Don Quixote [2000]

This 1973 film treatment of the ballet classic Don Quixote has a spaciousness, a freedom of movement often missing when a staged ballet production is taped for television. It captures the art of Rudolf Nureyev at the height of his powers, both as a dancer and as a choreographer. With distinguished supporting performances by Robert Helpmann and Lucette Aldous, the production balances lyric and narrative elements, wit and pathos, satire and idealism, with virtuoso solo and ensemble dancing. Nureyev, a perfectionist, had an enormous airplane hangar in Australia transformed into a studio for the 25 days he spent dancing and shooting this episode in the crazy life of Cervantes's mock-epic hero. The routine 19th-century score by Ludwig Minkus has been modestly upgraded by conductor John Lanchbery, contributing positively to the performance's energy. --Joe McLellan

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