Just seen... Lost in La Mancha

Bert Coules

Prominent Member
Mar 17, 2002
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For those who haven't come across it, Lost in La Mancha is a documentary feature about Terry Gilliam's attempt to film a story based on Cervantes' Don Quixote.

It's rare to see any documentary get a theatrical release, but this is a fascinating film chronicling the climax of Gilliam's ten years of work to get the movie financed, cast and into production. As usual with this director, the vision was bold and huge and expensive, and the budget was small. What's more, the production planning was chaotic, the first days of shooting were wrecked by storm-force winds and floods, the main location turned out to be under a military flight-path and the leading actor was taken ill and left the film after three days.

Jonny Depp was very good though.

After about a week the whole thing collapsed, the insurers seized everything (including the rights to the script) and everyone went home.

Almost as interesting as the film was the quality of the screening, which was atrocious. The UGC Cinema in the Haymarket in London is an old-fashioned partitioned-off multiplex made out of what was once a a vast and cavernous picture-palace - and Screen One downstairs is the right-hand half of the old stalls.

The projection booth is high in the air (far higher than the screen) and way off to one side, so we were treated to massive keystoning, both vertically and horizontally; not only that but the projected image was well inside the screen-masking on two edges, whiile the image spilled over onto the screen border on the other two. Couple that with the fact that the movie was shot on video and blown up onto film and the total result was like amateur night at the village hall.

If the film had been any less interesting I would have marched out and complained on the spot; as it was, I had to rush away immediately afterwards and didn't have time to speak to anyone.

I might write a very stiff letter. Where's that cardboard...?

I have seen posters advertising this on tube stations. I thought it was a bit strange that I had never heard of the film it's self. What’s happened to the production now Bert. I would have loved to have seen Terry Gilliams Take on the Man Of La Mancha.
Kevb - the movie ends with a card saying that Gilliam is attempting to buy back the screenplay from the insurers and get the film underway again.

Mcmullanbrush - do your best not to see the film at the UGC Screen 2 in the Haymarket...

Cheers Bert

Hopefully he will get the film made, then Lost in La Mancha will make an excellent extra on the DVD. Along similar lines to The Battle for Brazil.
Originally posted by Bert Coules

I haven't seen The Battle for Brazil; I must look out for the Brazil DVD. Thanks.



The only DVD version of Brazil that I have seen available is the three disc Criterion edition. I dont know if it is still available but it was a little over priced at 45.00.

It contains the directors cut on one disc, the studio version on another and the Battle for Brazil on the third.

The chaos surrounding Terry Gilliam at work always makes for documentaries that are just as entertaining as the film's they're about. The Hamster Factor on 12 Monkeys was really good too.

I think the guy's a genius. Definitely one of my favourite directors even though his film's aren't always immediately likeable.

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