A "Romeo and Juliet" story that takes place in the late 16c. Ukraine. Taras has settled into comfortable farm life after years of adventures and swashbuckling with his cossack companions. ...
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A "Romeo and Juliet" story that takes place in the late 16c. Ukraine. Taras has settled into comfortable farm life after years of adventures and swashbuckling with his cossack companions. Though not wealthy, he is able to send his son Andrei away to a Polish school. At this time the Poles are overlords of Ukraine and the origin of the cossacks is struggle of the Ukrainian serfs to free themselves and their land of Polish domination. Toward this end Taras hopes that his son will be educated in the ways of the enemy. Instead, Andrei falls in love with the daughter of a Polish nobleman, setting the stage for a clash between love, family honor, and a struggle for national identity. Written by
That this classic novel by Gogol about the legendary Ukrainian cossack hero could have been made into a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, and that this was done at the very height of the cold war seems unbelievable today.
While the film is dated a bit by the kitschy love story involving Tony Curtis' character, Yul Brynner is perfect in his role which seems one of those he was born to play.
A colourful and spectacular historical epic in the best of the then-dying old Hollywood tradition, this is probably the only exposure that the American public at large has to Ukrainian history, and in this alone it is a valuable work. But the film manages to succeed on the entertainment level as well, and I recommend it to all fans of the good ol' Hollywood studio historical drama.
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