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Old 15-04-2005, 09:41   #1
Pentasa
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Recommend me some Biblical / Sword & Sandals Epics

Spartacus is one of my favourite films ever and I'm finally getting round to buying and it put me in the mood for a few more Sword & Sandals epics, There are the obvious choices Ben Hur, Cleopatra, El Cid and maybe even the 10 Commandments is there anything else I should be sampling ? (I did do a search and didn't see any other threads on this topic)

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Old 15-04-2005, 09:47   #2
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The Greatest Story Ever Told SE - nice set from MGM.
King of Kings is gorgeous and a snip right now.
The Robe
Demetrius and the Gladiators
The 300 Spartans
Alexander The Great

...all spring to mind.
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Old 15-04-2005, 09:51   #3
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Barabbas

Famously captures a real solar eclipse onscreen during the crucifixion scene...

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Old 15-04-2005, 09:59   #4
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I have a soft spot for Quo Vadis (1951). It is splendidly lurid and has everything you could possibly want from that kind of film, including Rome in flames, Christians thrown to the lions, lots and lots of sandals and an entertainingly deranged Peter Ustinov as emperor Nero.

If you're feeling adventurous, try Mario Bava's delirous and eye popping cut-price epic Hercules at the Center of the Earth.

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Old 15-04-2005, 12:32   #5
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The all-time greatest, in my very subjective opinion: Anthony Mann's awesome "The Fall of The Roman Empire". An extraordinary film.

If you're in an indulgent mood, Burt Lancaster in "Moses The Lawgiver" is good fun as well, although it goes on forever. Also, God talks with Burt's voice too so the scenes in which Moses consults his maker tend to suggest a subtext of mental illness.
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Old 15-04-2005, 12:42   #6
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Well The Fall of the Roman Empire is only Ł5.99 at Play atm and I think I'm going give The Greatest Story Ever Told and King of Kinds a go as well .. I seem to remember watching most of the films recommended on TV when I was a nipper, My mum is a fan of this type of film
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Old 15-04-2005, 12:51   #7
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Be warned, the Play version of "Fall" has been cropped from 2.35:1 to 1.66:1.
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Old 15-04-2005, 13:20   #8
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I second Anephric's espousal of Barabbas - an amazing movie that offers a rather radical story in which Barabbas and Jesus are seen as polar/solar opposites with the latter haunted by the notion that he Jesus "stole" his death. There is an almost Bergmanesque and certainly oppressive symbolism of light and dark, presence/absence of God and an extraordinarily pervasive violence. The music is weirdly atmospheric and electronic and there are some fantastico arena scenes, shot at Verona. Indeed, the climactic bout between Barabbas an totally tonto Jack Palance ranks as the greatest gladiatorial combat in the history of the cinema. Such a shame about the available version of Fall of the Roman Empire - there was an excellent laserdisc version. As for Spartacus, it's not Biblical and, let's face it, things get very preachy and boring when the slaves are on the screen. The movie only comes alive when Laughton, Olivier and Ustinov toss their togas.
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Old 15-04-2005, 15:07   #9
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There is no complete roadshow version of FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE anywhere and I would avoid the Universal UK version like the plague. The best version is available in Germany, see:http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail...me/rsk/hitlist.

IVANHOE was recently released by Warners on R1 and is pretty good.
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Old 19-08-2007, 12:50   #10
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I've just bought Messalina which is part of the Cinema Colossal DVD series from the - I think - German company e-m-s. I am quite pleased with this 2.35:1 DVD which is sourced from a good print with only a few small speckles and no scratches. I cannot be authoratitive about the colour as I did not see this film when it was first released, but judging from skin tones, skies and green vegetation, the colours have held up well although the image seems a little soft. I would expect a sharper focus from a movie shot in Technirama and Technicolor. The only other reservation I have is that the dynamic range of the soundtrack is irritatingly wide. I was adjusting the volume level throughout the movie.

I'm no student of Ancient Rome, but Messalina seems to me to be a re-imagining of the story of Valeria Messalina while sticking to the main historical facts. Messalina (Belinda Lee) is presented as a scheming young woman whose appetite for power is equalled only by her appetite for sex. When Claudius is appointed Emperor of Rome after the assassination of Caligula, he is persuaded to marry for political reasons, and Messalina is suggested to him by plotters who believe she will be their pawn. How little they knew!

Unlike most movies made during the 1950/1965 cycle of big screen "epics", Messalina concentrates on political scheming and betrayals rather than on combat and spectacle. There are of course some action sequences, and one large scale battle towards the end is done splendidly.

Anyone who loves historical movies rooted in Greece, Rome or the Bible should consider adding Messalina to their DVD collection.
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Old 19-08-2007, 16:12   #11
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There is also a good 2.35:1 version of Fall available at Yes Asia.

I can also recommend Solomon and Sheba, and David and Bathsheba. Alexander the Great (Richard Burton) and The 300 Spartans are also worth a look.
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Old 20-08-2007, 10:01   #12
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How about Caligula?

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Alexander the Great, Barabbas, Ben Hur, Biblical, Caligula, Cleopatra, Demetrius and the Gladiators, El Cid, Epics, King of Kings is gorgeous, Messalina, Quo Vadis, Sandals, Sword, The 300 Spartans, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Robe

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