A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
In 73 BCE, a Thracian slave leads a revolt at a gladiatorial school run by Lentulus Batiatus. The uprising soon spreads across the Italian Peninsula involving thousand of slaves. The plan is to acquire sufficient funds to acquire ships from Silesian pirates who could then transport them to other lands from Brandisium in the south. The Roman Senator Gracchus schemes to have Marcus Publius Glabrus, Commander of the garrison of Rome, lead an army against the slaves who are living on Vesuvius. When Glabrus is defeated his mentor, Senator and General Marcus Licinius Crassus is greatly embarrassed and leads his own army against the slaves. Spartacus and the thousands of freed slaves successfully make their way to Brandisium only to find that the Silesians have abandoned them. They then turn north and must face the might of Rome. Written by
Kirk Douglas, a passionate Zionist, wanted the history depicted to parallel the story of the Jewish people. He clashed with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was more interested in making the film a commentary on the Cold War. See more »
Many of the horsemen use stirrups, an invention which did not reach Europe until about the 7th century A.D., eight centuries after the film is set. See more »
In the last century before the birth of the new faith called Christianity, which was destined to overthrow the pagan tyranny of Rome and bring about a new society, the Roman Republic stood at the very center of the civilized world. "Of all things fairest," sang the poet, "first among cities and home of the gods is golden Rome." Yet, even at the zenith of her pride and power, the Republic lay fatally stricken with a disease called human slavery. The age of the dictator was at hand, ...
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The opening titles appear in a montage of silhouetted Roman sculptures and tablets, which according to title designer Saul Bass is meant to evoke the strength and power of the Roman Empire. The montage ends with a zoom into the eye of a crumbling Roman bust, which hints at the Empire's coming decline and fall. See more »
This movie, oddly, parallels A.I. but for a different reason. It is a hybrid of Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick. Young people, Kubrick, probably the greatest American director, wanted a deep penetrating analysis of war and slavery evocative of Paths Of Glory. He and Kirk had worked well together on that film; so Kirk got the studio to go for the project. During making this movie war broke out and not in front of the camera. Stanley went to the studio but he was just starting out; Kirk had a lot more pull. He won and the great movie that you can see traces of was obliterated and replaced with a prosaic action movie. Kirk also thought we should hear endless speeches and scenes of them wandering that would have made Ceil B. DeMille say,"Cut, that is enough wandering crap, we are boring people." It is clear Stanley did the best part of the movie, the training camp and revolt. I own all of Kubrick's movies and I can assure you he never has long boring scenes of magic shows, people going from place to place ad nauseum. Forgive me, the I Am Spartacus did not come from the pen of the darkest misanthropist who ever lived. He makes me look like Gene Roddenberry. Does this look like the man who has the general in Paths say,"The men died gloriously, sometimes some one does something that spoils the whole undertaking.."
When you are watching this movie, like A.I., you can see traces of the Kubrick movie that never got made. The first half is worth owning the movie for, the training camp and the revolt. Both are filed with the usual Stanley, man's boundless cruelty to each other, I assure you the scene where Strode could have killed Douglas but spares him and tries to kill the patrician slime: That is Quintessential Stanley. The weakness of the film is the eternal scenes of wandering and the Kirk Douglas what a man I am show. The one with I Am Spartacus may be remembered, yes it is good, but find me a parallel humanistic scene of human nobility in any other Stanley Kubrick film. That is all Kirk Douglas, and forgive me, it is not Spartacus that is being canonized. The battle scenes, leaving aside the sneakers on their feet, are way too drawn out and boring. Do we need to see the Roman formation for a half an hour as it creeps towards the slaves lines?
Douglas while a great actor was an incompetent director. You can see the damage; he has no grasp of pacing or relevancy to the plot. One or two wandering scenes are sufficient more is boring. However noble the I Am Spartacus is, coincidentally it is a tad self aggrandizing. Like A.I. the movie is a hybrid of a legendary director and an actor in over his head. I own the movie for the Kubrick parts believe me even half of a Stanley Kubrick movie is worth owning. Also, Douglas, while incompetent, does not wreck the movie like Stevie does to A.I. Despite this, you cannot but wish Stanley had won. Imagine if the rest of this classic, mirrored the first half. The wandering scenes can be done well compare these to the ones in DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Notice how we do not see eternal perambulation like we do here. He was a terrible director and he did real damage to Stanley's movie. I heard Kubrick fought to have his name taken off of the movie. His standards, 1000s of takes, were not even remotely met here. Half of a classic.
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