So anyways, I just finished Spartacus and I did enjoy it.
Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) was sold into slavery at the age of 13. One day while working the mines, a gladiator recruiter picks Spartacus to come to his training camp and learn to fight in the arenas in Rome. While he is there, he falls for Varinia (Jean Simmons) a female servant who is used to entertain the men. When Varinia is sold to another master in Rome, it sets Spartacus off, and he leads a revolution against the school and the slaves escape. As his band of former slaves roam the country side, they free the slaves they come across, including Varinia, and amass an army to march to the ocean and find freedom on the seas. However, the Senate of Rome refuses to see these slaves succeed and their two forces meet in an epic battle for freedom.
However, that really wasn't what Jake was referring to. There is a part in the movie where one of the villians Crassus (Laurence Oliver) tries to seduce a young male slave Antoninus (Tony Curtis) with lewd talk about preferring "oysters or snails", and in Crassus's case, both. This may not seem like that big of a deal (I mean, does anyone remember Borat? The hotel scene? Hello....) but this was huge for 1960. It is also pretty historically accurate since there is much research today that shows that bisexuality was a common practice in ancient Rome. Trust me, I have been to the ruins. I saw their "sex rooms" when I was 14. I still can't shake those images...
- The sound of the crowd cheering "Spartacus! Spartacus!" was actually recorded at a 1959 football game in Spartan Stadium, home of the Michigan State University Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State beat Notre Dame in that game, 19-0.
- The original version included a scene where Marcus Licinius (Laurence Olivier) attempts to seduce Antoninus (Tony Curtis). The Production Code Administration and the Legion of Decency both objected. At one point Geoffrey Shurlock, representing the censors, suggested it would help if the reference in the scene to a preference for oysters or snails was changed to truffles and artichokes. In the end the scene was cut, but it was put back in for the 1991 restoration. However, the soundtrack had been lost in the meantime and the dialogue had to be dubbed. Curtis was able to redo his lines, but Olivier had died. Joan Plowright, his widow, remembered that Anthony Hopkins had done a dead-on impression of Olivier and she mentioned this to the restoration team. They approached Hopkins and he agreed to voice in Olivier's lines in that scene. Hopkins is thanked in the credits for the restored version.
When to See it: Actually a pretty good date night movie. There is a love story for the girls with very little blood and gore, and action and battle scenes for the guys.
Run Time: 3 hrs.