The Royal Hunt of the Sun
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Based on the play of the same name by noted British playwright Peter Shaffer, THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN recounts the spiritual and intellectual battle over gold, freedom, trust, friendship and God building to a boil between the Inca King and living-God Atahualpa (Christopher Plummer) and Spanish explorer Pizarro (Robert Shaw).
The film was magnificently filmed on location in South America, with a masterful, intelligent screenplay and superb acting. Shaw, as usual, gives a riveting performance, but Plummer's simmering portrayal of hate, love and confusion screams even louder than the blood curdling cries of Incas slaughtered by Pizarro's conquistadors across the dusty landscape.
Two cultures, worlds apart in language and tradition but eerily similar, each rival doomed by his own basic nature – blinding bigotry and undying belief in his own spiritual supremacy.
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Can anyone assure me that either of the other two releases is worth having? This one I'm throwing out.
Christopher Plummer does an excellent job as the Inca King Atahuallpa, appearing trim, slim, dark, and athletic. His slender tall frame is that of a ballet dancer and thus is perfect for the other-worldly Athahuallpa. Robert Shaw is at his best as Pizzaro. He is a bundle of masculine enterprise, an agent for state and church and self. These two figures are meant for each other, or at least Athahuallpa was meant for Pizzaro to awaken hidden doubts and unquestioned concepts and repressed emotions - of course Athahuallpa is destroyed in the process. Shaw and Plummer bring a slight bit of homoeroticism to the play, actually strengthening its many layers of meaning. The film reveals that 17th century Spanish Catholic explorers were exploitive and the implication is that the church and the state play a major role in this exploitation. The screenplay is vivid and intellectually challenging.
The film quality is a bit poor with jumpy editing that even cuts dialogue short. This was distracting since the dialogue was strong.