Title: Spartacus
Year: 1960
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writer: Dalton Trumbo, based on the novel by Howard Fast
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov
Music: Alex North
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Ustinov), Best Cinematography (color), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (color) and Best Costume Design (color); Oscar nominations for Best Score and Best Editing; currently #238 on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: ancient Roman slave revolt
How I saw it: on video (rented from the library, I think), September 2008
Subjective Rating: 4/10 (Eh).
Objective Rating: 5/10 (gets points for characters, dialog, special effects/design, acting and music) c. 2.5/4 (Okay).

Boring. Trumbo’s adaptation is poorly crafted. There are a lot of potentially great ideas (like the “I am Spartacus” bit) ruined by clunky writing. The cinematography isn’t bad, but it’s bad for Kubrick. I don’t like the music for the most part, but the bit leading up to the battle wins me over.


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