Man of la Mancha is a musical version of Don Quixote. It starts off with an allegedly true story from the life of the author Cervantes. He gets banged away in a prison for being a poet (fair enough) with the heavy threat of the Spanish Inquisition looming over him. The other prisoners can't stand his poetic ways either so they put him on trial. He tries to convince them of his worth by getting them to act out the story of Don Quixote with him. And have a bit of a sing too. Great defense. If I'm ever up in court, I'm going to have a go at that. I'll get the judge to pretend to be Scar and sing along to songs from The Lion King. The lawyers can dance and pretend to be giraffes or something. Guaranteed acquittal.
At this point I was deciding between a rating of 1 or 0. But it managed to turn it around. The ending is actually pretty engaging and dare I say touching at points. The aforementioned couple of memorable songs are repeated towards the end and I forgot the turgid hell-hole of the middle section. Almost.
Man of la Mancha is a huge test of endurance but there is some entertainment value, especially for hardcore musical fans. To sum up, it's obscure. Well, I hadn't heard of it before. It makes its 132 mins running time feel like 132 years, but it has got some filmic worth. For only the second time in history a film gains the coveted Werner Herzog obscurendure award.
(Amazingly enough this award is in no way endorsed by the genius Werner Herzog.)
If you like this you could also try:
Lost in La Mancha, Don Quixote (1957).