Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961). Director: Sergio Leone.

Athenian Darios (Rory Calhoun) comes to the island of Rhodes in 280 B.C. to visit his uncle and becomes embroiled in intrigue, betrayal, bloodshed and worse as various factions strive to take control of Rhodes. Towering over everything is the huge statue that stands astride the harbor and from which molten ore can pour onto those below. It's hard to keep track of who's plotting against who, which are slaves and which are Phoenician armies disguised as slaves, the rebels from the loyalists, but in the end it doesn't quite matter. Beautiful natural scenery combined with often stunning art direction -- not to mention the striking colossus (the bottom of the legs as well as everything from the chest up seem to have been built full-sized) -- give the film a certain visual sheen, but on the dramatic front the picture is not so solid. There are some very creative scenes of torture, a fairly exciting sequence set in the arena, but the long-awaited climax -- the movie runs over two hours -- is not nearly spectacular enough.

Verdict: Not awful by any means but not good enough to go out of your way for. **1/2.

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