El Cid (film)
El Cid (1961) is an historical epic film, a highly romanticized story of the life of the Castilian knight El Cid.
Made by Samuel Bronston Productions in association with The Rank Organisation and released by Allied Artists, the film was directed by Anthony Mann and produced by Samuel Bronston with Jaime Prades and Michal Waszynski as associate producers. The screenplay was by Philip Yordan, Ben Barzman and Fredric M. Frank from a story by Frank. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert Krasker and the editing by Robert Lawrence.
En route to his future bride Doña Jimena (Sophia Loren), Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (Charlton Heston) becomes involved in a battle against an invading Moorish army. Two of the Emirs are captured, but Rodrigo releases them on condition that they never again attack King Ferdinand (Ralph Truman). The Emirs proclaim him ‘The Cid’ and swear allegiance to him. For this act he is accused of treason against the King by Jimena's father, Count Gormaz (Andrew Cruickshank). Rodrigo’s proud father, Don Diego (Michael Hordern) challenges Gormaz, and when Gormaz refuses to take back the challenge or the accusation of treason, Rodrigo kills him in a duel. Jimena swears revenge upon her father’s murderer. Rodrigo then takes up the mantle of the King’s champion in single combat for control of the city of Calahorra, which he wins. Rodrigo is then sent upon a mission to collect tribute from Moorish vassals in Spain, but Jimena, in league with Count Ordóñez (Raf Vallone), has plotted to have Rodrigo killed. Rodrigo and his men are ambushed and are only saved by one of the Emirs to whom he had previously showed clemency. Returning home, his reward is the hand of Jimena in marriage. But the marriage is not consummated and she removes herself to a convent.
King Ferdinand dies, and his eldest son, Prince Sancho (Gary Raymond), becomes king. The younger son, Prince Alfonso (John Fraser) desires the throne. With his sister, Princess Uracca (Genevieve Page), Alfonso has Sancho assassinated. Rodrigo has Sancho swear upon holy relics that he had no part in the death of his brother. He swears so, but has Rodrigo banished for his impudence. Jimena’s love for Rodrigo is rekindled and is banished with him.
Rodrigo is later called into service of the king once again, to protect Spain from invading Moors. At Valencia, Rodrigo relieves the city of the evil ruler El Kadir (Frank Thring). The Valencians offer the crown to the ‘The Cid’, but he refuses it and sends the crown to King Alfonso. Rodrigo then defeats an invading army of the warlord Ben Yussef (Herbert Lom), but is killed in battle before the final victory. His body is secured upon his horse and sent out at the head of his army to lead them to victory and finally drive the Moors from Spain.
(c) 2010 Maya Chilam Foundation