Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Critiques: Spartacus.

As it turned out, the next film up on my project list was 1960's Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov and a very young Tony Curtis. Again, this was a viewing experience that I'm really glad to have had – Spartacus is one of those cast-of-thousands movies with a very palpable sense of its time, caught in the interim stages between a "big studio" DeMille-type movie and a more modern-day blockbuster. Some of the sets are delightfully fake, some of the background paintings look like something out of a stage production, but the scale of the film is really and truly fantastic. The "I am Spartacus!" scene, while legendary, did not disappoint, and the way Kubrick made both sides of the conflict sympathetic and intriguing was, of course, brilliantly well done. The only thing I didn't like was the overtly operatic four-minute overture at the beginning of nothing but music, and a similar pause at the intermission point in the middle. Contemporary audiences like me may find themselves glancing at their watches and contemplating the fast-forward button. Aside from that, though, very highly recommended.

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