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Film Review: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) by drax

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· @drax ·
$9.15
Film Review: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)
![(source: tmdb.org)](https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/original/9qlCxh3I50mfLc3oWoFr3I8pKH8.jpg)


500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of Americas, regardless of the political controversies, was an opportunity to be exploited by film makers. Two major productions were depicting the event. Both films failed, but one was ultimately better than another. Unlike *[1492: Conquest of Paradise](https://peakd.com/aaa/@drax/retro-film-review-1492-conquest-of-paradise-1992)*, which is now considered one of less successful but generally decent pieces in filmography of Ridley Scott, *Christopher Columbus: The Discovery*, epic directed by John Glen, is one of the more obscure films of its time.


The plot begins in late 15th Century. Ottoman conquest of Constantinople and large parts of Mediterranean has closed traditional land routes for trade between Orient and Western Europe. While Portuguese try to find new sea route to India by trying sail around Africa, Genovese captain Christopher Columbus (played by Georges Corraface) has another idea. Armed with valuable maps of Orient, geographical calculations and knowledge of winds in Atlantic Ocean, he has made the plan to reach the “Indies” by sailing westwards. Most sailors are sceptical, and Tomás de Torquemada (played by Marlon Brando), Grand Inquistor of Spain, even considers idea of crossing the ocean potential heretical. Columbus’ fortunes change in 1492 when King Ferdinand of Aragon (played by Tom Selleck) and his wife, Queen Isabella of Castille (played by Rachel Ward) conquer Granada, last Muslim stronghold in Iberian Peninsula. Isabella is enthusiastic about Columbus’ plans to claim new lands for Spanish crowns and bring natives to Catholic faith. Columbus gathers men, ships and provisions and starts long journey that nobody made before. During long months at sea, he has to deal with saboteurs and increasingly restless and potentially mutinous crew. When the land is finally discovered, Columbus disembarks on paradise island he calls San Salvador where he finds strange looking natives and traces of gold. His return to Spain, however, won’t be simple.  


*The Discovery* is in many ways old school historical epic like Hollywood and other major cinema industries used to make few decades earlier. There are some notable names behind the camera. Script was co-written by Mario Puzo, creator of *[The Godfather](https://peakd.com/film/@drax/retro-film-review-the-godfather-1972)*. Director was given to John Glen, British film maker best known for his, mostly satisfying, work on James Bond films in 1980s. Producers were Alexander Salkind and his son Ilya, team best known for some high profile films in 1970s, including *[Superman](https://peakd.com/hive-166847/@drax/film-review-superman-1978)*. Yet, all those talents failed to make anything interesting on big screen. This could be best attributed to poorly conceived script which tried to do something different with relatively well-known and previously told story of Christopher Columbus. In *The Discovery* he is played by relatively unknown French actor Georges Corraface and portrayed and something of an adventurer, swashbuckler and even romantic hero in routine and uninspired scenes during which Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Columbus’ mistress Beatriz. Too much time in two hour film are given to intrigues and political considerations before the actual voyage, while the voyage itself, although depicted by use of replica ships, is artificially made more eventful than it really was, which included stabbings, sabotage, shark attacks and even Columbus literary putting his head on the line. The segment that actually depicts first contact between Europeans and natives is too short and the film ends without proper closure or any attempt to put the event in broader context. *The Discovery* hasn’t been helped by miscasting. Marlon Brando in the role of Torquemada wasn’t particularly good, with his enthusiasm hampered by disagreement over script and its failure to address genocidal impact of Columbus’ discovery on Native Americans. However, even worse is Tom Selleck whose uninspired performance as King Ferdinand won him Razzie for Worst Suppporting Actor. The only thing that works in film is old school music score by Cliff Eidelman, but it would in the end only remind audience how better this film could have been. *The Discovery* was complete fiasco at the box office and Salkinds never recovered, pratically ending their careers as producers. 



RATING:  3/10 (+)



https://youtu.be/SE0qZNaA-i0



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@curation-cartel ·
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@gwajnberg ·
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@poshtoken ·
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