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
Slaves digging with steel shovels of a pattern invented in the early 20th century instead of Roman wooden spades. 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 »
One year earlier, in 1959, William Wyler finished his own opus known to film buffs as Ben Hur.
In 1960, Kubrick directed this film under the tight scrutiny of the "real" producer, Douglas himself.
Both films seem alike in the IMDb. That is, the ratings are similar, the public acclaim (at the time) similar, and both won multiple awards.
But the real battle, the real foe, is time itself.
A half-century later, BEN HUR still shines, the dialog still rings, and Heston's prideful acting outlives the actor himself, as is true with all great actors.
This film does not fare so well for any who would spend 3+ hours with it. Douglas could not resist casting himself in the lead even though he was 45 at the time. The average age of an actual Roman gladiator was 22.
So Spartacus, to the jaundiced eye, seems more than the story of someone's father raising an army of slaves, than an actual gladiator.
The fight scenes all seem staged, as, indeed, much of the "action" seemed in most films of the era -- compared to SPARTACUS BLOOD AND SAND in 2010, for example, the 1960 film seems almost in slow motion.
The point? I could go on. Jean Simmonds seems lost in her role. The dialog is stilted. The music is insanely wrong, too much wind instrument noise, also common for the era. In fact, of the entire cast, the only one who seems comfortable in the role of a Roman is Peter Ustinov and that is because he carried himself in real life the same way, as if everyone he met was in some way beneath him.
There are timeless films and timeless performances. This is not one of them.
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