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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964)

Despite a literate script and a game international all-star cast, this sword and sandals epic is a mite tepid. There's a nifty chariot duel down the side of an Italian alp (shades of Ben-Hur) and Sophia Loren brings her regal beauty to heat things up, but the real reason to see this picture is the jaw dropping Roman Forum set in the last third of the picture. It was so gargantuan that it still holds the record for being the biggest outdoor set of all time. And it's a doozy. You keep thinking "this has got to be a matte painting or CGI" but then you realize they didn't have FX like that in 1963! Take a good look; you're never gonna see the likes of this kind of film craft again. A film buff's treat. 

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