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"When all this sets with the final sun, remember the look of Acte."To my understanding, "Quo Vadis" was the first big-budget Bible drama. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy (The Wizard of Oz) and boasts eight Academy nominations and two Golden Globes. It may pale to "Ben-Hur" but it has some very moving scenes--like when the Christians are led singing into the coliseum and Peter's testimony in the catacombs--and redeeming vaules such as "Do not be unequally yoked" "Love your enemies" and "Be ye faithful unto death and I shall give thee a crown of life."Robert Taylor in the leading role is somewhat irritating athough it is appropriate since Marcus Vinicius is a pompous, narrow-minded, self-absorbed centurion. His main drawback as an actor is while everyone else has a British accent, he has an American accent.The real stars are Peter Ustinov and Patricia Laffan as the evil emporer and empress. While the lions eat the Christians, they sit back and take their lunch as if they were watching a comedy--a sight not soon forgotten. The appearance of Eunice (Marina Berti) is somewhat pointless but she is helpful in providing some comic relief (such as kissing the bust of her master) in a relatively serious tale. Leo Genn, Finlay Currie, Deborah Kerr, Rosalie Crutchley etc.) deliver splendid performances that elevate the core values of the film."Ben-Hur" will always be the greatest sword-and-sandal epic but if it hadn't been for precedents like "Quo Vadis" and "The Robe" it might never have been made. Well worth your money and your time.
Fine portrayal of the Diety's life.
King of Kings is a biblical epic produced by many of the same people responsible for the making of Ben-Hur. Although not quite as grand as it's predecessor, it hits the highlights of Jesus's ministry and explores the political climate of Israel.
Jeffrey Hunter (Christopher Pike, Star Trek) is serviceable in the leading role but the supporting actors are the real treat. Robert Ryan delivers a subtle but powerful performance as John the Baptist. While other movies portray him as a wild, raving fanatic (Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel of John) King of Kings suggests a more simple stoic character. My favorite scene is when Jesus hold his hand through the prison bars to free him from his doubts. Siobhan McKenna plays the Virgin Mary with sweetnesss and sympathy, Frank Thring (Pontius Pilate, Ben-Hur) a pompous, slow-witted Herod Antipas, Hurt Hatfield sutiably slimy as Pilate and Brigid Balzen (who could pass for Elizabeth Taylor's little sister) particulary good as the femme fatale Salome. The rest of the cast (Viveca Lindfords, lovely Carmen Sevilla, Rita Gam, Harry Guardino, Rip Torn etc.) deliver good strong performances that elevate the core virtues of the film.
Costumes and sets are lovely (especially the palaces) cienematography is above average and Miklos Rozsa presents a magnificent musical score incredibly similar to his Academy-winning Ben-Hur.
So why four stars? King of Kings spens a little too much time in Roman-Jewish politics while most of the teaching and miracles of Christ are told (rather than shown) from the perspective of others; it could have benefited from another half-hour to flesh out things like the woman at the well, the meeting with Nicodemus, the calming of the sea...etc.)
Still this is a good film that hits the higlights of Jesus' life and deserves to be included in the group of sword-and-sandal dramas who do their job well.
Great for it's day, which as you can tell was a long time ago.
When I first saw On the Waterfront, I missed the whole point; this is the sort of movie you have to see more than once to understand. It's certaintly not worth eight oscars (maybe three) but I can understand why it has garnered so much renown; it has a great story to work with.
The actors are all well-chosen for their parts and there are some interesting camera directions which suit the screenplay well. My favorite parts are when it shows high and low shots back and forth when Terry is trying to get Joey to come up on the roof to get his pigeon, when it focuses on Terry and Edie's faces when they're in the bar so you know exactly what's going on in their minds and when it jiggles at the end to show how Terry's vision is blurred after taking a beating from Johnny Friendly's sidekicks.
Marlon Brando is great as the charming bum, Terry whom Father Barry and Edie turn away from Johnny's influence. Eva Marie Saint looks classy and plays Terry's love interest with a strong sense of love, courage and integrity and Lee Cobb is sufficiently sinister as the corrupt union boss, Johnny Friendly.
My only quibble is the ending which struck me as a little unrealistic. Terry has been beaten black and blue, every rib cracked and yet Father Barry encourages him to go to work anyway to show Johnny that he's going to work like an honest man from now on instead of trying to stop him from exerting himself to death. He just fought Friendly to show him how proud he was of reporting him to the authorities so what more does he need to do to convince the crowd that he's a changed man?
Nevertheless, On the Waterfront is a good solid film with exemplary acting, great messages and a thought-provoking storyline.
Critique for the 2011 Jane Eyre: "Pallid, plodding and tepid."
This 2011 Jane Eyre is one big mistake. The sequence of events play out so swiftly they could been fast-forwarded. Yes, it has the usual assortment of characters (Mrs. Fairfax, Mr. Brocklehurst, Blanche Ingram, Mrs. Reed, Adele, etc.) but their parts are so ungratefully written it's a wonder the director decided to include them at all. To put old wine in the new wineskin, the film begins with Jane's flight from Thornfield followed by the refuge of the Rivers and a series of flashbacks but even that goes nowhere. The biggest flat, however, is the non-marriage. Mr. Briggs and Mr. Mason's discovery beforehand is left unexplained. Try as I did, I couldn't find a good reason for them to just 'pop up' and stop the wedding.
The performances are so deadpan the actors could well have been reading the newspaper. Jane (Mia Wasikowska) gently shakes Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbaender) and whispers "Wake up Mr. Rochester. Wake up." Mr. Rochester gets up and nonchalantly pulls the curtains down as if conflagaration were the most ordinary thing in the world. Even Mr. Rochester's explanation about Bertha seemed calm, cool and collected.
It seems as though the producers were trying to focus on the quieter, physicological aspects of the novel but they did so by extracting all the fire, flint and spark essential to a gothic romance.
This version is clumsy, ill-concieved and extremely boring.
Not perfect but better than the 1982 version.
The MGM Ivanhoe is a good example of the medival swashbucker. Sure, it's not without shortcomings--Athelstane and Ulrica do not appear and Rebecca is tried by Prince John instead of Lucas Beaumanoir--but it's a well-paced movie that hits the highlights of the novel and features far better production values than the 1982 remake.
Elizabeth Taylor looks gorgeous and plays Rebecca with a strong sense of love, courage and friendship. Joan Fontaine is lovely as Rowena (Lysette Anthony is the merest painted doll in comparision) and you don't wonder why Ivanhoe fell in love with her. Robert Taylor was a decent competent actor but never brilliant. (Why Richard Thorpe would cast an American in a sea of British actors is beyond me.) However, he does well in the battle sequences and proves a good masculine contrast to the effeminante-looking Anthony Andrews. Finlay Currie is grand as Lord Cedric, Emlyn Williams is a whimsical Wamba and Guy Rolfe is a truly nasty and crafty Prince John.
Not the best adaption of Sir Walter Scott's classic but still a very darn good one!