If you think you’ve seen Spartacus, it’s time to watch it again. The last time I saw it was on television during the ‘70s. It had been heavily edited to fit a two-hour time slot. When films were being selected in the ‘90s for restoration, it was discovered that not one complete print of Spartacus existed. Thankfully, many of those involved in the original production were still alive and participated in its restoration. One scene is still missing and is lost to the ages except for the sound recording. Watching the restored Spartacus was a treat. I relished all of the scenes I’d not witnessed before. Characters took on a new depth. The slave revolt on which Spartacus is based occurred over two thousand years ago, so a fair amount of creative license was used in the production of this movie. Still, all of the main players in this film were highly talented actors, each doing their best. Rather than outshining each other, they brought a living glow to the film. Peter Ustinov’s supporting actor Oscar win for his role as an obeisant slave merchant was highly deserved. His willingness to bend to money was not the only delicious portrayal of Roman society. Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton’s adversarial roles in the Roman senate gave a fair representation of Rome as well. And I encourage you to see the three-hour restored version of Spartacus for the excellent screenwriting by Dalton Trumbo. Whether it was a commentary on his Hollywood blacklisting or something deeper, you can decide.
Received four Academy Awards.