By the Gods!

Christopher Plummer, as Commodus, in a dual to the death with Stephen Boyd in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964)

This scene is great. Brilliantly executed (if a bit too short). The design and camerawork are tops. A great ending to, imo, a clearly uneven film. When released, the Anthony Mann directed movie was a major box office dud. I don't necessarily blame it on the quality of the final product (even if at 3 hours it was overlong) but having been released right after the equally overlong CLEOPATRA (1963), moviegoers' interest in stories set in Antiquity greatly diminished because of the Elizabeth Taylor epic. Both films were a one-two punch that finally killed the PEPLUM craze.

I hope you enjoyed this week's profile on THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. I'll be making more of 'weekly profiles' in the future.

2 comments:

Scott Ochiltree said...

As you have noted, THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE and CLEOPATRA marked end of the Peplum era.

Similarly the poor reception of KING OF KINGS (1961) was effectively the end of big budget Hollywood religious movies.

To the extent that this religious genre included Romans it can be viewed as a distant cousin of Peplums.

I wish you would resume blog postings on Fridays. Recycling previous posts from several years ago would be perfectly fine.

Amy K. said...

Not often remarked upon but Gladiator is a remake of this movie in many respects. I like that movie more but Plummer is terrific and I dig the all too realistic ending.