Return of The Cid
Review by Helen San
A three time Oscar winner for Best Music (SPELLBOUND, A DOUBLE LIFE, and BEN-HUR), MIKLOS ROZSA (1907 - 1995) is one of the most renown composers of Hollywood's golden age. Trained at the Leipzig Conservatory, ROZSA started out as a classical composer until he found his calling in film music in 1937. ROZSA brought the best of his classical underpinnings to film and enriched the medium with consummate sophistication. Since then, he has composed over 100 film scores, receiving 16 Oscar nominations, including one for EL CID.
If the timeless classic, BEN-HUR, is famous as ROZSA's piece de resistance, then EL CID can be thought of as BEN-HUR's little brother, bearing the same strikingly handsome features (incidentally starring the same lead, Charlton Heston), but holding his own with a distinctive personality and irresistible charm. Only 2 years younger than BEN-HUR (1959), EL CID (1961) has the same epic panorama, but one embellished with Spanish romanticism. In fact, to prepare for EL CID, ROZSA spent a summer in Spain to research Spanish poetry, medieval music, and folk songs, while composing on location. The Spanish influence is prominent and unmistakable, though not as pervasive as that heard in HORNER's THE MASK OF ZORRO.