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The Fall Of The Roman Empire [Blu-ray]
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One of the great screen epics, director Anthony Mann's Oscar®-nominated The Fall of the Roman Empire comes to Blu-ray for the first time in this digitally remastered deluxe edition. The all-star cast includes Academy Award® winners Alec Guinness and Sophia Loren with Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and Omar Sharif. Drawn from the same events that later inspired Gladiator, the film charts the power-hungry greed and father-son betrayal that led to Rome's collapse at the bloody hands of the Barbarians. Featuring great sets, fine acting, and thundering battle scenes (Videohound's Movie Guide) plus a blistering chariot race rivalling that in Ben-Hur, this is a must-see epic full of the gore and glories of ancient Rome (Channel 4).
The second and last of Anthony Mann's historical epics is a smart, handsome spectacle of the decadence, corruption and intrigue that tore apart the Roman empire. The sprawling story spreads itself thin over a number of characters and stories. At the centre are handsome but stiff Stephen Boyd as Livius, the loyal soldier and symbolic son of the ageing emperor Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guinness), and Christopher Plummer as Commodus, the corrupt heir to the throne. They are boyhood friends turned enemies when the latter accedes to the throne and sells out the values of his father for greed and hedonistic pleasures. The three-hour running time is filled out with the tales of Sophia Loren (as the beautiful Lucilla in love with Livius but coveted by greedy Commodus) and a gallery of heroes and villains that includes James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, John Ireland, Omar Sharif and Eric Porter. The film is highlighted with spectacular scenes--a grandiose funeral fit for an emperor, brutal battles in the provinces as the barbarians threaten the empire, and a climactic duel to decide the destiny of Rome--which Mann weaves into the shadowy intrigue of the halls of power. Like his previous epic El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire remains one of the best of the 1960s epics: well written with strong performances and a consistently elegant style, but lacking the central core and magnetic hero of its superior predecessor. Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000) tackles almost the same story with a more crowd-pleasing action-adventure slant. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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The only issue I was bitterly disappointed was that the blu ray version did NOT carry English subtitles - subtitles are a must for any blu ray issue, because most of the viewers of old classic movies are senior citizens who are often hard of hearing and cannot follow the dialogue distinctly. I have a Korean copy of this movie which has English subtitles. I was planning to discard that copy, but now, I'll have to retain it.
The blu ray version actually deserves a 5 star rating, but because of the lack of this basic requirement (subtitles), I a compelled to reduce my rating to 3 stars.
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