silver screen legend

10

my top ten list of beautiful old hollywood actresses that were big in the 50′s :) (note that these are in no order whats so ever) :)

10-Elizabeth Taylor

9.Audrey Hepburn

8.Ava Gardner

7.Marilyn Monroe

6.Grace Kelly

5.Jane Russell

4.Kim Novak

3.Joan Collins

2.Jayne Mansifield

1.Sophia Loren

2

It is the 4th of July and that means Independence Day in the United States. I thought I would watch my favorite movie about fighting to be free, Spartacus (81). It is a great movie about a gladiator that frees himself and takes on Rome. Yes, it sounds familiar. Really familiar. But this movie is better and I will tell you why.

This movie has a great cast including Sir Lawrence Olivier and Kirk Douglas (number 14 and 17 actors on the AFI silver screen legends list). Douglas is the lead in this movie and a living legend in the film industry (he is alive and kicking at 98 years old). He has the strongest chin I have ever seen and is amazingly tough. He grew up poor as part of an immigrant family from Belarus in the 20s and made it through the Great Depression. Kirk Douglas worked with a blacklisted screenwriter (Donald Trumbo who was affiliated with the communist party) and gave him full credit for working on Spartacus. This effectively ended the effect of blacklisting, and ended the effect of the Red Scare in Hollywood. He and his son, Michael Douglas, were the people behind the scenes that brought One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to both stage and screen. He even lived through a helicopter crash in 1991 and a stroke in 1996. The guy is amazing.

The movie was paid for by Douglas, starred Douglas, and the director (Stanley Kubrick) was picked out by Douglas. All this would generally result in a mismanaged mess, but the man found good people that he trusted and let them do their thing. That is how a producer/manager is supposed to work and I respect that so much.

The story in the movie is based on the story of the actual Spartacus, a slave that escaped and took on Rome around 71 BCE. It is a historical epic, a movie with some historical accuracy but altered to fit Hollywood standards. I am not a fan of epics and I generally find some of the historical inaccuracies of movies like these to be annoying. This was not the case because the story was so good.

Things to look out for in the movie: Sir Lawrence Olivier played a bisexual character that talks about enjoying the taste of both snails and oysters. It is a very interesting scene that is very popular in the LGBT community. There were no CG effects in 1960 so there were thousands of extras hired to be soldiers in the battle scenes. At the end, all of the slaves are told they will be spared death on the cross if the turn of Spartacus and instead they all stand up saying only “I am Spartacus.” It is awesome and worth seeing the movie for that scene alone.

Spartacus, 1960, is a great movie starring a great guy. It is a good history lesson, it tested the boundaries of the political climate in movie making at the time, and it is epically exciting. Well worth watching for any movie fan.