The translation from theatrical musical to movie musical doesn't get much more disastrous than in Man of La Mancha, a cheap, muddled, and badly put-together debacle that resoundingly establishes Arthur Hiller (who directed Love Story and Silver Streak) as one of cinema's most hit-and-miss directors.
La Mancha adapts the stage play with Peter O'Toole in the lead as both Don Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes: Cervantes is imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition, finds his papers held ransom by his fellow inmates, and given a mock trial by them in order to determine whether they shall be returned. The trial takes the form of a reenactment of Don Quixote, Cervantes' adventurous tales of his alter ego. As the delusional Quixote, O'Toole jousts with a windmill and promptly rides to a nearby village, which he believes to be a castle holding his beloved Dulcinea (Sophia Loren). By his side is the lovable chubster Sancho Panza (James Coco), who sees the reality behind Quixote's grandiose delusions but finds himself taken in by them as well.
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