This is a film I have been looking forward to watching, but due to it’s three hour and sixteen minute running time I have been putting it off. But, I could put if off no longer. At the half-way point there was an actual intermission so I decided to finish watching and will continue tonight. I will also split my review into two parts.
It actual started off with an “overture” consisting of a black screen whilst some rousing Hollywood brass orchestra played a tune for several minutes. We then go into the opening scene where a narrator gives a short history lesson and introduces us to Spartacus, otherwise known as “The Kirkster”. This was the main reason I wanted to watch this film as I have become a huge Kirk Douglas fan, I think he is the champ of all Hollywood actors, past and present. And with his 101st birthday coming up this year I cannot see how any other actor will be able to best him. He was also the executive producer of this film.
The Kirkster was a bit miffed that he missed out on the role of Ben-Hur, which instead went to The Heston, so he wanted to do his own epic and helped get this film together. I have not seen Ben-Hur yet, but I imagine The Kirkster would have been just as good, if not better than The Heston.
There is a fine cast apart from The Kirkster, namely Peter Ustinov (excellent), Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Herbert Lom (he hasn’t appeared yet), Charles Laughton (also excellent as a pompous Roman), and good ol’ Woody Strode. It was directed by a young Stanley Kubrick, and was the only film he made where he did not have complete artistic control, which is obvious.
So far the story has been engaging, and despite the length moves along at a good pace. There have been some epic scenes which included hundreds of extras (the Spanish infantry no less), and some very impressive sets. What impressed me most though was The Kirkster’s strength, he was a really buff guy. There was one scene where he picked up his love interest in the story and threw her onto a horse like she was a rag doll. In another scene he lifted up an older lady who was not fat, but not thin either and lifted her into the air, again with complete ease. He also did his own stunts.
So it has been a good watch so far.
Date watched (part 1): August 26th
Score (so far): 8/10
Film count 2017: 96