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Esther and the King (1960)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  14 December 1960 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 391 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 8 critic

When a modern-day girl faces a big challenge in her life, her mother teaches her about the power of fasting by sharing the story of a heroine from the Bible.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Esther and the King (1960)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Richard Egan ...
Denis O'Dea ...
...
Rik Battaglia ...
Simon (as Rick Battaglia)
Renato Baldini ...
Klydrathes
Gabriele Tinti ...
Samual
Rosalba Neri ...
Keresh
Robert Buchanan ...
Hegai
Daniela Rocca ...
Folco Lulli ...
Tobiah
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Storyline

When a modern-day girl faces a big challenge in her life, her mother teaches her about the power of fasting by sharing the story of a heroine from the Bible.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Celebrated Love Adventure of All...From the Greatest Book of All!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ester E o Rei  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Queen Vashti: I am going to the feast. Prepare me.
See more »

Connections

Version of Queen Esther (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

Another underappreciated work
13 April 2004 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

Like other Italian works of this era, underappreciated and cynically criticized for what it is not, this is a work of art, beautifully woven together in music, mood, and cinematography leaving the viewer in the end fulfilled in the desire to escape from the modern world into a place inaccessible, and, yes, surrealistic.

The music, written by the Italian master Francesco Lavagnino, one of the great movie music composers of the 20th century, commands the mood of each scene and spans the range of moods in the work, from the march of soldiers to the Queen in the flower garden to her love scene with the King to the mystic mood in the ruins where Simon hides. It is a fine piece of composition.

The words in the script are, in some scenes, not meant to be ordinary conversation, but rather noble thoughts, royal council, and human aspirations, and thus are written and delivered as such. When mental burdens weigh heavily on the King, he is told by his friend Mordecai that "... by lifting the burdens of others one can lift one's own burden ... " Such thoughts are actually quite profound, that in some cases depressed moods arise from self-centered thinking and self-victimization, and that by helping others in a selfless way one can relieve one's own burdens. In the garden, Mordecai councils Esther that " .. the King is attracted to her sense of justice and loyalty, the same qualities that bind her still to Simon, her previous love, and that may turn the King against her in jealousy..."

The cinematography in the scene of the death of Simon, where the camera rises above Simon and the queen to the Star of David, which then appears on the wall of the next scene, is very well done. In another scene, the King is asked whom he had chosen to be his queen, and as he replies "A girl named Esther", the camera pans past the concerned face of Haman to reveal the quite different satisfied expression of Mordecai.

There is much to appreciate in the music, words, and visual presentation of this work. Of course this is not meant to be a documentary, a faithful retelling of an ancient story. Criticism should be directed at how it fails in its own intent as a melancholic, romantic, and introspective fantasy, rather than based on the viewer's expectations. If my understanding of its intent is near the mark, then my conclusion is that this work, like the Raoul Walsh epic The Big Trail made 30 years earlier, succeeds very well.


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