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Alexander the Great (Bilingual) [Import]

Richard Burton , Fredric March , Robert Rossen    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Richard Burton stars in Alexander the Great, a middling entry in the 1950s CinemaScope epic cycle. The film boasts excellent production values and a fine cast--including Frederic March, Claire Bloom, Harry Andrews, Stanley Baker, Peter Cushing, Michael Hordern--but rarely comes to life other than as a big fat ancient Greek wedding of the talents of Burton and Bloom. They strike real dramatic sparks together, so much so they would be reunited in Look Back in Anger (1958) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965). Otherwise the blame must be laid at writer-director-producer Robert Rossen's feet, who never before or after helmed anything remotely on this scale; his best work would follow with the intimate The Hustler (1961). Rossen simply shows little sensibility for the epic, staging lavish but brief and rather pedestrian battles, and somehow drawing from the usually mesmerizing Burton a performance lacking the charisma essential to a great military commander. Burton fans can enjoy him at his epic best as Marc Anthony in Cleopatra (1963). --Gary S. Dalkin

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars alexandre le grand Dec 11 2012
By koskys
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
je suis content de ce film car j'ai toutes la collection de Alexandre le grand en dvd vendeur a+++++ livraison+++
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Epic That Never Was May 30 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Someday, someone is going to make a great film about Alexander. Writer/director Robert Rossen took a crack at it in the mid-1950's, an era of epic films. The result was interesting but ultimately disappointing. Perhaps Rossen tried to squeeze too much into a standard running time. Some scenes, usually the historic ones, seem rushed and truncated while others, the fictionalised ones, seem superfluous. Visually, the film is quite good. In fact, it is one of those films where the stills are more impressive than the actual scenes.
But Rossen obviously wanted to make an "intelligent" epic. Some of the script and casting reflect that. The supporting cast has a number of respected British thesps -Claire Bloom, Harry Andrews, Peter Cushing, Michael Hordern, Stanley Baker. But there are also a lot of Italians whose dialogue is dubbed by those same two guys who did all the film dubbing in the 1950's. One can only wonder who chose Fredric March (hammy as ever) as Philip of Macedon or Danielle Darrieux (who apparently had only one facial expression) as his mischievous queen.
But the critical casting was Richard Burton as Alexander. He certainly looks the part, despite the blonde hair. But he frequently suffers from his career-long inability to adapt his stage-acting technique to the more intimate demands of cinema. Or maybe that's how he thought a wannabe god should behave. You sit there praying for him to lighten up - just a little.
For the rest, the many battle scenes tend to be confusing rather than spectacular, the uncertain pace suggests a lot of pre-release cuts were made, and the music not only sounds primitive but seems to have been recorded in somebody's basement. Still, the film is an interesting failure. But you end up admiring its ambitions more than its results.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a dull movie! April 5 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I truly do not recommend this movie to anyone who wants to know about Alexander the Great. I have been reading about the Great Macedonian for four years and I connot explain how completely inaccurate this movie is. Everything from the costumes to the characters are incorrect. The armor the soldiers and Alexander wear looks very close to fifth century BC armor, especially the helmets which have feathered plumes and not horsehair plumes. This is suppose to be the fourth century BC! King Darius's daughter was not Roxane in reality, the movie portrays her as being so. She was the daughter of some barbarian Alexander captured. There are so many mistakes in this movie I have to give the director some credit for at least trying to create this movie.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Alexander the Great April 2 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I thoroughly enjoyed the backdrop of Ancient Greece as it was portrayed in this movie. There were also neat little quirks in several of the early scenes like the Macedonian games of spear-throwing and boxing, as well as the array of famous statues in Athens. Richard Burton brought to his character of the King the predictable level of heavy drama and emotional instability that he was famous for, and although quite overbearing at times, he was nonetheless a master of his art and of the many problems of this stupid film, none were directly attributable to him. For one, there were way too many historical discrepencies in the plot, which would've been more excusable only if there had been more plot to go around it all! Most of the movie is dedicated to Alexander's young life and his conflicts with his parents, while very little attention whatsoever is paid to his famous eleven year conquest of Persia, Egypt, and India. In fact if I'm remembering correctly -- for it has been some time since I last saw the film -- almost the entire Indian campaign is summed up as we watch a red line being drawn across a static map on the screen, while a voiceover announces something like, "and then Alexander moved through India..." The mass marriage at the end of the film was interesting for me, but then Alexander raises his cup in toast and -- whammo! -- he falls over, is taken to his deathbed, and that's that. A very disappointing climax for any motion picture, let alone one about the greatest military general of the ancient world. Alexander deserves to be honored by a terrific film, but this is not the one.
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