Friday, April 26, 2013

The elusive gladiator …

… Pinning Down Spartacus by Mary Beard | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It is ironic, given the popular renown that the movie still has, that almost all of those involved came close to disowning it: Kubrick claimed that it was the only film he had made that he did not like (“it has everything but a good story,” he wrote—oddly, because that is one thing it does have); Fast thought the film did not live up to the radical implications of his own book; Trumbo was disappointed that the extraordinary successes of Spartacus were not given sufficient emphasis, and that the rebellion ended up seeming little more than a plucky jailbreak (he produced an eighty-page critical dissection of the first cut). Kirk Douglas alone appears to have been reasonably content with the way the finished product came close to his own vision of “Spartacus the slave, dreaming of the death of slavery, driving into the armor of Rome the wedge that would eventually destroy her.”

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