@ CJ ROY -
It never got off the ground, but he had always wanted to do it, and discussed it for years. It was his other dream project of adaptation along with Lear.
I have always wondered what it is about that great book that stalls even the best of filmmakers (as listed above). Isn’t it embarrassing that the only real film of it is Man of La Mancha?!?
I’ve heard that Eisenstein’s ¡Qué viva México! is good too. Anyone want to verify that?
There used to be a great website devoted to the film, but sadly it seems like no more. All I get is an empty page , but maybe it is being refreshed. There was a full length version cobbled together after Eisenstein left the project, but he didn’t take credit for it, despite the massive amount of footage he shot while in Mexico. He got his financing from Upton Sinclair and his wife.
That youtube link was actually “cobbled together” by Grigori Aleksandorv, Eisenstein’s long time collaborator, in 1979. Eisenstein wouldn’t have been around to take credit for it. And that restoration is pretty great, by the way, and its probably the best version we’re going to get of Que Viva Mexico, regardless if more footage is around, because there’s no one who worked with Eisenstein around anymore, nor are there any who knew him personally around this period.
It’s a good version, agreed, but it was left unfinished. Too bad the site on the film isn’t up, as it offered the fascinating history behind the film. The Sinclairs ended up with all the footage, since Eisenstein was under contractual agreement with them to complete the film, but had spent too much time abroad for Stalin’s taste. Nevertheless, Eisenstein made time for himself in the US before heading back to Moscow.
Some of the greatest were included in a show/series curated by Thomas Beard at Barbara Gladstone Gallery last summer: