Continued from part 1…
After the long intermission, which consisted of more rousing Hollywood orchestra, the story headed for the inevitable battle scene. And it was quite an impressive one as they used eight thousand Spanish infantry soldiers as extras. There were the Roman soldiers all done up in their armour, and the slave army all done up in rags and helmets. The Roman army spent some time doing formation manoeuvres which was impressive to watch (but not as impressive as this).
The battle scene went on for a short time, and had a few scenes cut out as it was deemed too gory by test audiences. One particularly impressive scene was when the slave army pushed flaming rollers made of hay down a hill right into the Romans. The stunt dudes certainly earned their money as they were rolled over or sometimes caught briefly in the flames, which looked to be burning very hot.
Stanley Kubrick was his usual fatidious self in this film. From Wikipedia:
So precise was Kubrick, that even in arranging the bodies of the slaughtered slaves he had each “corpse” assigned with a number and instructions.
The story followed it’s logical, and not so accurate ending (the real Spartacus died in battle, but he was crucified in the film). Actually, historically it was not the most accurate film, but entertainment trumps history. In the film he met a woman and had a baby, all fiction of course because Hollywood needs some romance and kissing scenes.
Being a big Hollywood production there was a lot going on behind the scenes, mostly due to egos clashing, especially between Kubrick and the cinematograher. A screenwriter who was one of the Hollywood Ten was taken on by The Kirkster to replace the original screenwriter, which helped to break the Hollywood blacklist. Spartacus!
Stanley Kubrick ended up disowning this film although why is not clear, probably because he didn’t get his way in how the film was made.
At the box office back in the day it made back five times what it cost to make, but did not win any major Academy Awards. The Kirkster was not even nominated!
Reading about The Kirkster I found that he was an avid blogger and wrote posts on the Huffington Post which you can see here. There have not been any posts this year, but Wikipedia says he is probably the oldest celebrity blogger in the world! Spartacus!
I would not say this is an essential “epic” to watch, but it is still well worth watching, not only for The Kirkster, but also for the excellent supporting actors and the gnarly battle scene at least.
And here is a John K. blog about The Kirkster.
Date watched (part 2): August 28th
Film count 2017: 96