Friday, November 25, 2011

Alexander the Great (1956)

Director: Robert Rossen

Starring: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Danielle Darrieux, Barry Jones, Harry Andrews, Stanley Baker, Niall MacGinnis, Peter Cushing, Peter Wyngarde

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The colossus who conquered the world!

Plot: An epic film that follows the life of Alexander the Great, the macedonian king that united all ancient greek tribes and led them against the vast Persian Empire. Alexander conquered most of the then known world and created a greek empire that spanned all the way from the Balkans to India.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

This marks the second and final time I'll watch this. It's about how I remembered it from twenty years ago, slow with posturing Brits flapping their gums. Burton doesn't fare well as he has little emotion except for determination. I was surprised that he didn't give a more colorful performance. The rest of the cast does better but you really need a lead that does more than bark at people and brood. It was great seeing Peter Cushing for a short while and Mario Nascimbene's score is good. There are a few battle scenes but, while adequate for the time, some of the stage fighting is clumsy and weak. Pacing is the big problem. From what I've heard, the tales of his battles are epic and fascinating. Too bad they didn't focus on just one long enough to give us an idea what was involved. As the film approaches the end there's a voice-over that explains a multi-year gap concerning the conquests and expansion which then cuts to the final scant few minutes, enough time for his anticlimactic death scene. In all, it's quite the letdown.

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