Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Pride and the Passion|
Actors: Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Theodore Bikel, John Wengraf
Director: Stanley Kramer
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Napoleon's forces are sweeping across Europe, and Spain is on the brink of falling to the mighty invasion. Standing alone against the onslaught is one brave fighter and his ragtag band of guerillas. Cary Grant, Frank Sinat... more »
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A True Spectacle - and how about the music?!
Lawrence Rapchak | Whiting, IN United States | 07/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A much maligned film that still manages to really impress for one major reason -- it is a true SPECTACLE, with that monstrous CANNON dominating every scene, whether it is actually onscreen or not!Made during the decade of good old-fashioned, honest film epics, The Pride and the Passion manages to transcend its obvious flaws. It's amazing to watch this immense gun pushed and pulled by hundreds of Spanish freedom fighters across the actual terrain where the story takes place. The film is structured around several very impressive action sequences: 1.) the initial destruction and the raising of the gun 2.) the near-disaster of floating the gun on the river 3.) the attack on the French camp, complete with roaring fire-balls rolling down the hills 4.) the destruction of the French pontoon bridge 5.) the treacherous mountain pass 6.) the grueling ascent/descent over the mountain, with those incredible shots of the cannon "on-the-loose", shearing off trees as it zooms downhill (!) 7.) the Holy week procession (with the cannon disguised as a gigantic religious float, 8.) the final battle at Avila, as the gun is used to blow apart the city's walls.In between, we are treated to the Frank's big impassioned speech in the bullring, the knife fight where the bullying Jose Nieto and Cary Grant mix it up under the windmills, and lots of heated verbal exchanges between Frank and Cary (fueled, of course by their mutual "hots" for Sophia Loren, who always manages to smooth things over).The script has its problems, but it still manages to convey the nearly fanatical dedication of the Spanish fighters, keenly contrasted with the technical, objective expertise of the British military officer (Grant). When Cary finally steps forward to admonish the Bishop for his refusal to allow the desperate Spaniards to repair the cannon inside of the cathedral, we see that "cold" Cary actually has been swept up by the emotions of the Spaniard's cause, as he so eloquently pleads on their behalf.And the script does contain one REALLY COOL line, as the cruel, jaded French General (Theodore Bikel), just before the big final battle, asks his aide why the Spaniards seem so INTENT on dying, on "soaking the land with their blood".....and the aide calmly replies: "perhaps because it is THEIR land......."And the MUSIC by the unique, eccentric George Antheil, the "Bad Boy of Music" as he was called (try to locate a copy of his 1945 autobiography of the same name...what a nut!). Antheil seemed indeed to have found his true calling writing in a flashy, grandly-romantic, visceral Spanish idiom. The hauntingly beautiful "Juana's Prayer" as she prays in the cathedral and lights candles, and the following Holy week Processional, one of the true glories of all film music (which owes more than a little to the "bell-tolling" music of Mussorgsky's "Boris Goudonov") are but two of the highlights.Yeah, Frank seems hopelessly miscast, even though he does a very convincing job of underplaying his role (he HATED making the film, as he was desperate to get back to Hollywood and wallow in misery over Ava Gardner). Question: if we DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FRANK SINATRA outside of this film, what would we think of his performance? The problem is that we DO know everything about Frank's life and career, and it was a mistake for Kramer to cast him for that very reason. I've never understood why many people don't like Cary Grant in the film; he seems to be exactly what's needed in the role. And Sophia Loren does her best with a very predictable role.But it's the sense of overhwelming grandeur -- the instinctive need of the human spirit to defy tyranny and fight to the bitter end---symbolized by the film's EPIC SCALE -- the masses of humanity, travelling across the magnificent, foreboding terrain...and that massive, monolithic CANNON, representing the last hope of the Spanish people in their heroic struggle against Napoleon---all carried along by the blazing music of Mr Antheil....that makes this film, despite all of its flaws, a truly memorable cinematic experience.PS. In contrast to one of the other reviewers, I find the visual and audio quality of the DVD release very fine, with the exception of a little speck that shows up occasionally on the right side of the screen. Overall volume could have been boosted a bit; otherwise- excellent."
I'll have the passion, please...
Cowboy Buddha | Essex UK | 09/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Pride And The Passion is one of those good old-fashioned 1950's Hollywood movies that had everything - a starry cast, a colorful location, a heroic story with generous helpings of romance, rousing music, widescreen spectacle, and a cast of thousands (well, hundreds anyway). This was made when movies were fighting to steal back their audiences from the novelty of television. And their plan was to provide what television could not - big stars on big screens in glorious color. It almost worked. But that era of bigger is best has left us with some remarkable films that, despite other faults, always succeeded in their primary objective of being entertaining. (Note to previous reviewer - If you want historical accuracy, read a book.)
The Pride And The Passion takes a simple storyline - Spanish peasants capture and move a huge cannon across half the country to use against Napoleonic invaders - and elevates it to epic proportions. One of the first Hollywood movies to take full advantage of location shooting - on the ancient earth of pre-tourist Spain - the film is always visually striking. The huge gun itself becomes both symbol and star - but the human stars never quite let it upstage them.
