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 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 6:54 AM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

I think that's one of her early English roles, which she reportedly had to be taught one syllable at a time.

 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 7:56 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

concerning Solomon and Sheba - how a film that is easily availablde on dvd can be called "rarely seen" is beyond me.

I meant rarely seen by me--on purpose.

No, I meant on TV, at least here in Oz. In fact I can't ever remember it being on TV. As for it being on DVD, that certainly doesn't prove it's not rarely seen. smile

 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


Well !.....THIS eleven year old loved it back then, as did most of the UK.

It was very popular here and had a very respectable 7 month run at the Astoria, in London (Oct 27th, 1959 to May 8th, 1960).

It reached our Odeon at Christmas, 1959 and had a healthy 3 month run.

I went several times, and thought it was very spectacular.....as indeed it was, on that vast, Technirama 70 screen !

It looks a little more hokey seen today, of course, but that scene with the shields at the ravine still impresses.....dummy soldiers and all !

Love to see it in it's original format again.



 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Ed Lachmann   (Member)

Well, po-tay-to po-tah-to, I guess. Amateur armchair critics seem to relish ripping apart other peoples beloved movies. Although, those of us who DO like SOLOMON AND SHEBA could certainly ravage a few of their "holy grails" without much trouble at all. Had a look at it recently and the sets are no better or worse than any other film of that type from that era. Why even have a post about something like THE BIG FISHERMAN, if all you're going to do is tear it apart? Obviously, neither of these films will EVER make it to blu-ray, so the smarmy snarky self-important little " cinema experts" will win in the long run, as they always do. As Mink Stole famously observed in PINK FLAMINGOS, "there are only two kinds of people in the world, my kind of people and a-holes."

 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

I have come to the conclusion that all films of this "epic" type need to be preserved, if only to recall a now totally bygone era, when such efforts were the norm. These films were heralded as, and actually were, "events,' presented as special occasions for viewing, apart from other, mostly less pretentious, kinds of films being released.

It's hard to convey to people nowadays the anticipation of a roadshow epic. They were deliberately meant to be as far removed in scope and style from everyone's, mostly black&white, television screens as possible. Ads proclaimed their advent long before they actually opened, so that tickets could be purchased well in advance. All of this whetted a potential audience's appetite for whatever lavish vision was being promoted.

Apart from whatever script challenges most of these pictures had, what still ravishes are the marvelous sets and costumes, not to mention crowd scenes of real people. In many cases, a lot of people in the audience were happy to gaze on these manufactured vistas as a welcome respite from their more ordinary lives.

As such, these films ultimately envision the pure escapism of cinema, showing up marvelously re-created worlds in views which are otherwise impossible to reach. And many audience members enjoyed the mostly Biblical sentimentality of the scripts, accepting the film more as a kind of cinematic sermon than coherent drama. (Fascinatingly, the same kind of moviemaking seems to persist today, mostly in efforts from Mormons, or other fundamentalist groups; they even have more orchestral, melodic film scores than heard in most contemporary films.)

It still saddens me, to a certain extent, that the ancient epics were virtually swamped by the mostly Italian sword-and-sandal films, which cost a lot less to make, but whose vision was, in an understatement, considerably more limited. In addition, popular culture just turned away from ancient films in general, and and epics in particular, with the more trendy styles of the 60's, so that, by the end of that decade, audiences were awash in secret agent pictures.

It's also disheartening that epic films, if they have survived at all, exist now in only a truncated state. Even the better examples of the genre, like BEN-HUR and SPARTACUS, can only be seen now on a screen the size of a postage stamp, compared to the mammoth vistas of yore.

Sometimes I still yearn to go soundtrack shopping at Sam Goody's on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, where I saw the original Decca lp of THE EGYPTIAN for years before I actually bought it, before heading over to the Warner Theatre, to bask in whatever epic scope was being shown at the time.

(Although, for all of that, I never saw the Jeffrey Hunter KING OF KINGS as a roadshow, and never even knew that THE BIG FISHERMAN had been one. I only found that out, when I found the hardcover souvenir program in a bin at a secondhand bookstore in Pittsburgh, for 50 cents. I still have it. Interesting, by the way, in that the program has a photo of a grand staircase, flanked by 2 Chinese-type lions, which made a reappearance a few years later in CLEOPATRA, when Charmian brings the infant Caesarion to present to Caesar. Same set designer, as I recall...)

