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Best Movies Set in Rome
#31
Hi Graham,

Quote:how do you suddenly turn the Romans into the good guys

I take your point, although in Ben Hur I don't get the impression that the Romans are bad, because we later encounter Quintus Arrius - his adoptive Roman father. We also get a favorable view of the Romans - ironically enough- from Pontius Pilate when he gave his final speech to Ben Hur about "where ever there's great power....error is also great". Great scene, IMO.

Quote:Romans into the good guys not only to an established audience but to a younger 60's audience who view Imperialism with the establishment. Simple make the empire through Marcus Aurelius promise equality for all "wherever they live, whatever the colour of their skin".

Yeah, that part made the movie appear dated from my perspective.

Quote:It IS probably the most accurate Hollywood version of Ancient Rome ever made to date not appreciated at the time

Oh, no disagreement here. It's worth owning. I just think it's the most tragic film in Hollywood history because it had everything it needed to become a hit - plenty of extras, top billed actors (though not enough talent in the lead roles), lavish exterior and interior sets, costumes...but in spite of it all, the movie flopped. The blame ultimately lies with the director. But you believe it would've bombed anyway because the public had had enough of epics ? Maybe, but it could've at least done better at the box office, IMO.

Quote:Another irony Jaime is that Tiomkin's score was actually nominated for an Oscar!

Not really, because there isn't anything wrong with the music in and of itself. It's just incongruous to what we see on the screen.

Quote:Loren is probably the main non British actor unless you count Plummer, actually Canadian as non-British so there were not many non-British actors in major roles.

IMO, Loren was better in El Cid. Yes, I know about Plummer's Canadian roots, but he still didn't give a very good performance, I thought. Maybe the script was just too poorly written - but he's a good actor, IMO. Yep, Mason and Quinn were always great Smile Spartacus, Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, FOTRE...

Quote:I am not sure Spanish troops were used in Cleopatra but I will check.

They're in the openning scene when the Caesarians are burning the Pompeian dead. That's it though. BUT you may recall that one third of the movie was discarded because late in the game someone decided to make it a 4 hour film instead of two 3 hour films ! So much was lost - most of it battle oriented scenes I suspect. Sad cry:

That's another example of a director or producer wanting to adapt a film to appeal to younger audiences. Big mistake. Stone did it with "Alexander" too. Arrghh...they never learn :evil: .
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
Fathers of the Church
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#32
Quote:They're in the openning scene when the Caesarians are burning the Pompeian dead. That's it though. BUT you may recall that one third of the movie was discarded because late in the game someone decided to make it a 4 hour film instead of two 3 hour films ! So much was lost - most of it battle oriented scenes I suspect.

Not too sure about that. However that particular scene was added later because there were no big land battle scenes in the film and the studios thought there should be, That is why Burton who was unavailable by then is missing and the character of Canidius, Andrew Faulds introduced instead. Amazing they actually ran out of money when it came to do battles (apart from Actium) which is why Burton takes on the whole Roman army single handed. Note however that most of the whole Roman Army are on the skyline. Plus no action scenes at Pharsalus either. One also suspects that action scenes were not director Mankiewicz' forte note the blink and you will miss it battle he also did in Julius Caesar!

I think even more than FOTRE Cleopatra was one of the greatest lost opportunities in cinema history. It could have been a legendary classic but in spite of everything ever said about it being one of the most costliest flops ever made it did eventually make its money back!

Quote:We also get a favorable view of the Romans - ironically enough- from Pontius Pilate when he gave his final speech to Ben Hur about "where ever there's great power....error is also great". Great scene, IMO.

Quite right. Frank Thring was always superb as a villain!!!

Quote:although in Ben Hur I don't get the impression that the Romans are bad,

Perhaps not some Romans but Rome..... "is strangling the earth, when she falls there will be a cry of freedom the like of which has never been heard" or something along those lines. A bit different to being "like a mighty tree with green leaves and black roots"!

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#33
I agree with most said, maybe not with the Stephen Boyd comment. His performance in "Ben Hur" and several other films (The Bravados, for example) show that he was a good actor. The part is just really poorly written, and I don't think Charlton Heston would have been any better in it (he might have been even more ridiculous in this part, me thinks, which really only asks for a "handsome, upright" Roman general, who is really dumb in his support of Commodus, I might add...). Can you imagine Heston coming pack from patrol and asking "Is Lucilla here?" and smiling in anticipation? Makes me cringe, I really don't think he would've been any better in this than Boyd. The two leads are really the main problem of FOTRE, Loren is miscast and her part is badly written as well, although I do like her monologue when she pushes her way through the Roman "carneval" crowd towards the end of the movie. But to me, it's still the best Roman movie to date.
By the way, I totally disagree that Oliver Stone catered to the young crowd with his interpretation of Alex. I am absolutely positive that that's how he sees Alex. Whatever you think about that movie, his dedication to historical accuracy is pretty rare in Hollywood. What a weird movie that one is, too. Failed and flawed in many ways, but on what a scale!
Aka
Christoph
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#34
Thanks for the movie trivia, Graham. I'm pretty sure that the Pharsalia scene was shot in Spain. If not, maybe the Spanish scenes didn't make the final cut.

