From Variety, 12/18/2000:
ORSON WELLES IN THE LAND OF DON QUIX0TE. (Review)_(movie review) JONATHAN HOLLAND.
A Canal Plus (Spain) production. (International sales: Canal Plus, Madrid.) Produced by Beatriz Gomez Medina. Executive producers, Julia Guasch, Isabel Lapuerta.
Directed, written by Carlos F. Heredero, Esteve Riambau. Camera (color, video), Antonio Gonzalez; editor, Miguel Alba. Reviewed on videocassette, Madrid, Nov. 5, 2000. (In Valladolid Film Festival.) Running time: 89 MIN.
Two Spanish journos combine investigative skill with a light much in their docu "Orson Welles in the Land of Don Quixote," a generally respectful and thorough analysis of the moments at which Welles' career collided with Spain. The compound picture of him that emerges is the familiar one of a big-hearted, sensitive, visionary master technician who was also cunning, volatile and stubborn, but the Spanish perspective adds new anecdotes to the already bountiful store. TV slots in Spanish territories, with festival exposure elsewhere, are likely for this video item.
It is surprising how much Spain there is in Welles, and vice versa. Early scenes chart his pro-Republican documentary work during the Civil War and his developing love of bullfighting a la Hemingway, suggesting they belong to the same school of sensitive he-man artists. One neat split-screen section shows how Franco's censors altered his references to the war in "The Lady From Shanghai."
Welles' relationship with Spain deepened after 1954, with filming of the U.S.-Spain co-production "Mr. Arkadin." The experience provokes veteran Spanish art director Gil Parrondo, still going strong, to the reflection that working with the changeable Welles "was not a pleasure." The mess made of the movie during the editing is described by Welles as "the great disaster of my life."
After "Arkadin," and the obligatory anti-Hollywood refs without which any film on Welles would not be complete, comes "Don Quixote." Docu's title is a reference to a 1961 series shot for Italian TV, "In the Land of Don Quixote," and Welles' legendary and finally unfulfilled desire to film Cervantes' classic is given ample space here, with several clips taken from footage found in his Madrid basement after his death.
Likewise, there are clips of "Treasure Island," also shot in Spain, with Welles as Long John Silver. Commentators testify to Welles' ability on "Chimes at Midnight," his personal favorite, to make the most dramatically of minimum resources.
The 15 or so interviewees include Franco, Spanish producer Andres Vicente Gomez -- who worked briefly with Welles in the '60s -- and bullfighter Andres Vazquez. Sources, however, are not cited on screen, and so the potentially revealing context of the comments is lost. Much footage dates from Welles' later years as a big-bellied, big-bearded TV raconteur, and much of this is familiar, as when he lovingly makes up as Falstaff for the TV cameras.
The filmmakers are occasionally skeptical about how well Welles really knew Spain: His romantic vision of the country sometimes concealed an unfamiliarity with its complex, unromantic politics. Pic sells Welles' fondness for all things Iberian (including the food) as the reason he kept coming back -- and, indeed, his ashes are at Ronda, in Andalucia. Only once, however, does it mention another reason: shooting in Spain during the '50s and '60s cost relative peanuts.