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pandorainmay

Ancient Times Tales

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Admit it: you were one of those kids who watched Steve Reeves' movies on the Four O'clock Movie--aping his moves on the playground and laughing at the dubbing, but enjoying it all. Here's a spot to 'fess up to an interest in the sword and sand epics, from "Demetrius and the Gladiators" to "Gladiator".

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THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE with Alec Guinness as Marcus Aurelius and Christopher Plummer as Commodus, is an epic film on a grand scale, and without computer generated special effects. It is somewhat similar to GLADIATOR, involving many of the same historical figures, but with better actors portraying them!

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Giant of Metropolis is a good sci-fi sword and sandal movie about a strong man who gets involved in the sinking of Atlantis.

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I've always liked "Fall of the Roman Empire." Christopher Plummer was very good as Commodus. I've had the good fortune of seeing it on the big screen twice. Both at the Cleveland Museum of Art, oddly enough.

 

"The 300 Spartans" is a very good epic from the early Sixties as well. It has a bit of a Cold War overtone to the dialogue, but the battle scenes are well done. I guess the story of Thermopylae is the subject of an upcoming movie (I forget the title because I only saw the ad once) that almost looks black and white (I guess it is in the "Sin City" style.)

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What was the title to the 1950's Soviet produced Sinbad movie? I caught this late one night a year or two back and thought it was funny that Sinbad and all the other Persians in Baghdad were blonde and blue eyed. Other than that it looked like a good movie.

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Look forward to "300" a CGI remake of "The 300 Spartans" by Ron Miller, the graphic artist who did "Sin City." The trailer looks interesting. I suppose CGI is the way you have to make epic films these days.

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CGI is used mostly because it's cheaper (for the most part) and that the filmmakers are either too lazy to put together a real epic or they are pressured by the studios to make a release date that they feel it's faster to use CGI rather than cast a hundred extras or whatever the epic requires. Though CGI is usually overdone with armies that are so crowded that there is no realistic way for them to move about much less fight a war. A funnier example would be "The Mummy Returns" with it huge CGI armies and yet when the war is over there are no dead bodies on the ground or wounded people wandering around or even the slightest trace of blood. It would be nice if filmmakers would get back to making real movies rather than boring copies of videogames.

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was it "Sinbad and the Caliph of Baghdad?" or maybe the "Magic Voyage of Sinbad." My favorite one of the Sinbad films was the one with Patrick Wayne as Sinbad. (Eye of the Tiger) but I have to admit I've enjoyed every one of them.

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I wouldn't term the historical period of Morgan the Pirate "ancient"...that adjective usually applies to BC (BCE) For film purposes I'd be willing to stretch that up to,but not including, the medieval period, say about 900 AD (CE)

But if you truly like "ancient films" some good ones not often seen are:

The Pharaoh's Woman

I, Semiramis

Revolt of the Slaves

Sword of the Empire

Fabiola

A Queen for Caesar

Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile

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Yes, I liked Clash of the Titans. The effects were well done (espec. the Harpies) but that metallic owl was just so blasted d u m b! Perseus wasn't bad but Andromeda left a lot to be desired. Enjoyed Maggie Smith and Burgess Meredith..but Olivier seemed to be sleepwalking thru his scenes.

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