Monday, February 04, 2008

More is Moor

Oops, forgot to mention another piece in the current issue of Time Out New York: a review of the new DVD of Anthony Mann's El Cid. in which Charlton Heston battles Moors in 11th-century Spain.

While Mann is one of my favorite film directors, this particular movie is a snooze. Lack of space prevented me from going at length about the lack of chemistry between Heston and Sophia Loren, and from pointing out that the screenplay largely borrows from Corneille's classic 17th-century play Le Cid, though it's not credited anywhere. The play is still a must in French schools and it's packed with lines that have burrowed deep in the national consciousness, like "Ô rage ! Ô désespoir ! Ô vieillesse ennemie !" ("O rage! O despair! O inimical old age!" in the translation offered by Project Gutenberg) or "À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire" ("In conquering without danger we triumph without glory").

And let's not forget "Je suis jeune, il est vrai, mais aux âmes bien nées,/La valeur n'attend point le nombre des années," which translates as "I am young, it is true, but in souls nobly born valor does not depend upon age" and might as well be Obama's self-assigned motto. Speaking of which, I'm going to be in town tomorrow after all so I'll cast my very first vote in an American election. Terribly, terribly exciting!

No comments: