Video Review

El Cid

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genres: Historical, War; With: Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren

If you've seen the 1959 Ben-Hur, you've seen this equally self-important epic: same star (Heston, absurdly jut-jawed in a drooping- forelock wig); same composer (Miklos Rozsa, reworking Hur's romantic theme); same sort of Christ-like protagonist who assesses two warring cultures — in this case, Christians and Moors in 11th-century Spain — and says, can we all get along? The stunning scenery would still carry it if only El Cid hadn't been shot in an ultra-wide-screen format; this restored but severely cropped, fill-the-frame video version leaves Heston talking to an offscreen Loren and hacking at foes you can't see. You can bet this is one tape that obsessed video collector Martin Scorsese, who got this movie reissued in theaters briefly last year, won't be adding to his collection. C+

Originally posted Nov 25, 1994 Published in issue #250 Nov 25, 1994 Order article reprints

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