• Publication date: December 18, 2009

Has Don Juan Been Reincarnated? A Modern Interpretation Of A Classic Tale

The story of Don Juan has taken on many forms over the years, one of the most famous being Lord Byron�s poetic interpretation. Continuing in that vein �Don Juan DeMarco� (1995) is a surprisingly unique, though partial adaptation of Byron�s classic.

The story of Don Juan has taken on many forms over the years, one of the most famous being Lord Byron�s poetic interpretation. Continuing in that vein �Don Juan DeMarco� (1995) is a surprisingly unique, though partial adaptation of Byron�s classic. In this iteration of the story Johnny Depp depicts a delusional mental patient who believes, with utter certainty, that he is Don Juan.

Depp, star of the recent �Pirates of the Caribbean� (2003, 2006) franchise is joined by late Hollywood legend Marlon Brando, most famous for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in �The Godfather� (1972). Faye Dunaway, a 40 year Hollywood veteran completes the film�s multigenerational, all-star cast and maintains the beauty and grace of her past performances in �The Towering Inferno� (1974) and �Three Days of the Condor� (1975) � both films younger audiences should acquaint themselves with.

The film begins atop a tall billboard, where a suicidal man dressed in an awkward costume is threatening to jump. Authorities are called to the scene and the strange man, with some reluctance, eventually climbs down. However when police ask him to identify himself, the masked man insists that he is the legendary literary character Don Juan.

Naturally unconvinced, an officer takes him to a mental institution for a 10-day evaluation. It is there that he meets Dr. Jack Mickler (Brando), the psychiatrist who will determine Don Juan�s sanity, and whether or not he should be hospitalized for life. Initially, the doctor believes he is delusional and is advised to prescribe the patient medication. Soon, however, Dr. Mickler reconsiders this and begins intensive, one on one therapy with Don Juan.

While undergoing treatment female nurses, who once believed he was crazy, suddenly become enchanted by Don Juan; in fact administrators feared that nurses were becoming a little too close, and assigned him a large, powerful, and domineering male nurse appropriately named Rocco (Tiny Lister). Still he manages to woo Rocco and the two become pals, laughing at each other�s jokes. It seems that, as legend would have it, no man or woman is capable of resisting Don Juan.

Dr. Mickler is profoundly affected by his new patient, and begins reconsidering his career-long methodology of forced treatment. While Don Juan is unquestionably eccentric, he is not really a threat to himself (for the exception of one incident), or others. Indeed, what is the harm in allowing him to live in his own world, a world that may be real to him if not real to anyone else?

The masked lover also changes the doctor�s life at home. Don Juan�s approach to romance and life � often revealed in his adventurous tales, inspires Mickler to rekindle his relationship with wife Marilyn (Dunaway), who wonders what has happened to her formally boring husband.

Despite the doctor�s sympathy for his patient and his newfound approach to psychiatry, Don Juan�s ultimate fate lies in the hands of Mickler�s superiors, who will decide whether or not he is fit for society. Mickler�s task then goes beyond mere diagnosis and transforms into a moral duty to save Don Juan from an unjust life of confinement and isolation.

The picture earned an Oscar nomination and also a Golden Globe nomination. The film�s theme song, composed by Bryan Adams was nominated for a Grammy and its soundtrack features the sounds of late Latina singer Selena.

�Don Juan DeMarco� performed adequately at the box office, earning a reasonable $66 million. The picture�s runtime is 97 minutes.