Alexander the Great
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- Original theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
To write about Greek or Roman history/heros with all the factions and diverse warring rulers of those times is tedious at best. And a hard subject to put into a screenplay, to breathe the least. However this is a literate screenplay and all the players are mentioned, just a bit hard to follow unless you've read your Will Durant. Not just another popcorn flick.
No, I just want to say that if anyone is thinking of buying this DVD, I don't think you'd be disappointed, providing you love all the Hollywood epics of the 50's. If you do you may want this one too! Not the spectacle of Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, King of Kings or the pagentry of Cleopatra, but a worthy entry none the less. Matte paintings used in all aforementioned used here as well, but not as many. The Babalonian City is extraordinary and enough glass paintings to convey an epic, unlike the claustrophobic Spartacus. The sets are somewhat meger, like Spartacus, but what lacks there is made up for in the use of Technicolor and Cinemascope and the absolutely remarkable and stunning wardrobe. This is a terrific transfer and will look even better on your 16 x 9 HDTV! The 480 that DVD's put out look as though you might reach for that goblet on wine on the table.
Spain seems to double well for Greece and Persia and although the battles were not of the rousing kind, one over looks this as a trade off to the overall movie.Read more ›
That said, the film is . . . well, what it is. You can't go back and remake this particular version with this cast. So, we're stuck with making the best tranfer we can with what we've got.
I heard that Burton disclaimed his performance because he so strongly disagreed with Robert Rossen's approach. He was probably right. You can see patches of a potentially good film, but Rossen's approach (plodding and episodic), with rough, patchy editing, destroys what vision he may have started with. Characters come and go so frequently that it's hard to keep up without a playbill in your lap. This is because Rossen told Alexander's ENTIRE life story, from birth to death. That's a lot of history, not to mention people, to absorb in just over 2 hours.
Very good actors are given only limited screen time. These seasoned character actors do the best with what they've got, but writer Rossen generally gives them only a thumb-nail sketch of their characters, people who are central to Alexander's life. I get the sense that this is the Reader's Digest version of a much longer movie.
Also, every scene feels exactly like the previous one. Rossen's direction is simple, mechanical and workman-like.Read more ›
Written, directed and produced by Robert Rossen, it has some excellent dialogue, overall fine acting, and of course, battle sequences with 1001 extras. There is also quite a bit of "beefcake", but not many who are ready for the bare chest exposure, including Burton, whose abs are almost absent, and many of the extras are flabby and rotund, and hard to imagine are warriors.
Shot on location in Spain, the cinematography by Robert Krasner, in typical '50s vibrant Technicolor, is wonderful. Claire Bloom is beautiful as Barsine, a dark and hairy, savage and quite unrecognizable Frederick March is terrific as Philip of Macedon, Harry Andrews is a good Darius, and Danielle Darrieux is Alexander's crafty mother. Others of note in the cast are Stanley Baker as Attalus, and Peter Cushing as Memnon.
Though flawed, this is a film that can be viewed repeatedly, for its well written scenes, Burton's acting, and a smattering of history as well, which is condensed and altered to fit the Hollywood format, but has some basis in truth; it is also fascinating to note that if one listens carefully, one will hear things reminiscent of recent news stories; history seems to be a wheel that is ever turning, and for the brief time that Alexander was in power, he would say "The world is my domain, and my mission is to rule it and rebuild it".
Total running time is 136 minutes, and the DVD extra is the original theatrical trailer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit corny but quite engaging, once I got over the sight of Richard Burton in a blond wig. A silly romantic rivalry in parallel with the military confrontation with Memnon of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by physics student
Movie okay (50's style). But we only watched a few minutes as sound wasn't good, although actors spoke fairly clearly. No closed captions, which we needed, so gave up.Published 16 months ago by Ellie
Got this to watch with my nine-year-old, to augment her world history class. Am glad I did. This mid-twentieth century production is not infected with modern Hollywood's sick... Read morePublished 17 months ago by jdc, sr.
In this 2-hour & 16-minute, 1956, single, DVD-disc, is a portrayal of a historical human figure, that was taught by a conniving, superstitious, mother who actually thought... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Nina Kish
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