The General Who Became A Slave Who Became, etc. etc. and all the rest…

What we do in life, echoes in eternity – Maximus Decimus Meridias

 

 

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                         The First of the ‘Gladiator’ Release Posters

The Teaser Trailer Using the Theme From Conan the Barbarian

When The Keeper first saw Gladiator it was on its’ opening weekend and at a theater which had been part of my childhood and no longer exists. I saw many of my beloved favorites there: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Titanic. I was the only woman at that matinee, sitting in a screening room that normally seated 1000 – screen #4 with magnificent red drapes that parted as the trailers began. No stadium seating, but a 70mm screen and a Dolby sound system. Such memories. I saw Superman II, The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II – the Wrath of Khan, Alien II, Titanic and quite a few others on that screen. And now here I was. Me. Surrounded by a couple of dozen males who glared at me, likely wondering why a female was attending a movie about ancient Rome and gladiators. Except they didn’t know me. History buff. Anglophile. Geek. Epic movie lover. 

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Over two hours later, those men in the audience were blubbering along with me. You would have thought it was the end of Titanic! All that was missing was Celine Dion wailing My Heart Will Go On

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When I went to see Gladiator about a week later, more females were in the audience. When I saw it for the third time, even more females were there, now with men who looked a tad reluctant, muttering about being dragged there by their wives and girlfriends. I went from my favorite theater to others in my hometown, trying out the various screens and sound systems. Groups of females now came in droves. One small party passed tissue boxes down the row. I hadn’t seen women this upset since Han Solo was frozen in carbonite and we found out we wouldn’t learn his fate for three friggin years! I take that back. I hadn’t seen women this upset since Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t climb up onto that damn door floating in the Atlantic and his hand froze in one of Kate Winslet’s hands!

By the time I saw Gladiator for the fourteenth time at the movies, the audiences full of women had increased. Gladiator had gone from male bonding movie to chick flick. I usually hate chick flicks, but with this one, I didn’t mind. And on top of that, the actor I vaguely knew from Virtuosity and knew quite well from L.A. Confidential was now an A-List star.  

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I didn’t see another male bonding movie become a chick flick until *sigh* 300. I love that movie too. It’s another film about duty and sacrifice, and I see bits of Maximus in Leonidas, the Spartan king. But I digress. Image result for 300 2006

A passage of time hasn’t changed my feelings. Along with Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Ten Commandments, The Godfather/The Godfather Part II (which I count as one film), Gladiator remains in my personal top 5. It has lost none of the emotional impact I felt 17 years ago, and for me, it is still one of Russell Crowe’s greatest movies and best performances. 

 

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