Column: 2nd Chance Movies

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Welcome, Grab your favorite beverage, some popcorn, favorite candy, or your preferred snack, and take a comfy seat!

2nd Chance Movies is a reoccurring column dedicated to suggesting films you may have missed or overlooked when they originally were released but deserve another consideration.

We all have our reasons why we choose to pass on movies when they first hit the theaters.

  • Perhaps the movie lacked effective promotion and never got on your radar.
  • Maybe you had the film on your list, but buzz initially appeared to fizzle and lacked popularity, so you scratched it off your list.
  • And then there is the rationale that generated the primary reason this writer created the concept of 2nd Chance Movies –You were not even born yet when the movie was released.

Dim the lights, and let’s jump right into our list of movies that you should add to your 2nd Chance Movies list.

As Columbus Day approaches, Monday, October 11th, we offer a selection of highly produced, megastar Hollywood Bonanzas of their day. All essentially tell the story of the historically famed explorer Christopher Columbus who petitions the king and queen of Spain to fund his expedition to find a safer passage to India for trade while avoiding the Moorish Pirates’ constant raids on trading ships traversing around Africa’s coastline. The adventures are filled with new and exotic discoveries although do not come without costs.

Neither of the first two selections did well at the box office and critics’ forums read like a ” woke” college professor on a rant. While it is understood that in today’s culture of ‘wokeness” many conflicting narratives exist around the historical record of Christopher Columbus and his accomplishments. Try to throw out the extremes on both sides of the spectrum of the existing narratives and let the general themes in these selections of film art stand without prejudice built into the scene so to speak. Perhaps cancel culture played too heavily in how the movies were received. The third movie was produced long before “woke” was even a thing, so it is interesting to see the difference.

2nd Chance Movie Selections:

#1: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)

Director: John Glen

Cast: Marlon Brandon, Tom Selleck, Rachel Ward, Catherine Zeta – Jones, Robert Davi, Benicio del Toro.

Plot: The Genoese navigator overcomes intrigue in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and gains financing for his expedition to the West Indies which eventually leads to the European discovery of the Americas. This two-hour run-time featured film focuses on Columbus’ efforts to secure financial backing from royalty, involving an implied need to win the romantic affections of the Queen, and some torturous interactions with the legendary pain manager, Tomas de Torquemada. There is also an emphasis on the voyage at sea hoping to prove the world round, and Columbus’ battles with his sailing crew and life at sea in general. The main character’s moral character becomes a central theme as landfall is made in lush paradise-like frontiers and interactions made with new populations.

 

If you are invested in political correctness over entertainment value this film may not be for you. If you like a swashbuckler adventure, light on historical documentary style, then this movie is energetic and a good ride. If you enjoyed films like; Robinhood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers, or The Man in the Iron Mask, you will likely find this one entertaining.

 

# 2: 1492: Conquest of Paradise ( 1992)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella,

Plot: The Genoese navigator overcomes intrigue in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and gains financing for his expedition to the West Indies which eventually leads to the European discovery of the Americas. This almost three-hour film touches on the Queen and financing but heads out to sea very early on, with the bulk of the story being the voyage and the relationships Columbus has with native people. There is no hiding the conflict for Columbus that while part of his personal mission was to spread Christianity, Europe controlled the funding. Columbus’ moral character gets heavily explored in this adaptation.

 

Ridley Scotts 1492 is breathtakingly beautiful and visually stunning. This epic covers twenty years of Christopher Columbus’ journey based on Columbus’s son Fernando’s biography about his father. The musical score by Vangelis is equally amazing. The acting quality is above par, and the arc of Scott’s vision is to take the audience on a journey of a dreamer who achieved his quest only to become tangled up inside as that dream became a lived reality. The Columbus portrayal is both of a monumental but also flawed figure.

 

# 3: Christopher Columbus (1949)

Director: David MacDonald

Cast: Fredric March, Florence Eldridge

Plot: Christopher Columbus, an explorer from Genoa, Italy, arrives in Spain with his son seeking funds for a trip to India. He obtains an introduction at court from Father Perez, the former confessor for Queens Isabella. Columbus is opposed by Francisco de Bobadilla, who uses Beatriz to distract Columbus, However eventually the Queen agrees to finance Columbus’s ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, on its journey.

On the trip over, the crew threaten mutiny. Columbus promises to turn back if no land is found in three days. On the third night, Columbus sees a light and they reach the New World. Columbus returns to Spain a hero but continues to face opposition at court, even as his discoveries help turn Spain into a rich country.

 

 

 

This is a refreshing film of yesteryear without the ” woke” police and harkening back to a time when our country shared common knowledge of history and valued it. Yes, there really was a time in America when discernment and nuance, as well as applied context, was allowed. Set at a slower pace, but for the most part, a good telling of his adventure of 1492, landing and christening the new land as San Salvador. There is a nice musical score by Arthur Bliss, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Muiir Mathieson.

Fredric March’s closing line before the end credits start rolling “People will remember me long after Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are long forgotten”

And no doubt, remembered he is.

Enjoy indulging in the life and times of one of our most historical figures and check back for the next additions of 2nd Chance Movies.

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 RWR original article syndication source.

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Written by Kev Spirited

2 Comments

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  1. I am planning to watch all three! I did watch both 1992 films when they came out but look forward to getting my Christopher Columbus on for the holiday. I am truly looking forward to the 1949 one too.
    Great Column , look forward to the next installment.

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