joi, 6 iulie 2017

Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Dalton Trumbo based on the novel by Howard Fast, 9 out of 10

Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Dalton Trumbo based on the novel by Howard Fast
9 out of 10

Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:

-          I am Spartacus! No, I am Spartacus

This is one of the most famous lines in the history of cinema, along with “you can’t handle the truth”; I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse” and others.

The director of Spartacus is himself part of the history of motion pictures, as one of the best movie makers:

-          2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb are among the best films ever made

Spartacus is also included on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:

It is about the screenwriter that I have some qualms.
Winner of two Academy Awards and other important prizes, Dalton Trumbo was definitely a very gifted story teller.

Nevertheless, his belonging to the Communist party does not make him endearing, on the contrary, it makes him rather unlikeable.
Yes, I have just seen the film about his life and suffering as a creator on the black list, which obstructed his fundamental rights.

Yet, I have lived under the communist regime and I know what it means, in spite of what leftists imagined.
It is living with permanent terror, in a regime much like the one described in Spartacus, only tolerated millennia later.

-          What am I saying, not just tolerated, with the modern day slavery that it involved, but promoted by the likes of Trumbo, alas

The cast of the film is spectacular:

-          Kirk Douglas-who seems to have been involved in producing the film, bringing Trumbo on board and then insisting that he is listed as the writer, even if that was dangerous for the film-Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis and last but not least, Peter Ustinov- who won the Academy Awards for his role

The narrative is one of the most famous and exhilarating of all time, with the gladiators and especially at the center.
In 73 BCE, the Roman Empire was near its peak, occupying most of the territory of the known world or engaged with people controlling the rest.

As the joke on the romans, in what is perhaps the best comedy ever produced, in spite of all the controversy it generated- Life of Brian- has it:

-          “ Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
-          PFJ Member: Brought peace?
-          Reg: Oh, peace? SHUT UP!”

The dark side of the Roman Empire was slavery and the fight to death of the gladiators, for the fun of the crowd.

Spartacus leads a revolt that shakes the foundations of the empire, if only briefly and in a limited area.
The story has all the ingredients of a fabulous, phenomenal drama, with expert fighting, moral issues and philosophical questions.

One of the best and very famous scenes in cinema involves the punishment of the slaves and the loyalty they prove for their leader…
One after the other fighters claim that they are Spartacus and not the others, just to take the blame on him and spare the real leader.

Great film.

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