 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 11:47 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

I have come to the conclusion that all films of this "epic" type need to be preserved, if only to recall a now totally bygone era, when such efforts were the norm. These films were heralded as, and actually were, "events,' presented as special occasions for viewing, apart from other, mostly less pretentious, kinds of films being released.

It's hard to convey to people nowadays the anticipation of a roadshow epic. They were deliberately meant to be as far removed in scope and style from everyone's, mostly black&white, television screens as possible. Ads proclaimed their advent long before they actually opened, so that tickets could be purchased well in advance. All of this whetted a potential audience's appetite for whatever lavish vision was being promoted.

Apart from whatever script challenges most of these pictures had, what still ravishes are the marvelous sets and costumes, not to mention crowd scenes of real people. In many cases, a lot of people in the audience were happy to gaze on these manufactured vistas as a welcome respite from their more ordinary lives.



You are quite right, John. It IS virtually impossible to convey to people today just how big an occasion these Road Show epics were, and how exciting was the anticipation of seeing them for the first time.

Most of them were meant to be mainly ravishing to the eye, not the ear...although, many did succeed in this aspect too.

For many, it was enough to just wallow in the huge sets, the costumes and the spectacle of the piece, and, no matter how big your home TV screen is, it is just not the same experience.

It might not be exactly how things really looked in ancient times, but it's how they should have looked !





 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 12:29 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Im glad to read the posts by John , Ed and CH-CD -- I absolutely agree - these epics were events to be enjoyed on the giant screens all around the world.

And I cant believe anyone would find the sets of SOLOMON AND SHEBA to be odd or small looking or any less credible than the small scale ones used in other epics -- at least those in S+S did not appear again and again in various other films as the ones from the Fox studios did from such films as THE ROBE , DEMETRIUS .., THE EGYPTIAN , DAVID AND BATHSHEBA ,etc. They were recycled a lot.

As far as Gina Lollobrigida as Sheba, she had done other English speaking roles(Trapeze, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beat the Devil'53 ) and I dont think that English had to be taught her phonetically on S&S. I really enjoy her performance as the pagan queen who comes to destroy but who ultimately falls in love with the King of Israel - I think its her signature role - her accent actually adds to Sheba's character. Sure the performance has some camp ,hokey elements but most of these period temptress roles do.

 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 5:24 PM   
 By:   Ralph   (Member)

“Solomon and Sheba” personifies the putdown “sex and sand epic.” Even if Tyrone Power had lived long enough to finish it, there wouldn’t have been any more or less than what it became with Yul Brynner taking over the lead. Not with the cheesy script, the cheesier sets, the cheesiest costumes for Gina Lollobrigida. And not with director King Vidor this disinterested, matching Frank Borzage’s lackluster “The Big Fisherman.” It’s great to see Brynner with hair, though, and he certainly has panache, which he uses this time with pleasing if wasted restraint. He seems to be working valiantly to get passed the super tramp regalia Hollywood dragmeister Ralph Jester swathed Gina in; regrettably, with Brynner’s theatrically bent accent in combat with her haughty harlot pronunciations, there’s too little likeability between them. Historians have nothing on whether the Hebrew Solomon ever frolicked with the real Queen of Sheba; by all accounts, she was far more interested in commerce. But no one wants to “hear” Gina talking business deals. Therefore she gets to whip while riding a fur-covered chariot, gyrate ludicrously, suffer glamorously while being stoned to death — miraculously recovering like Ben-Hur’s mother and sister did from leprosy — and, like Jean Simmons in “The Robe,” exit with her face looking toward the heavens and likely thinking “Thank God I’m finished with this turkey!”

 
 
 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 2:03 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Er...I disassociate myself from the immediately above post, lest I be labelled an epic besmircher. I love epics, I love history, especially ancient history, and I remember well what an occasion these films were upon their initial release, even the poor ones. S & S was certainly one of the latter, but it still pitched itself several classes higher than most of what comes out today, including the modern "epics" like Gladiator. It was the era, I guess. There were still such things as idealism, spiritual belief, respect for others, and that rarest of all commodities, class, and we all had enough sense of occasion to dress in our finery even for the matinees. Would that we could go back to all that wondrous innocence.

