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THE SILVER CHALICE - why the disrespect?


papyrusbeetle
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I admit, I had never seen this movie, recently shown on TCM.

It's always listed as one of the worst films ever made.

So, as a I watched the beginning and end of it on the wide-screen at my Laundromat (which gets TCM!), I was stunned.

It was gorgeous. Interesting. Enthralling. Filled with stars, and quite nice "ancient" sets and costumes.

Of course, I just watched the first scenes of the main character as a boy (before Paul Newman appears in that star role) and the very last ones (Jack Palance up on the tower, misc. riots and killings).

I have no idea what happened before the first and the last segments, but it kind of looked interesting.

But except for the fact that it was pretty WILD, it looked like a fascinating film, sword and sandal genre.

 

Any experts on this movie? Haters? Admirers?

thanks for your opinions!

 

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Paul Newman disliked his work so much he apologized in a full-page ad in the trade papers.  The Christians, even married ones, are celibate and the chalice looks more like a decorated anchor.  It's not bad but Jack Palance hams it up too much and Virginia tries too hard to vamp it up.  Okay for a few hours entertainment.

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Any experts on this movie? Haters? Admirers?

thanks for your opinions!

I'm no expert and I'm neither an admirer nor a hater, but this movie has always fascinated me because it's such a puzzle. Given the storyline and the cast, it could have worked so much better than it did. I think that Warner's just didn't give it much attention. The whole thing has a half-finished look, in the same way that cartoons around that time were becoming crudely roughed-out versions of what in earlier days were much more detailed characters and backgrounds. "The Silver Chalice" has that same scaled-back kind of feel. That one big "epic" set with all the tiers of statues is otherwise just a big empty space, and if you look at the statues you see that there are really only a few which are repeated over and over, like the trees and houses in the background which get repeated over and over when characters run in the cartoons I mentioned. The marketplace where the metalworker has his stall/shop is just a stylized sketch of a set too, more suitable for a high school play then an epic film. I'm trying to remember now if there were any actual outdoor scenes, because all I remember is the claustrophobic, set-bound feel of most of it. The color scheme (or lack of it) is a problem too; the pale colors and spare furnishings may have worked just fine in the producer's home in the Hollywood hills, but you need more oomph in this kind of film. The MGM equivalent of this film I think is "The Prodigal" with Lana Turner, where the sets are just that much more detailed and colorful, so that you don't feel as deprived as you do with "The Silver Chalice". It's a movie full of short-cuts, which may have reflected the fact that Warner's was poised to move heavily into television production. It definitely seems like a movie/TV hybrid to me.

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