Picks and Pans Review: Don Quixote
Show of the week
Given executive producer Robert Halmi Sr.'s recent run of epics (Merlin, Noah's Ark, The 10th Kingdom), it's not unreasonable to fear that he might turn Don Quixote into a special-effects show. Well, good news: This adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes's 17th-century masterpiece, shot beautifully in Spain and starring John Lithgow as the self-appointed knight-errant, is humorous, touching and largely innocent of excess.
Though a few of Don Quixote's phantasms do come to life onscreen (yes, windmills turn into giants), director Peter Yates and writer John Mortimer keep the focus on the mind and heart of the aging would-be hero. Lithgow brings out the poignancy in his pomposity, the wisdom in his folly. Bob Hoskins is earthy and funny as Don Quixote's squat squire, Sancho Panza, making us like him more every time he cheerfully acknowledges his ignorance. Vanessa L. Williams is radiant as Dulcinea, the fair lady of the don's dreams, and Isabella Rossellini has the right tone as a duchess who mocks him gently but cruelly. You won't miss the Man of La Mancha music.
Bottom Line: Quality quest