Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sins of Rome (1953)

Original title: Spartaco

Director: Riccardo Freda

Writers: Maria Bory, Jean Ferry, Gino Visentini

Composer: Renzo Rossellini

Starring: Massimo Girotti, Ludmilla Tcherina, Yves Vincent, Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo Ninchi, Vittorio Sanipoli, Carlo Giustini, Umberto Silvestri, Teresa Franchini, Renato Baldini, Nerio Bernardi, Cesare Bettarini, Darix Togni

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Mighty Spectacle Drama!

Plot: 74 B.C. Spartacus, a young officer in the Roman Empire, is condemned to be a slave. Brought back to Roma in a gladiators' school, he escapes and stirs up all the slaves in a revolt against the Roman Empire.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

It's not a bad picture about Spartacus' slave revolt but it sure feels awfully light and condensed.  The version I saw was a poor VHS quality print with an English dub that runs a mere 75 minutes.  Obviously you need more time to tell a story of this magnitude.  We only spend a few minutes with Spartacus in gladiator school and then it's off to free some slaves where the second half of the picture spends its time.  The acting is stagy and majestic; over the top by today's standards but par for the course back then and it being a Sword and Sandal (peplum) picture, it's completely justified.   I don't really hold that against it.  There are all kinds of things that could've made this better like seeing a longer cut, in the original Italian AND seeing a much cleaner, brighter print.  My rating is purely for what I saw.  Having seen SPARTACUS (1960) many times (and in super 70 in a theater - WOW!), it's really hard not to conjure up images of that film while watching any and every telling of the story that came before or after.  That film is magnificent and I doubt there will be a picture that will best it.  I'm getting off the path.  It was neat seeing a tale of Spartacus I'd never seen and one that pre-dates the 1960 one and made by Italians where they would soon rule the world a few years later regarding Sword and Sandal movies.

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