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Enrico Guazzoni – Agrippina (1911)

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It’s another one of Guazzoni’s ancient dramas, this time about Agrippina, the mother of Nero. After she manages to make him emperor of Rome, he finds her a nuisance.
Sadly she is immune to poison and sinking her ship didn’t kill her either – she simply swam ashore. In the end a sword through her stomach did the trick: Few people are immune to that.
Actually not all of the above features in the film… Basically Nero’s just cross because mamma doesn’t like his new mistress. Read More »

Veljko Bulajic – Bitka na Neretvi AKA The Battle of Neretva (1969)

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Quote:
In 1943, Hitler orders the final destruction of the Yugoslav Partisans. The Partisans begin a trek northward to the relative safety of the Bosnian Mountains – their goal is to cross the treacherous Neretva gorge over one remaining bridge. Along the way, they battle German tanks, Italian infantry, Chetnik Cavalry, strafing airplanes, disease and natural elements.

Yugoslav director Bulajic is telling his story from all points of view, but his sympathies lie with the Partisans. The film has pro-Communist leanings, and tells several interwoven stories stressing the importance of comradeship in wartime. There are many important characters: Yul Brynner (“Morituri”) as crack demolition expert Vlado; Sergei Bondarchuk (director of “Waterloo”) as short-tempered artillery officer Martin; Franco Nero (“The Mercenary”) as an Italian Captain with no faith in Fascism; Hardy Kruger (“A Bridge too Far”) as Colonel Kranzer, who fights with dedication which begins to dwindle as he realizes the bitter reality that the partisans are a formidable enemy; Ljubisa Samardzic (“Battle of the Eagles”) and Sylva Koscina (“Hornets’ Nest”) are brother-and-sister, and Koscina is to marry Ivan (Lojze Rozman) after the war; the list goes on and on, and although every character is significant, it’s impossible to list them all. There’s an interesting twist, too: the legendary Orson Welles plays a Chetnik Senator who battles for concessions with General Lohring (the great Curd Jurgens), a commited Nazi officer who is determined the wipe out the Partisans once and for all. Read More »

Kenneth Branagh – Hamlet (1996)

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Storyline

Hamlet, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father’s funeral and his mother’s wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot–the most complicated and most interesting in all literature–he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the “prime minister,” love and then unlove an innocent whom he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on stage, including his own and his mother’s. Written by John Brosseau Read More »

Abel Gance – Napoleon [Brownlow restoration, +Extras] (1927)

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TCM Review :
The story behind Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) is as exciting as the film. A masterpiece adventure originally running nearly seven hours, it breaks new ground with practically every shot, was filmed with techniques twenty-five years ahead of its time, and was rescued from oblivion by an obsessed teenager.

French director Abel Gance conceived an ambitious plan to film the life of the famous French leader in the early 1920s and, during a trip to America, even sought out D.W. Griffith to get his blessing for the project. Six feature films were to have presented a comprehensive biography of Napoleon but after a two-year struggle, Gance only succeeded in completing the first film before he ran out of money and time. Read More »

Franco Zeffirelli – Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

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Description: “Jesus of Nazareth” is by far the most detailed movie on the life of Christ. I remember when it first aired on TV back in April of 1977. That was the week of my wedding and I remember watching it with my new bride on our honeymoon. Because of it’s length and as a mini series it was able to cover most all the events in Jesus’s life. There are many scenes and which I would say are some of my favorites but by far the best scene in the whole movie is when Earnest Borgnine, playing a Roman Centurian, approaches Jesus with a request that he heal a servant of his. A servant he loves as a son. Jesus says he will go to his home. The Centurian says that it won’t be necessary since Jesus is a Jew and can’t come into a Gentiles home. All Jesus has to do is give the word and he knows that Jesus would heal his servant. Jesus says that he has found no greater faith in all Israel than that of this Centurian. Although there were some artistic interpretations in the movie, they are so very few it isn’t worth mentioning. I have seen the “Passion of the Christ” and I feel it is a very powerful movie on the last week of Christ, but it is so intense. I have to give “Jesus of Nazareth” the highest rating possible. (buttuglybiker – IMDB). Read More »

Enrico Guazzoni – Agrippina (1911)


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Summary:
After the death of Claudius, Agrippina announced Nero the heir to the throne, which leads to despair of the true heir – Brittanicus.
Not daring to oppose Agrippina, Senators declare Nero the emperor.
Agrippina is against of an affair of Nero and Poppaea.
Agrippina threaten Nero that if he neglect his wife Octavius, she will give the throne to Brittanicus.
The threats of Agrippina had their effect. Brittanicus is poisoned.
Perversity of Nero is insatiable and he gives his trusted man, Anicetus a terrible order.
Agrippina is looking for salvation, but the indomitable hatred of Emperor Nero decides the fate of Agrippina… Read More »

Theodoros Angelopoulos – O megalexandros AKA Alexander the Great (1980)

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from allmovie:
Director Theodoros Anghelopulos has created a clever vehicle for conveying the substance of this award-winning political drama. He uses the acting techniques of Greek tragedy, such as formal posturing and long-held camera shots, as well as symbolism right out of classical Greek plays, to put across his parallel to Alexander the Great. This new Alexander is a “bandit” who escapes from prison in 1900 and starts fighting the government. He kidnaps some British aristocrats to hold them as ransom against amnesty for himself and his men. When he returns with his hostages to his native village, he and the local ruling schoolteacher have a go-around on how the town is to be run. — Eleanor Mannikka Read More »