 
 
 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 5:09 AM   
 By:   Ralph   (Member)

Allow me to disabuse you of the presumption that I’m “an epic besmircher.” Quite the contrary, I’m crazy about epics. Perhaps like you, I grew up during and loving the trumped up experiences of the “roadshow” era. But if as you say you “love history, especially ancient history,” then you’d have to view “S & S” with something more discriminating than your matinée finery and wondrous innocence. It’s a sizable stretch of credulity to posit that “S & S” “pitched itself several classes higher” than “Gladiator,” even with its borrowings from “Fall of the Roman Empire,” its faulty editing and lousy CGI. Scott makes up for all of that with what may be the most satisfying “roadshow” of the modern era — his “director’s cut” of “Kingdom of Heaven.” Whatever its own inaccuracies and fictions, it’s gruesome enough to sate blood thirst for decapitations and war hammers into heads, lavish enough for reserved seat addicts to feel the resurrection of Bronston, and sufficiently unafraid to remind reviewers of the murderous infantilism of religion.

 
 
 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 7:17 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Allow me to disabuse you of the presumption that I’m “an epic besmircher.” Quite the contrary, I’m crazy about epics. Perhaps like you, I grew up during and loving the trumped up experiences of the “roadshow” era. But if as you say you “love history, especially ancient history,” then you’d have to view “S & S” with something more discriminating than your matinée finery and wondrous innocence. It’s a sizable stretch of credulity to posit that “S & S” “pitched itself several classes higher” than “Gladiator,” even with its borrowings from “Fall of the Roman Empire,” its faulty editing and lousy CGI. Scott makes up for all of that with what may be the most satisfying “roadshow” of the modern era — his “director’s cut” of “Kingdom of Heaven.” Whatever its own inaccuracies and fictions, it’s gruesome enough to sate blood thirst for decapitations and war hammers into heads, lavish enough for reserved seat addicts to feel the resurrection of Bronston, and sufficiently unafraid to remind reviewers of the murderous infantilism of religion.==-

Well, I'm certainly not suggesting that I thought S & S was some kind of sublime example of "class", just that it didn't annoy and depress me as much as Gladiator; indeed in it's own weird way it was kind of fun. Gladiator was kind of not fun, but then the presence of a non-acting Australian thug in the lead role didn't help much.

I would guess we're contemporaries (I'm 66), children of the Roadshow era, who still feel a thrill at the memory of donning our best suits to attend a city premiere of the latest historical extravaganza. I remember revelling above all in the "extras" only Roadshow features provided--the Overture, Intermezzo, play-out music, and those wonderful program books that provided the absolutely essential information about how much sand was used in the arena, how many miles of tubing supported the stands etc. And I so enjoyed the press trumpettings about upcoming attractions---EL CID IS COMING, ONLY 21 DAYS TO EL CID!!! Ah, the good old days.

As for Kingdom of Heaven, I enjoyed it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the Director's Cut even more when I get to see it. I also rather enjoyed Troy, and would like to catch the Director's Cut of that. But it's not the same, somehow. For all their greater realism, for all the stunning CGI, the atmosphere of old, the sense of real occasion just isn't there. I guess it was the Roadshow presentation, the fact that you knew this film was going to play at one city venue, and nowhere else, for at least a year, and the implication thereby that this was AN EVENT! It just doesn't seem like an event anymore, with multiple releases on thousands of screens, DVD a few months later (with a half dozen "shorts" featuring endless interviews with preening stars foolishly giving away how the magic was achieved), TV soon after that...then the odd re-run...and finally obscurity.

And of course one other thing has changed: these days not only is religion taboo, but any kind of belief in the gods seems to need to be exorcised (Troy), even when it's integral to the source material. But that's another subject, and shall be covered another day, in another forum....

 
 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 9:31 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


Well, I for one wouldn't mention "Gladiator" in the same breath as the great Epics of the 50's/ 60's.

I hated it ! I'm not a Russell Crowe fan, but went along anyway, hoping to see a good revival of the genre. What a let down !

I was bored throughout, what to me, was like a three hour shampoo commercial.

I actually went home and watched 'The Fall of the Roman Empire", just to make up for the disappointment.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Troy`. Both movies having the right "feel" in their art direction.

