Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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One of the better movies from Mill Creek 50 Movie Warrior Collection. The story is about King Herod and his love for his Queen Mariam.
It has been a while since I read Josephus and his account of Herod, but I will assume the movie follows Josephus' storyline to some degree. In the last ten minutes, a little subplot taken from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew is added. In it Herod orders the killing of a brat born in Bethlehem. Oddly, according to the movie, King Herod only ordered the killing of the new born babies because he was so distaught that Mariam did not love him anymore.
There are some nice sets and costumes, but nothing really spectacular here. There are no real battles or sword fights, so action fans should stay away. This is a small cast with only a few dozen extras. It has more of an intimate stage play rather than an epic quality feeling.
The real reason to watch is the acting. Edmund Purdom is actually quite good as Herod. You actually do feel sorry for Herod at moments. Sylvia Lopez is extraordinary as Mariam. This and "Hercules Unchained" are basically the only known widely released movies she was in during her short three year movie career. If she had not died at 28, she might have been one of the great stars of the 60's. She kind of reminds me of Diane Cilento. She's more sexy than beautiful and she really dominates the screen. One can easily see why she drives Herod crazy.
If you're interested in 1st century B.C.E. Judean history, the movie is worth a look. Also if you want to see a beautiful young actress who died at the door to stardom in 1959, you should check it out. 3 Stars 6-10-13
Excellent Monumental Movie that focus on King Herodes as a Evil Dictator in his Last Days that turns more and more crazy under the Sign of the Dooming Enemied Troops that defeat his Army and the Deep Melodramatic Relationships with and between his 2 Wifes and his 2 Sons
One heck of a histrionic historical melodrama. What you'd want in this sort of film. It's Italian, Over-the-Top at parts, and tragic as all hell.
King Herod of Judea (Purdom) struggles to keep his throne and his life after supporting the wrong side in a revolt against the Roman Empire. He is successful in appeasing the Romans, but when he returns to his palace, his scheming son--the Herod who would rule Judea during the time of Jesus Christ--poisons his mind with lies that his best friend Aaron (Manni) had an affair with Herod's beloved Queen Meriam (Lopez) in his absense. Herod's jealousy and anger soon destroys him and all around him.
"Herod the Great" is a stagey, Shakespeare-like tragedy; it's like "King Lear" crossed with "Othello" and dumbed down. The entire film feels like it was adapted directly from a stage play and every featured actor is performing as if they're playing to the back row of a theatre. Purdom in particular comes across as if he's on stage and this leads to the intimate love scenes with Sylvia Lopez come across as laughable.
On the upside, the film features impressive sets and colorful costumes, with several of the female actors appearing in "attribute enhancing" outfits that never existed outside the fantasy versions of ancient times that are featured in movies like this. So, even though the movie is too long and the soliquies like a comic book imitation of Shakespeare the scenery is pretty enough to make the film worth sitting through. But only if you've got nothing better to do.
Herod the Great
Starring: Edmund Purdom, Sylvia Lopez, Ettore Manni, Sandra Milo, and Massimo Girotti
Director: Viktor Tourjanski
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