Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z - Don Quixote - Man of La Mancha

I'm switching up my P & Q posts today and tomorrow
to accommodate a blog hop for the book Protected by Cindy M. Hogan.

The movie Man of La Mancha starring Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren came out the year I graduated from high school. I LOVED this film. The message of persevering after worthy goals regardless of the odds and of not limiting yourself by "the world as it is" impacted my life. It's full of beautiful, dramatic, and humorous music and lyrics.

Following is the video from the film where the mad Don Quixote (he's really a country squire who thinks he's a knight (and sees windmills as dragons he must defeat). He's stopped at an inn where he's sure the inn's maid (and whore) is a fine, virtuous lady. The maid Aldonza--or Dulcinea as he calls her--has had a terrible, bitter life and can't believe the fine noble things Quixote is telling her.

The clip below shows both versions of the song To Dream the Impossible Dream from the movie. The first is when he sings to her and begins to bring her into his madness. Then, after some horrible things happen to both Aldonza  and Quixote has been brought back from his madness by his family, she comes to his home and reminds him of who he really is. It's a long video, but the basic song only take the first two minutes.

Did I mention that I LOVE this song? I love everything it stands for. And that, I hope, is reflected in my life's actions and the behavior of the characters I write.

The movie is the telling of the author Miguel de Cervantes's wait in prison before he must go before the Spanish Inquisition. The prisoners take his manuscript, and he must convince them they should let him keep it. That story is interwoven through the telling of Quixote's tale. At one point the prisoner, who is acting as the prosecutor, challenges Cervantes about the stupidity of dreaming and failing to see "life as it is".

Here's Cervante's response:

I memorized this soliloquy from the soundtrack when I was in college. It still gives me chills.

What about you? Has there been any book or film that particularly impacted you and continues to influence your view of the world?


  1. I think I know all the words to Dream the Impossible Dream, and I have NO IDEA where I learned them. Weird :)

  2. your post really compelled me to watch the movie.

  3. Great post, I have always loved these songs and it has stirred more memories, Thank you Donna.


  4. The Enchanted Cottage, a 1945 romance, which I fell in love with years ago. I was only thinking about it last week, and I must go and find a copy. It's about a disfigured soldier and a house maid, and how their lives are transformed. It's a feel-good film.

  5. I've never seen the movie! Can you believe that? I'm going to have to watch it now. It really is an incredible story.

    Keep dreaming!

  6. One I have never seen as well. I am more influenced by a little of this and that.

  7. Love the song, Love the show, Love the story!

  8. Ohhhh... I love this song too! It cuts deep to me... inspires and uplifts...

    And I think I told you at dinner the other night that Diana Gabaldon was my favorite author? Her ability to create characters is truly what made me want to write ;)

  9. Got to love Peter O'Toole, but I think I like him in Lawrence of Arabia the best...or maybe Lion in Winter:)

  10. Hello, Donna! I studied Don Quixote in my high school Spanish class. The story is so good! I can't remember which movie we saw, though.

    By the way, I love your blog's super clever title!!

    Have a lovely week and happy A to Z!!

  11. I'm in the "haven't seen this one" club, and will definitely have to add it to my to-see list.

  12. Such a beautiful and inspiring song. I loved what you wrote about how you hope your passion for it is reflected in your actions as well as in your characters.

  13. Few things are cooler than attacking windmills. I suppose you could say that story is the first dress up and role-play story ... that I can think of, anyway. :)

  14. Hmmmm. No, I can't say there has been. Books have impacted me more (no surprise there).

    I haven't read this book or seen the movie. Guess I should one day. I'm sure my younger two kids will since they're in a Spanish bilingual program. My 9 yo had to learn to spell a few of the words for his Spanish test (like Quijote).

  15. A book that has really stuck with me is John Grisham's 'A time to kill' oh gosh, that really struck my heart!

  16. I haven't thought of that in a long time - I read the book and I love the music and I some times feel like I go chasing windmills. LOL sandie

  17. I love that song too. It's one of my favs.

    As for a movie which moves me, Henry V. I love his Crispin's Day soliloquy. You few, you happy few. You band of brothers...
    I love it so much that I wrote most of it on the inside of the shield I go to battle with. It's been a while so the words have since worn off, but the sentiments remain the same. The ending goes:
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.


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