Alexander the GreatDirector: Robert Rossen
The short life and quick death of Alexander the Great is recounted in this literate historical epic. Decked out in a blonde wig, Richard Burton stars as the Grecian warrior who conquered the known world while only in his twenties, then wept because there were no more worlds left to conquer. While the film's 141 minutes are occasionally bogged down by near-existential dialogue sequences (What doth it profit a man etc. etc.), the battle sequences are among the best and most accurate ever filmed. Fredric March and Danielle Darieux costar as Alexander's parents Philip of Macedonia and Olympius, Claire Bloom does what she can with the nothing role of Alexander's wife Barsine, and Michael Hordern and Harry Andrews are cast as Demosthenes and Darrius, respectively. Lensed in Spain and Italy, Alexander the Great conquered no new worlds at the box-office, perhaps because Richard Burton, brilliant though he was, hadn't yet attained "saleability."
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Cast & Crew
|Richard Burton||Alexander the Great|
|Fredric March||Philip of Macedonia|
|Marisa de Leza||Eurydice|
|Carlos Martínez Baena||Nearchus|
|Ramsay Ames||Drunken woman|
|Mario De Barros||Messenger|
|André Andrejew||Art Director,Set Decoration/Design|
|David Ffolkes||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Mario Nascimbene||Score Composer|
|Cliff John Richardson||Special Effects|
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Robert Rossen film on the life of Alexander The Great is rather unimpressive. The subject itself calls for only the most devoted and skilled masters of film which Rossen was not for purposes of this genre. Because Alexander The Great accomplished so much within only 13 years of his 33 years of life, it is virtually impossible to make a good movie on that part alone in less than 3 hours. Richard Burton delivers a strong performance as Alexander but also seems too constrained; Butrton fails to deliver the youthful vigor of which Alexander had so much of. Not only was Alexander a king and conqueror, he was a military genius; a philosopher; a bold explorer; and, in his own mind anyway, a god among mortal men. Burton's performance often seems too grave and reserved and fails to reflect Alexander's dynamic personality. I did like the movie for its focus on Alexander's childhood but that also came short. The parts dealing with Alexander's childhood were too constrained and didn't really reflect the values or world views of that period. There should have been a lot more emphasis on how Phillip, despite being a military and political genius, was a debauched individual who was still considered very barbaric by his Greek neighbors. Olympias was an incessant schemer and manipulator but the movie doesn't really explore this. The movie doesn't really cover the campaign or its battles very well either. Looking at the movie, one barely gets any view as to how Alexander refined his father's tactics of the Macedonian phalanx to its peak; a tactic unmatched until it came against the more fluid ones of the Roman legions almost 200 years later. The same is true as to Alexander's great siege of Tyre in which he built a mile-long jetti into the sea to connect with the City's gates; his hard fought geurilla campaign against Darius' renegade satraps; or his victories against Porus' elephants in India. There are also gross inaccuracies, such as presenting Roxanne as Darius III's daughter: Roxeanne was the daughter of the satrap in Bactria, not Darius' daughter. Now that Oliver Stone is completing a new film on Alexander the Great, perhaps audiences will be presented with a movie that covers more detail and that is presented in a less rigid fashion. In the meantime, we can only look at where others have failed. Roughly paraphrasing Phillip's proverbial statement to Alexander, I would tell viewers, 'Audience, ask for yourselves a greater movie, for that which Rossen leaves you is too small for thee.'
Good acting, weak story.