Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#125 Spartacus: I fought fire with oil

1960. dir. Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov.

Seen it before? Some of it. We watched it in World History class and Mr. Paris kept fast-forwarding the non-educational parts, i.e. most of it. So I probably saw 1/3 of this before.

Another big, 3-hour Roman epic. This came out a year after Ben-Hur and is comparable in scope and subject matter, so I guess comparisons are inevitable...

Protagonist: Kirk Douglas vs. Charlton Heston. These guys basically delivered the same performance, so it's a tie

Villain: Laurence Olivier vs. Stephen Boyd. Oh, this one is easy. Olivier by a mile.

Tacked-on love interest: Jean Simmons vs. Haya Harareet. I honestly don't remember anything about Harareet's performance. In six weeks, I don't think I'll remember Simmons either. Tie!

Score: Alex North vs. Miklos Rosza. North's work was okay, but Rosza is the clear winner here.

Gay subtext: The "snails and oysters" scene in Spartacus is gayer than anything in Ben-Hur, but not by much.

Big cool action scenes: Ben-Hur had the naval battle and the chariot race, both of which top anything here.

Oscars: Ben-Hur wins 11-4 in that department.

Position on the list: 241
Ben-Hur's position on the list: 142

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