What do you get when you put middle-range American stars in the leading roles in a peplum film? Pretty good peplum, that's what. Contrary to what one might expect, "Esther and the King" is not a lavish Hollywood historical spectacle in the mode of DeMille, but is an Italian production using Joan Collins and Richard Egan to play the eponymous characters. For this reason the film is often characterized as a bargain-basement epic, whereas it is actually a peplum with a slightly higher than average budget. Appealing performances by the leads, a delightfully schlocky musical score, a good story, and atmospheric sets and cinematography makes this an enjoyable sword-&-sandal effort.
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