Monday, March 09, 2009

The Last Days Of Pompeii

This is a movie I watched, "The Last Days of Pompeii," from 1935, starring Preston Foster, Alan Hale, and Basil Rathbone.

It's an oldie and it has its moments. It has a kind of old, stuffy feel to it, though, but it's still pretty good. We follow the career of Marcus (MARCVS on the gladiator showbill), who starts out as a blacksmith, becomes a gladiator, a horse trader, and on up the ladder to bigger and better things. He's always after more money, more power, even though he started out quite happy with what he had. But his wife and child were killed and that changed things.

Through killing another gladiator, he ends up adopting the guy's son. And Marcus is very devoted to his son, Flavius. After hearing a soothsayer saying Flavius will meet the greatest person in Judea, with some help coming his way, they go there, where Marcus's path crosses both Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ. Jesus heals Flavius, which sticks in his mind years later as influential. Pilate actually becomes a family friend and is seen in scenes toward the end, years later.

There's a conflict between father and son on their values having to do with sending slaves to their death in the Arena. The son sides with the slaves, really because he has that influence from Jesus about "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Marcus sees more value in making money off their death. This is building to Pompeii's eventual destruction by Vesuvius. And from that point what becomes of the characters, which would be a spoiler to say.

The sets are pretty good looking. The special effects are not bad. The movie's in black and white.

No comments: