User Reviews (5)

Add a Review

  • Around 500 A.D., after Rome has fallen, a Roman politician,Cethegus, played by Laurence Harvey, tries to return Rome to greatness. He plays the Goth leaders, who really ruled Italy at this time, against each other. The surviving leader attacks Rome at which point Cethegus gets military help from the Emperor Justinian (Orson Wells), while he keeps his army in reserve to take on whoever is left. Events don't quite go as he planned

    This is a complex, well plotted film. It is no Ben Hur, but the characters are engaging, the political intrigue is very well developed, the acting quite good (Laurence Harvey's final scene is great) and the battle scenes truly epic. In an unusual bit a casting, Michale Dunn plays Justinian's general Narses and, in great performance,steals almost every scene he is in. This is a quite good unjustly neglected epic well worth tracking down and seeing. It was released on video tape in the late 1970's but not in wide screen which this film really needs, and Honour Blackman's topless scene was, alas,cropped to just a closeup from the neck up.
  • 'Kampf um Rom' appears to be an above average epic, but the version I saw is severely compromised. The recent German DVD release crops the original Techniscope image (2.35:1) to TV dimensions (1.33:1), then masks off the top and bottom of the picture to create an ersatz 1.66:1 ratio. I'm guessing their master copy was a print prepared for television. The faded colours, specks and scratches suggest it was done many years ago. While part one appears to be intact - I'm not sure - part two is obviously edited, with clumsy jump cuts where violence has been trimmed. Judging from the widescreen trailer - included on the DVD - an entire scene was removed, where a servant becomes an unwilling participant in an orgy. The DVD distributor, Universum Film, is usually meticulous with its releases. Presumably, the negative for 'Kampf um Rom' is lost and there were no usable inter-positives or even theatrical prints. Given this major problem, I'm surprised they went ahead with the release. Under the circumstances, the lack of an English option - either soundtrack or subtitles - hardly matters.
  • I've read "Ein Kampf Um Rom"/ "A Struggle for Rome' and it Dutch version "Een Strijd Om Rome" (three books) ever since I was 9 years old (!!) and the story itself is absolutely wonderful. Definitely, more people need to read it. I DO wish someone would translate it in English --and, better yet, make a complete unabridged movie out of it. [ I myself am a translator, and would love to translate the book! :-)]. "A Struggle for Rome" introduces us to a great number of very interesting characters: Witichis the honest and brave king; Totila, whom everyone loved; Teja the somber warrior; Mataswintha, a princess who, when disappointed in love, destroyed the man she loved; Amalaswintha, who tried to save her people but failed; Narses the genius, who was even a better general than Belisarius was; Justinianus the ambitious. My favorite character is, and always has been, Cethegus, The Last Roman. Of course! With all his good and all his bad points, Cethegus was, and is, outstanding! I do wish we had people like him in my country now! Greetings from Indonesia!
  • In view of its imposing credentials, I had been looking forward to watching this one for some time; though I only managed to catch the condensed version of the two-part epic - shown on Italian TV as part of an Orson Welles marathon on Easter Sunday - it's still a worthwhile and enjoyable film of its type: choppily edited and disjointed in narrative, to be sure, but hardly incoherent. Incidentally, Welles participated in two other butchered spectacles around this time - THE BATTLE OF NERETVA (1969) and WATERLOO (1970); thanks to his larger-than-life persona, the heavy-set thespian was a regular feature of historical epics during the genre's heyday.

    THE LAST ROMAN proved to be celebrated director Siodmak's final film: perhaps not the ideal swan-song for him as, apart from Honor Blackman's nasty bath-tub murder, there's little evidence of (or opportunity for) his trademark stylistics. In fact, I'd say that the film bears more the imprint of its producer Arthur Brauner - an expert in exotic exploitation (witness the very discreet, but entirely gratuitous, use of nudity) who had also been the force behind Fritz Lang's last films and would soon collaborate on a number of Jess Franco pictures. Nevertheless, this particular effort abounds in battle sequences that are moderately well-staged - and the plot is so replete with double-crosses, murders and switched allegiances that the viewer's full attention is required throughout; another typical asset of such films is the score and Riz Ortolani provides a serviceable one here.

    Apart from the aforementioned Orson Welles and Honor Blackman, the cast is an eccentric mix of international and "Euro-Cult" stars - Laurence Harvey, Sylva Koscina, Michael Dunn, Harriet Andersson, Robert Hoffmann, Ingrid Boulting, Ewa Stroemberg, Lang Jeffries and Friedrich Ledebur; though mostly working below-par, none are especially demeaned by their role in the film (excepting Harvey's embarrassing hairstyle).

    In the end, I'd love to check out the full-length version of STRUGGLE FOR ROME (as the original title of this German/Italian/Romanian co-production translates to) someday - but the possibility seems very remote at this stage...
  • Love this flick! Anyone know where I might get a copy? It has great battles, plus Lawrence Harvey is great in his final scene! I'd take it, even if it was in a foreign language. If you have never seen it, be sure to watch it at your first opportunity. A very good gladiator movie.