In 73 B.C., a Thracian slave leads a revolt at a gladiatorial school run by Lentulus Batiatus (Sir Peter Ustinov). The uprising soon spreads across the Italian Peninsula involving thousand of slaves. The plan is to acquire sufficient funds to acquire ships from Silesian pirates who could then transport them to other lands from Brandisium in the south. The Roman Senator Gracchus (Charles Laughton) schemes to have Marcus Publius Glabrus (John Dall), Commander of the garrison of Rome, lead an army against the slaves who are living on Vesuvius. When Glabrus is defeated his mentor, Senator and General Marcus Licinius Crassus (Sir Laurence Olivier) is greatly embarrassed and leads his own army against the slaves. Spartacus and the thousands of freed slaves successfully make their way to Brandisium only to find that the Silesians have abandoned them. They then turn north and must face the might of Rome.Written by
Cinematographer Russell Metty walked off the set, complaining that Director Stanley Kubrick was not letting him do his job. Metty was used to directors allowing him to call his own shots with little oversight, while Kubrick was a professional photographer who had shot some of his previous movies by himself. Subsequently, Kubrick did the majority of the cinematography work. Metty complained about this up until the release of the movie and even, at one point, asked to have his name removed from the credits. However, because his name was in the credits, when this movie won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, it was given to Metty, although he actually didn't shoot most of it. See more »
When Crassus gives Glabrus (usually referred to as Glaber) the command of the Garrison of Rome he tells him that the garrison is the only force that can "check-mate" Gracchus. "Check-mate" is a term invented for the game of Chess, which most sources indicate was not created until three centuries after the Spartacus Revolt in India and did not reach Europe until the 9th Century A.D. The timing of this comment would have placed it in 71 B.C.E. See more »
In the last century before the birth of the new faith called Christianity, which was destined to overthrow the pagan tyranny of Rome and bring about a new society, the Roman Republic stood at the very center of the civilized world. "Of all things fairest," sang the poet, "first among cities and home of the gods is golden Rome." Yet, even at the zenith of her pride and power, the Republic lay fatally stricken with a disease called human slavery. The age of the dictator was at hand, ...
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The opening titles appear in a montage of silhouetted Roman sculptures and tablets, which evokes the strength and power of the Roman Empire. The montage ends with a zoom into the eye of a crumbling Roman bust, which hints at the Empire's coming decline and fall. See more »
After its premiere the film was heavily cut and wasn't shown in its complete form until 1991, when a restored version was re-released. Among the restored scenes is one where where Marcus Licinius (Laurence Olivier) tries to seduce Antonius (Tony Curtis) in the bath. The soundtrack was damaged, so Anthony Hopkins was called in to dub Olivier's lines. See more »
Spartacus (1960) was a director for hire gig for Stanley Kubrick. Kirk Douglas was in a pinch for his next film project. He was making an epic film about a slave in the roman republic who rebels against his masters. Anthony Mann stepped down from the director's chair and Mr. Douglas needed someone to take over. Enters Stanley Kubrick. Although he has little creative input (i.e. script and story wise) he manages to make a compelling movie with his keen eye and directorial abilities.
Filmed in a grand scope and in such great detail, Spartacus is eye candy for fans of epic film making. I can only imagine what the film would have been like if he had total control over the project. Kirk Douglas is the man as Spartacus, Tony Curtis is quite good as his sidekick, Charles Laughton is wise and witty as the elder senator, Peter Ustinov is a hoot in his role as the poor victim of fortunate (and unfortunate) circumstance and Sir Laurence Olivier shows why he was the premier actor of his day as Crassus.
Highly recommended for Kirk Douglas fans and Stanley Kubrick philes.
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