Cary Grant at first seems a laughable choice to play the stiff British naval officer with the critical knowledge of artillery. But he quickly becomes almost convincing in this non-typecast part. The same is not so true of Frank Sinatra as the illiterate peasant who is a natural leader of men with an unshakeable belief in his cause and the mission at hand. A better wig might have helped the illusion but at least in those days Sinatra was trying to be a character instead of simply playing himself. Sophia Loren, on the other hand, is perfect casting as Sinatra's fiery and passionate lover who, not surprisingly, sparks more than a little bit with Grant. These three stars together in one movie must have been a press agent's dream. And with such a volatile eternal triangle, the villain has to settle for little more than a bit part. He's played to the hilt by Theodore Bikel, a folk singer who also had a nice career as a character actor playing roles for which an accent was required.
Actually, it's surprising this film isn't better known. Maybe it got lost among the competition. But it's good Saturday afternoon stuff with something to appeal to just about everybody, complete with schmaltzy ending. I suppose it looks a bit tame compared to today's effects-laden blockbusters. But there is a naive charm about these old Hollywood epics that is frequently irresistible."
A True Epic
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 07/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Pride and the Passion is the way movie epics used to be made: on location with thousands of extras. Director Stanley Kramer spent two years in Spain and used 9,400 extras to put his story of Spanish resistance to Napoleon on the screen. The story and setting is unlikely. Waterloo and Russia come to mind but the English campaign against the French is rarely portrayed. Probably to best is the television series on Richard Sharpe, the Sergeant promoted to Lieutenant by Wellington that starred Sean Bean.
The Pride and Passion was based on a story by C. S. Forster and has the kind of action that makes a good epic, centering on an enormous cannon, abandoned by Spanish troops, that both the French and English want. As other reviewers have pointed out the cannon assumed a major role in the film and perhaps the most exciting scene is when it is fired toward the end. I though that Cary Grant was well cast in the role of Captain Anthony Trumbrull. The part needed someone dashing and handsome. Cary Grant may have been a little old for the role but he gave a good performance. Another good choice for the part would have been Stewart Grainger. Sophia Loren was an excellent choice for Juana and she does quite well with the role. However, as has often been said about her performances in English, she does not completely connect with her character as much as her Italian films. Loren and Grant were romantically involved during the production but their love scenes don't quite have the spark of say, Burton and Taylor a few years later. Frank Sinatra was a good choice for Miguel based on his looks alone but he gives a very wooden performance. It is almost that he feels a bit miffed because he is not going to get the girl. The movie has its share of bad lines, like "Your face is dirty" that Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra exchange.
I first saw this film on television and it was a movie that I remembered. The real reason for seeing The Pride and the Passion is the spectacle of moving the large cannon to be used to take the city of Avila from the French. The trials that have to be met hold your interest. The score by George Antheil is superb. Mr. Antheil has an affinity for Spanish music (as his ballet Capitol of the World proves) and the music for The Pride and the Passion helps make the film. In the end, I liked this movie for the story and less for the performances. So I am recommending this movie as an old Hollywood epic that is stunning to see and with a story entertaining if a times the actors do not fill your complete expectations.
An adventure spectacle in praise of will over all obstacles!
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 01/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is 1810... The French legions of Napoleon smash across Spain...
Captain Anthony Trumbull (Cary Grant) is ordered to retrieve a giant seven tons cannon, abandoned by the crushed and bleeding Spanish army in their retreat in one of the darkest page of nation's history...
The handsome officer wants to transport it to the British lines, but when he meets Miguel (Frank Sinatra), the Spanish peasant leader of the Guerilla forces, Trumbull is forced to amend his ideas...
Miguel has more direct plans... He sees in the huge gun a chance for victory... He enlists the aid of the Spanish people in raising the tremendous cannon from a deep ravine, and moves it over hill, dale, river, and mud to the walled city of Avila...
During the arduous odyssey, Stolid Trumbull falls in love with Miguel's fiery mistress Juana (Sophia Loren). The desperate men were sacrificing everything for their love of country... Blood, sweat, tears and toil as they pushed, pulled, dragged, and strained the big gun halfway across Spain... But with the remarkable gun, the only symbol of resistance left in Spain, going on before them, made them feel no longer a mere band of Spanish irregulars, but a besieging army... They can fight now for what they believe, and break the French in the field...
With a certain dislike to the Englishman's guts, Miguel sees himself forced to accept Trumbull's instructions, being the only man around who knows how to fire the cannon... Trumbull makes all the necessary repairs to the awesome weapon, and blows up the walls of the fortress city...
Kramer's movie echoes Sam Wood's 'For Whom the Bells Tolls.' Although the characters in the film, made from Ernest Hemingway modern classic, were better drawn and motivated... 'The Pride and the Passion' is far superior visually...
Blended to the passionate sound of the guitars, the voice of a singer, and the rhythmic hand claps of the patriots, Sophia provides with grace and posture a spontaneous flamenco dance...
Epic in scope, with a cast of thousands, and with ocean of tents, stacked rifles, regimental banners, batteries of cannon, rows of cavalry horses and artillery mules, massed troops, "The Pride and the Passion," is an adventure spectacle in praise of will over all obstacles...
The film opens with a spectacular sequence of the Spanish army retreating in defeat, battle torn and dissolute...