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Monday, October 15, 2012

Esther And The King (1960)

In 5th century Persia B.C., King Ahasuerus (Richard Egan) chooses a new Queen (Joan Collins) not knowing she is a Jew. Despite the evil machinations of his minister (Sergio Fantoni) who plots to claim the throne for himself, the young Queen urges the King on to rule in wisdom and tolerance. Co-written, produced and directed by Raoul Walsh (WHITE HEAT) in Italy with an Italian crew, the film is an odd mixture of a typical Hollywood biblical epic and an Italian sword and sandal saga with the peplum aspect taking center stage. The casting of the sexy Collins as the demure Jewish maiden would ordinarily have been a mistake but her miscasting only adds to the foreignness of the whole production. As far as biblical films go, it's pretty low on the totem pole but it remains an above average sword and sandal effort. Mario Bava served as the director of cinematography (and often co-credited as director) as his first (credited) feature film LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO/BLACK SUNDAY also made its presence known. The uneven score is by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. With Denis O'Dea, Rik Battaglia and Daniela Rocca.

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