Imprisoned, awaiting a hearing before the Spanish Inquisition on a trumped-up charge of heresy, Miguel de Cervantes is put on trial by his fellow prisoners, who threaten to destroy the unfinished manuscript of Don Quixote unless he can prove to them it is worth saving. Cervantes stages an enactment of the novel as his defence, with himself as the knight errant, his manservant as Sancho Panza and the other inmates taking the supporting roles.
To be honest, I was expecting to hate this film and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It's worth seeing for Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren's performances alone. Contrary to a lot of negative criticism I've read about Loren's poor singing, I think her limited ability suits her character perfectly well, and O'Toole lip-syncs his vocal stand-in so enthusiastically, I couldn't be certain he hadn't performed his own songs until I checked afterwards. That said, apart from the overused showstopper (The Impossible Dream), the songs are instantly forgettable. As with a lot of international co-productions, the conflicting accents of the cosmopolitan cast are a constant source of distraction.