DirectorMary McGuckian Music directorLalo Schifrin CountryFrance
Release date22 December 2004 (2004-12-22) (Spain)
25 May 2005 (2005-05-25) (France)
10 June 2005 (2005-06-10) (United States) WriterMary McGuckian, Thornton Wilder (novel) Initial DVD releaseSeptember 10, 2005 (Netherlands) CastF. Murray Abraham (Viceroy of Peru), Kathy Bates (The Marquesa), Gabriel Byrne (Brother Juniper), Geraldine Chaplin (The Abbess), Robert De Niro (Archbishop of Peru), Adriana Dominques (Pepita) Similar moviesThe Golden Coach (1952)
Review of thornton wilder s the bridge of san luis rey
The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a 2004 drama film directed by Mary McGuckian and featuring an ensemble cast . It is based on Thornton Wilder's novel of the same name. The film was released in 2004 in Spain and 2005 in the U.S. and abroad. Despite praise for its costume design, the film was poorly received by critics.
The film centers on a basic premise: near Lima, Peru, at noon of Friday, 20 July 1714, a bridge woven by the Incas a century earlier collapsed at that particular moment, while five people were crossing it: Doña María, the Marquess of Montemayor; Pepita, her lady in attendance; Esteban, a scribe; Uncle Pío and a young child. The collapse was witnessed by Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk, who was on his way to cross it. Curious about why God would allow such a tragedy, he decides to take a scientific approach to the question. He set out to interview everyone he can find who knew the five victims. Over the course of six years, he has managed to compile a huge book, coming to the question whether we live our lives according to a plan or if there is no such thing as a bigger scheme.
Background and production
The film and novel are very loosely based on the life of Micaela Villegas (1748—1819), a famous Peruvian entertainer known as La Perricholi, whose life was also the inspiration for the novella Le Carrosse du Saint-Sacrement by Prosper Mérimée, an opéra bouffe, La Périchole by Jacques Offenbach, Jean Renoir’s 1953 film Le Carrosse d'or (The Golden Coach), and two earlier film versions: a 1929 silent version, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) starring Lili Damita, and a 1944 version, The Bridge of San Luis Rey starring Lynn Bari, Francis Lederer, Akim Tamiroff, and Alla Nazimova.
The 2004 film was shot on location in Málaga, Andalucía, and Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. It is the only one of the three versions made on location, and the only one to use the novel's original, shocking ending.
F. Murray Abraham as Viceroy of Peru
Kathy Bates as The Marquesa
Gabriel Byrne as Brother Juniper
Geraldine Chaplin as The Abbess
Robert De Niro as Archbishop of Lima
Émilie Dequenne as Doña Clara
Adriana Domínguez as Pepita
Harvey Keitel as Uncle Pio
Pilar López de Ayala as Camila Villegas (La Perichole)
John Lynch as Captain de Alvarado
Mark Polish as Manuel
Michael Polish as Esteban
Jim Sheridan as The King of Spain
Dominique Pinon as His Excellency's Fop
The film was resoundingly panned on release. On review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 'rotten' 4% with the consensus: 'Despite an all-star cast and some impressive visuals, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a lifeless, slow-going adaptation of Thornton Wilder's classic novel.' Stephen Garrett of Time Out said 'Why do good actors pop up in bad movies? More perplexingly, why do so many good actors end up in the same bad movie?', while Desson Thomas of The Washington Post wrote 'Even though director-adaptor Mary McGuckian expended much creative energy trying to pump original spirit into the characters, she never brings any of them to life'.