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In order to flee from powerful enemies, young Mayan king Balam leads his people north across the Gulf of Mexico to the coast of what will become the United States. They build a home in the new land but come into conflict with a tribe of Native Americans led by their chief, Black Eagle, while both Balam and Black Eagle fall in love the beautiful Mayan princess Ixchel. Written by
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I haven't seen the trailer for this movie, but I'm sure the words "Cast of Thousands" must have splashed across the screen in giant red letters.
"Kings of the Sun" is a costume melodrama with all the declaiming, strutting around, and general overacting characteristic of all the other costume melodramas produced in the late fifties and early sixties. The setting in pre-Columbian America doesn't really do all that much to distinguish it from the biblical epics filmed in the same period, and Yul Brynner's portrayal of an Indian chief is pretty much the same as his portrayal of an Egyptian pharaoh.
Neither George Chakiris as the Maya king nor love interest Shirley Ann Field bear any resemblance at all to Mayans, of course, but nobody in 1963 would have expected they would. As a matter of fact, Chakiris's hairdo was sufficiently reminiscent of Frankie Avalon's to distract me the whole way through. Still, there's a nice score by the great Elmer Bernstein.
Those who enjoy the genre will probably find some satisfaction in "Kings of the Sun," but certainly would be much happier with "The Ten Commandments" or "Spartacus."
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