Once I got used to the fact that it wasn't Robert Wise's Epic, I thought "Troy" looked amazing.

I have the director's cuts of both movies on DVD, but they are on my "Things to watch later, when I have gotten through the twenty odd things to watch on my Sky Box" list !

 
 
 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 7:10 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Well, I for one wouldn't mention "Gladiator" in the same breath as the great Epics of the 50's/ 60's.

I hated it ! I'm not a Russell Crowe fan, but went along anyway, hoping to see a good revival of the genre. What a let down !


Gladiator lost me when Crowe brought down a galloping Roman soldier by throwing his
short sword. In all the history of the Roman Empire. and all the years since, I'm sure that never happened.

It has, however, happened in many very bad adventure movies.

 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 11:28 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)



Gladiator lost me when Crowe brought down a galloping Roman soldier by throwing his
short sword. In all the history of the Roman Empire. and all the years since, I'm sure that never happened.

It has, however, happened in many very bad adventure movies.




I guess someone always has to draw the short sword ? big grin

 
 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 12:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Historians have nothing on whether the Hebrew Solomon ever frolicked with the real Queen of Sheba; by all accounts, she was far more interested in commerce.

According to one source:

"Unclear from either Biblical or Islamic traditions is the depth of the relationship between Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba. The kingdom of Sheba, the ancient name for Abyssinia, was, as shown in SOLOMON AND SHEBA, safe for many years because of its remote location and good relationship with Egypt. The Biblical account and various Islamic myths agree that Makeda visited Jerusalem in order to confirm Solomon’s reputation for having great wisdom. More elaborate legends indicate the queen devised a number of riddles to confound the king and was impressed by his quick, intellectual responses. Both the Biblical books of Kings and Chronicles state that the queen presented Solomon with lavish and rare gifts from her native land before returning to her country. Ethiopian tradition indicates that Makeda returned to Sheba and bore Solomon’s son Menelik, who later became the first emperor of Ethiopia.

"SOLOMON AND SHEBA portrays the queen as using idolatry to bring the downfall of Solomon. Historical accounts note that Solomon’s great wealth and polygamy contributed to his gradual drift from Judaic law and his ultimate demise. Solomon died after a forty year rule and Israel split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah."

 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   SoundScope   (Member)

Thanks for all the posts and information and opinion. There seems NEVER to be a shortage of OPINION. One thing about this message board: The discussion is always lively!

Each film should be respected for whatever merit anyone finds in it. I flat out HATE the easy dissmisal of anything. A lot of people put a lot of work in to that particular entertainment. Some worked very well, others not so much. But in the end, there is ALWAYS a modicom of art to be had and equal enjoyment for someone. The trashing of anything seems to me a waste of time. Let the discussion be had.

That being said, I'm looking forward to looking in on the BIG FISH... to see what it's all about. And I rather enjoyed SOLOMAN and that woman. The ditch and the reflecting sheilds were a pretty terrific tric. And yes, bring on the blu rays of wide-guage filmed features! smile

 
 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   Ed Lachmann   (Member)

Wonderful post from a real gentleman! Thank you, SoundScope, couldn't have put it better! I once piped up after a similar dismissal of CAVALCADE and got a bit testy with the negativity, having just seen it on TCM and finding it a delightful film. Simultaneously, an entire cadre of the like minded over at Home Theater Forum jumped in and, evidently, it was read by the powers that be over at Fox and we will have a blu-ray or it coming out end of summer. For the life of me, after popping in my DVD and having a fresh gander, I can find nothing "cheesy" about the elaborate sets or lovely costumes in SOLOMON AND SHEBA. But, I'm not a bit fan of the "Westboro Church School of Film Criticism" either.

 
 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

"Westboro Church School of Film Criticism"

Hmm. you might have to explain me that one.

As for every film having its own merits, you obviously haven't seen "Queen of Outer Space" yet.

smile

 
 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 5:50 PM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

"As for every film having its own merits, you obviously haven't seen "Queen of Outer Space" yet.

smile


 
 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 5:50 PM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

"Westboro Church School of Film Criticism"

Hmm. you might have to explain me that one.

As for every film having its own merits, you obviously haven't seen "Queen of Outer Space" yet.

smile


http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Westboro-Baptist-Church-To-Protest-Roger-Eberts-Funeral-201929641.html

 
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