27 August 2014 | dbdumonteil
Cornel Il Grande
Above average Italian sword and sandal:it is longer than the usual peplum (2 hours+),the settings are not cheap,and there's a solid American actor(and a director,one often forgets he made the memorable "naked prey"and the estimable "no blade of grass" )as the lead ,Cornel Wilde ,a Hollywood veteran ("leave her to Heaven" ,"Forever Amber","the greatest show on earth" and many more) .
Constantin's mother's destiny is not exactly what we see in the movie:she was not a highborn lady (an innkeeper's daughter) and Constantin was not estranged from her till his victory over Maxence;but the movie introduces her with taste .To keep a story-like side,the screenwriters invent the tale of two unfortunate lovers Adrian and Livia (the delicate Christine Kaufman who played opposite Steve Reeves in Bonnard/Leone's doomed "last days of pompei"(1959) in which she was ...a young Christian of course!) Wilde is a convincing Constantin,he gets good support from the rest of the cast ;this is neither "Spartacus" ,nor "Cleopatra " ,but as an entertaining epic ,that's still good value