I agree about Cleopatra. It's good, IMO, but it could've been great.

Quote:Frank Thring was always superb as a villain!!!

Also in "El Cid". And "The Vikings" Big Grin

Quote:Perhaps not some Romans but Rome..... "is strangling the earth, when she falls there will be a cry of freedom the like of which has never been heard" or something along those lines. A bit different to being "like a mighty tree with green leaves and black roots"!

Hmm...maybe the truth is somewhere in between :wink: But yeah, Ben Hur is anti-Roman, though perhaps not as overtly so as some other films.

Hi Niedal,

Quote:I agree with most said, maybe not with the Stephen Boyd comment

He's capable of delivering good performances (e.g. Ben Hur) but they don't come from any natural talent or training. Anyone can give a good acting performance if you shoot 40 takes until you get it right. With Stephen Boyd, it's like pulling teeth.

My opinion of Boyd is based on Charlton Heston's commentary from the Ben Hur DVD (not the new release). Heston said Wyler (the director) really had to work at it with Boyd. FOTRE made me believe it.

Quote:The part is just really poorly written, and I don't think Charlton Heston would have been any better in it

As Graham said, Heston turned it down (which was smart, IMO.) He knows a bad script when he reads one. Heston's body of work (and acting) is the most impressive when it comes to epic films, IMO.

Quote:But to me, it's still the best Roman movie to date.

Judging it purely as a film, I disagree. If you're watching it as serious entertainment, you're likely to be disappointed. That's why it bombed (or one major reason anyway.)

Quote:By the way, I totally disagree that Oliver Stone catered to the young crowd with his interpretation of Alex. I am absolutely positive that that's how he sees Alex

I am too, but I think Stone felt confident he could draw in more young viewers if he made Alex the way he wanted to. Maybe he suceeded, but it was at the expense of drawing in older viewers. Result = Bomb !

Quote:Failed and flawed in many ways, but on what a scale!

Sorta like Napoleon - a glorious failure :wink:
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
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#35
'The Fall of the Roman Empire' does also have one of the few movies scenes of mass pila fire.

Los
Los

aka Carlos Lourenco
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#36
Quote:Not a movie, but the recent HBO/BBC series "Rome" was as good as I've seen. Plus I have also have a fondness for "The Life of Brian":

Romanes Eunt Domus!

rkmvca / Rich Klein Big Grin

Could not agree more.
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Daniel
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#37
Quote:
rkmvca1:128nj5c2 Wrote:Not a movie, but the recent HBO/BBC series "Rome" was as good as I've seen. Plus I have also have a fondness for "The Life of Brian":
Romanes Eunt Domus!
rkmvca / Rich Klein Big Grin
Could not agree more.
Indeed! Brilliant stuff, also as the best parody on world religions, separatist groups and UFO's. Big Grin
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#38
WOW thanks for all the suggestions every one. I am going to be busy as soon as I get some free time to watch theseSmile
Patrick Lawrence

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#39
Call me a heathen but Gladiator is my favorite Roman film. Followed by Ben Hur. I was raised on classic movies but I didn't like Fall of the Roman Empire. Sure it had a great set but that's not enough for me to like it. Historical innaccuracies don't bother me to a certain extant. Nothing in Gladiator, Braveheart bothered me. However, when a movie is poorly made then I pick out the innaccuracies and add them to the reasons why I don't like the movie (ie King Arthur).
Michael Paglia
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#40
Michael Paglia wrote:

Quote:Call me a heathen but Gladiator is my favorite Roman film.

Well you asked for it then....HEATHEN!!!!! Big Grin

Quote:I didn't like Fall of the Roman Empire.

HEATHEN!!!! :wink:

Quote:Nothing in Gladiator, Braveheart bothered me.

It should have!!! :lol: Braveheart especially, cracking music though!

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#41
Michael, I'm in almost 100% agreement with everything you said, except I would put Ben Hur at 1st place then Gladiator :wink: We share the same philosophy when it comes to watching these films 8)

Hi Graham,

I viewed FOTRE the other day and was impressed with the Persian Cataphracts Confusedhock: . And there were many of them. They looked like leather scales, but hey, I know of no other movie that shows Cataphracts Big Grin

At the end of FOTRE, who were those men in black, flagellating themselves ? I thought that was a medieval practice :roll:

BTW, Graham, did you get my PM ? I sent it the other day.
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
Fathers of the Church
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#42
What is FOTRE?

In my language (Catalan), FOTRE is a bad word... Confusedhock:
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Ivan Perelló
[size=150:iu1l6t4o]Credo in Spatham, Corvus sum bellorum[/size]
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#43
Hi, Faventianvs.

FOTRE is just an acronym I and others use to refer to the movie "[size=150:1zmcitjf]F[/size]all [size=150:1zmcitjf]O[/size]f [size=150:1zmcitjf]T[/size]he [size=150:1zmcitjf]R[/size]oman [size=150:1zmcitjf]E[/size]mpire." It just gets tiresome to write such a lengthy title over and over again Smile
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
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#44
Ivan wrote:

Quote:What is FOTRE?

Hi Ivan

It is short for 'Fall of The Roman Empire'.

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#45
Don't you mean FOTWRE??
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Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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