A Playhouse Original! Screened here in 1961.

“The great-granddaddy of Ridley Scott's Gladiator hasn't lost any muscle tone after nearly half a century, and Kirk Douglas's direct, unpretentious performance as the great slave-rebel Spartacus is more engaging than ever.

“The 30-year-old Stanley Kubrick directs; Peter Ustinov is the cynical gladiator-trainer Batiatus and Laurence Olivier is Crassus, the chilling, manipulative senator who, in one extraordinary scene asks his bath-attendant slave Antoninus, played by Tony Curtis, whether he might not prefer snails to oysters. The distinction is a matter of taste, he tells us, rather than low, culpable ‘appetite’.

“The story of Spartacus reverses the Jesus myth: instead of getting sold out by his followers and dying a terrible death on the cross, Spartacus is protected by his troops, who are prepared to endure crucifixion rather than reveal the leader hidden in their ranks. A stirring classic.” - The Guardian


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