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Craig R. Baxley
It's 69AD in Rome and streetwise hustler Marcus Didius Falco gets caught up in the death of the son of a man close to the new emperor, Vespasian. Hired by the victim's sister to discover the truth, Falco and his newly acquired slave, the gladiator Justus, uncover plots involving a cult which reaches into the Imperial household.Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Watching Age of Treason on the now defunct Saudi Aramco TV channel 3 while working in Bahrain almost ten years ago I fell in love with it and the characters. There are some top Englishspeaking movie and TV actors in the cast that those who are familiar with British cinema may well recognise. I'm glad I had the foresight to tape record it as it seems impossible to get hold of a commercial VHS or DVD version.
My enjoyment of this little known movie (I have never seen it screened on TV since) prompted me to buy several of the Lindsay Davis novels in the Falco series a year ago while in Montreal to read on holiday in Cuba and at a Heathrow airport bookstall on the way back to Greece. I have not actually read the novel on which The Age of Treason TV movie is based (could it be Body in The Bath House?). The movie is very much in Lindsay Davis' style. I expected a comedy not an historically accurate account of Roman history in Vespasian's time.And that's exactly what I got, not as zany, totally out to lunch and silly as Carry on Cleo or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) so the fact that the huge marble head of an emperor carted about by slaves at various times in the movie is that of Constantine the Great born several centuries after the Vespasian era doesn't bother me. I also enjoyed the recent - and rather more though not entirely accurate-HBO-BBC Rome series and the vintage 1975 I Claudius ( Robert Graves books and the 1976 BBC 12 episode low-budget but excellent production). I am not ignorant of Roman History as I studied Latin and Roman history for several years at school.
This is pure entertainment and therefore one should on look for historic accuracy. Bryan Brown is a hilarious comedian and I never mind his Australian accent in Age of Treason, it was just right for the racy kind of person living on his wits that Brown hwas portraying, maybe a Bronx accent would have done as well. Most of the other actors sported posh British public school ones (a minor but not fatal failing of the I Claudius series), except Niobe the bath-house slave who was pure Brixton cockney played to a tee by that charming but nowadays gracefully aging actress Sophie Okenedo. What would one have instead? Modern Sicilian Marlon Brando style? It would be absurd. I any case nobody really knows what kind of accents Romans had in early imperial days and how they would sound in Latin (use of which would have required cumbersome and pointless sub-titles). I haven't laughed at a comedy movie so much since viewing Danny Kayes' The Court Jester at a London theatre in 1955. This is a gem and I review it at least once a year when I'm feeling blue.
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