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Alexander the Great (Bilingual)

3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Danielle Darrieux, Barry Jones
  • Directors: Robert Rossen
  • Writers: Robert Rossen
  • Producers: Robert Rossen, Gordon Griffith
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • Release Date: Oct. 19 2004
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0002KPHW4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,126 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description


Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 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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Format: VHS Tape
The acting and set design of Alexander the Great are first rate. Unfortunately, in an effort to compress the story into a 2 1/2 hour movie, the script takes great liberties with historical accuracy. The fact that the daughter of Darius is wrongly named Roxane is the least of the problems with this movie. Some of the most glaring problems occur when several historical characters are rolled into one movie character. The fate of the Rhodian general Memnon is completely inaccurate. The movie depicts a written document by Darius falling into Alexander's hands. This event is based on ages-old propaganda most likely perpetuated by both Alexander and his followers, meant to justify his claim to the Achaemenid throne. The epic quality of the Alexander story is completely lost as the movie jumps from scene to scene in an effort to finish the movie in 2 1/2 hours. Interestingly, the movie spends an inordinate amount of time developing the character of the young Alexander in Macedonia. Once he begins his military campaigns, however, the movie unfolds quickly and unevenly. I realize that squeezing Alexander's life into one movie is difficult, but it would have been better to leave out some details rather than falsify them. The movie was made in the 1950s, and I am sure that more information on Alexander and the Persians has come to light since then. So we may forgive the moviemakers for some of the inaccuracies in the movie. It would have been nice if more time had been spent developing the character of Darius. For a great historical narrative on Alexander which steers clear of the biased Greek descriptions, read the superb biography 'Alexander of Macedon' by Peter Green.
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Format: VHS Tape
Great entertainment and historically correct, for the most part. Richard Burton plays a convincing Alexander. From the start, with the background on Alexander's youth and his relationship with his father Philip and mother Olympias, the movie awesomely captures history. The battle scenes are recreated very well. I especially liked the post-battle scene at Chaeronea with the drunken Philip's singing echoing through the valley. Only minor errors, such as Darius's daughter being called Roxanne (a Bactrian princess) instead of Statira, can easily be overlooked. Alexander in fact, married both women anyway. The Persians are also shown historically correct for the most part, especially Darius' murder and the scene at Persepolis. For an under two-hour movie, what you get is quite spectacular. Of course, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reduce to film everything in Alexander's life.
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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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