Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)

This is a proof that having Merian C. Cooper produce, Ernest B. Schoedsack direct, Willis O'Brien supervising the special effects and Ruth Rose doing the wiring means a good movie. Because The Last Days of Pompeii is probably the most boring version of this historical events, and it's not until the last ten minutes there's something good, or even fantastic.

Preston Foster (who bears a strange resemblance to an american comedian, and I don't know who!) plays the gentle blacksmith Marcus. He's proud and he's rich with happiness. But one day both his child and wife dies, and that after he (very suddenly, within like... one hour in real time) becomes a gladiator and earn some money just to get medicine to them. Bitter he continues a career as a gladiator, get's rich and want's more money... until the day he meets... Jesus! 

(and yes, did I mention this was a movie about Pompeii?)

This is a more complex film than my text above says, but it's still a very boring drama about who money and greed can destroy your life (something I agree on by the way). The Pompeii-stuff is somewhere far in the background, and the focus is on his journey to be a rich and cold man. Preston Foster is not bad in the lead, and Basil Rathbone is good as Pontius Pilate, and the movie looks good and nice... but really, who the fuck cares about Jesus? Not me.

But in the end there's finally the eruption of Vesuvius and the whole city is destroyed spectaculary with some amazing effects. This is the single highlight in the whole movie. Not even the gladiator-scenes are that fun. 

Some good acting and ten fantastic minutes at the end dosen't make a good movie. Give me King Kong instead.

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