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Monday, December 15, 2014

The 300 Spartans (1962)

The King of Persia (David Farrar, BLACK NARCISSUS) marches his armies into Greece with the intention of making Greece part of his empire. While the Greeks delay any action against the Persian King until after a religious festival, the King of Sparta (Richard Egan) takes 300 of his personal guard to hold the Thermopylae pass until the rest of the Greek army can join them. They will never come. One of the lesser known sword and sandal epics of its era, 300 SPARTANS is actually one of the better efforts. While it lacks the star power of SPARTACUS or BEN-HUR (or their budgets), its an effectively made action film that benefits from the authentic Greek locations, beautifully shot by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY). The acting ranges from decent to poor, notably David Farrar and not surprisingly Barry Coe but it's not the kind of film where the acting is a vital element. The first rate underscore is by Manos Hadjidakis (NEVER ON SUNDAY). Neatly directed by Rudolph Mate. This was the inspiration for Frank Miller's graphic novel 300. Also in the cast: Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Kieron Moore, Ivan Triesault and Laurence Naismith.

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