Fall of the Roman Empire – In Videos and Images (March 26th, 1964)

As I mentioned, since we’ve covered some of the background of The Fall of the Roman Empire in past posts, I thought it would be nice to celebrate its’ anniversary with videos and screenshots. Especially if you don’t have time to devote to a movie with a running time of 3 hours and 8 minutes. I also promise, I’ll try not to mention Gladiator any more than I have to. *insert HUGE smiley face here* Pop some popcorn, get your drink of choice and enjoy.

Let’s begin with the little over 4 minute trailer. You have to admit: it’s epic, it’s monumental, it’s everything you think of when you think ‘movie about the Roman Empire’. Did you know you’d undergo so many emotions?! Not 1 or 2 but 9 glorious performances?! A re-creation of such much action and drama?! Hey, that’s what the trailer tells us. So let’s find out! 

Woo! Okay, the trailer’s out of the way, so let’s get to the heart of it. Pretty pictures! And movie posters – posters that have you thinking ‘I must see this spectacle!’ I…think.

Following all those will be videos…

Stephen Boyd as Livius in the 1964 ‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’ – the hero who is the enemy of Commodus, is in love with Lucilla, and a loyal subject to Marcus Aurelius and named his successor. Don’t DARE tell me that sounds familiar! 

               Stephen Boyd as Livius – ‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’

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                                    Sophia Loren as Lucilla

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Lucilla and Livius (Sophia Loren and Stephen Boyd). Boyd got the role originally offered to Kirk Douglas and Charlton Heston.

Alec Guinness as Marcus Aurelius

             Christopher Plummer as Commodus 

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Almost afraid to ask what he’s thinking!

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Better known as Captain von Trapp in ‘The Sound of Music’, Christopher Plummer was cast as Commodus when Richard Harris had a prior commitment and couldn’t take on the role.

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Following Commodus’ grand entry into Rome, the slave behind him repeats what is told of all Roman victors as they enter the city: ‘”Respice post te. Hominem te memento”‘ – “Look after you and remember you’re a man.” In the movie, the slave says something to the effect of ‘Remember you are mortal.’ Oh I’m sure Commodus will take THAT advice to heart!

 

A VERY nice cast photograph featuring Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Stephen Boyd

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                                              The assassins arrive

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One cover (I think the trailer might too) proclaims this scene as the greatest chariot dual in movies. Of course I started screaming “What the hell? What about Ben-Hur?” Then I reread it – DUAL. Gotcha! Because ‘Ben-Hur’ had a race between about 8 or 10 charioteers, and they all drove FOUR horses. Although…Stephen Boyd is in both movies!

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                                                                                                                Rome is Burning?

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                                                                                         Parade Into Rome

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                                                          The Emperor’s Funeral

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Notice the description on the book cover!

 

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The opening titles with a score by the great Dimitri Tiomkin (of High Noon fame as well as one of the most recognizable of TV themes, Rawhide):

Alec Guinness’ Marcus Aurelius and James Mason watch the dawning of a new day:

‘A family of equal nations – that is what lies ahead’

A father-daughter moment: Alec Guinness’ Marcus Aurelius and Sophia Loren’s Lucilla. And the Emperor announces who his successor will be – and it’s not Commodus!

Marcus Aurelius asks Death for more time:

Marcus Aurelius’ funeral:

Sophia Loren’s Lucilla and Stephen Boyd’s Livius have their moments.

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And as a lover of film costumes, seeing Loren in the scene made me think of Connie Nielsen in Gladiator as you see above.

 Image result for Lucilla Gladiator Of course, she also shares a quiet moment with Maximus before everything sadly hits the fan. 

Commodus’ parade into Rome. This is friggin’ amazing, especially when you consider this is not CGI! 

Alright, I couldn’t resist. As opposed to Joaquin Phoenix’s sad entry into Rome in Gladiator:

The final scenes. This is from the description on YouTube – 

“Uploaded on Jul 21, 2008

Anthony Mann is my new favorite director. Most of his films examine the exhausted hero. I re-edited the end of the film. It’s a masterpiece of filmmaking…”

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