The Oscar and Golden Globe winning movie “Spartacus” first released on 7 October 1960, which was over 50 years ago. Yet “The Rebel against Rome” which is what it is also called, is the perfect movie you could watch about a Revolution. The similarities it has with our Jan 25th Revolution are fascinating the conspiracy theories, the attempt to manipulate the Revolution so it could serve the good will of some sick and twisted minds that are devoured by their own love of Power, it’s all there.
Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), a Thracian slave, refuses to allow himself to become the animal the Roman civilization would have him be. His love for Varinia (Jean Simms), a slave girl, coupled with his revulsion at the crushing treatment and brutal murders of his fellow slaves ignite in his breast a passion for freedom. They escape and are joined by more runaways, and swell to become a v
st army. Contrasted with their impassioned plans for open rebellion are the cool, calculating minds of their Roman adversaries Crassus (Laurence Oliver), Gracchus (Charles Laughton) and Batiatus (Peter Ustinov) who won an Oscar for his part. The slaves’ cries for freedom and their challenge will be but a more diversion from the musty affairs of state. Therefore, in a chilling engagement, the superior military might of Rome proceeds to crush the army of Spartacus.
The movie had a lot of big Ego’s on the cast and crew, one of the most obvious is Actor Kirk Douglas who got the first director Anthony Mann fired with a two days notice because he disagreed with him but he didn’t get along easily with Stanley Kubrick either. They were both ditching each other behind closed doors in no time but the clash of giant egos proved fortuitous. Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay is sensational written during the Cold War and portrays modern-day politics, Trumbo made Ancient Rome more alive than ever dealing with virtues and ideals that were timeless. The music by Alex North is fulfilling and completely suits the atmosphere. The cinematography by Russell Metty won an Oscar which was quite ironic since he was complaining all through the movie that Kubrick was interfering in his work even asked for his name to be excluded from the crew!
Disregarding Antonius is wearing a Rolex watch and slaves are wearing wristwatches and sand shoes, and of course, the media considering the film Marxist Propaganda, the movie is brilliant. In so many ways Revolutions are all the same, all fighting the same injustice and all looking for the same lost Freedom. Spartacus is inspiring, just the movie we need to watch to keep the astonishing spirit of the revolution in the air.