movie film review | chris tookey


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  Spartacus Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
8.12 /10
Kirk Douglas , Laurence Olivier , Tony Curtis
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Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Dalton Trumbo from Howard Fast's novel

Released: 1960
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 196

Slave (Kirk Douglas) leads revolt against Roman Empire.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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In the original 1960 version, the battle-scenes were grievously mutilated on grounds of taste. Amputated completely was a sequence where Crassus (Laurence Olivier) lived up to his name, and propositioned his slave (Tony Curtis) with a sceneful of salacious suggestions about seafood. These sins of censorship have now been expiated, with Anthony Hopkins's voice deputising for Olivier (the new scene could, I suppose, be entitled Slyness of the Clams).

Re-viewed in the 90s, the original cracks in the edifice look more colossal than ever. The "exterior" studio sets appear to have been left over from an amateur production of Carousel; Tony Curtis and John Gavin (as Julius Caesar) seem to be modelling for Thunderbirds; and the over-emphasis on Kirk Douglas's pulsating pectorals reflects the equally muscular involvement of Mr Douglas as Executive Producer.

It remains, however, a stirring story with marvellously staged set-pieces, an intelligent script by Dalton Trumbo, and memorable supporting performances by Olivier, Laughton and Ustinov, who deserved an Oscar for his cowardly slave-trader. Spartacus was brave in its day for having an unhappy" ending; now, it's just great popular entertainment, on the grandest possible scale.

It was Oscar-nominated for Best Editing (Robert Lawrence) and Score (Alex North) and won for Best Cinematography (Russell Metty), Art Direction (Alexander Golitzen, Eric Orbom, Russell A. Gausman, Julia Heron), and Costume Design (Bill Thomas, Valles).

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