid, even non-romanticised versions of events tend to be more myth/legend than fact. The historical details were all over the place, especially regarding his time in Valencia, and he was about 30 years too young when he died! Not to mention the repeated use of “Spain” rather than “Castile”.

Oh well! However, as entertainment, it was really very good. Old-style Hollywood at its best. Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren were both wonderfully glamorous, and the most suggestive it got was a bit of kissing and hand-holding. They don’t make films like that any more! The special effects and props were really pretty good considering that the film’s over half a century old, and I did get really into it. Well worth seeing!

Going back to the real historical facts of the time, there’s a lesson in that El Cid was able to work with and to lead both Christians and Muslims, often together, and to serve both Christian and Islamic rulers. Medieval Iberia can teach a lot of lessons in that regard.

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