Ben Hur Film Analysis

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Star factor and personal relationships

For a modern audience, it is easy to assume that the social ills of big budget Hollywood are a sign of decadent contemporary society. Social faux pas, dramatic falls from grace, and feuding spoilt starlets are a symptom of the ever popular celebrity gossip and rumour; now so instantly accessible due to the rise of internet technology.
However, when we examine some first-hand accounts of drama and scandal present upon the sets and in the offices of big budget Hollywood at the end of the Golden Age, we can construct the idea that movies such as Spartacus were vulnerable, not just to the escalation of political and religious tensions, but also, the far more personal scale of individual ego and creative
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He is quoted as stating that the original reason behind the conceptualisation of this movie was a direct response to his rejection for the title role in the movie Ben Hur, released just one year earlier. It was the decision of William Wyler, the director of this movie that the leading role would go to Charlton Heston, with Douglas offered the secondary part of the eventual villain, Messala. Douglas rejected the lesser role, and went on to admit in later years that his goal with Spartacus was to create a Roman epic that could compete with the scale of Ben Hur. The quote reads: "That was what spurred me to do it in a childish way, the 'I 'll show them ' sort of …show more content…
Kirk Douglas has been quoted as believing the main storyline of the movie is one of love. He stated "Love predominates all through the movie: love between Spartacus and Varinia, love among the men; the whole revolt was based on a love of freedom, a love of humanity“. It is also said that, due to his Zionist background, Douglas also wanted a storyline to parallel the struggles, and efforts of Jewish people, in an expression of his religious background. This is a fair analysis of events; however, there are multiple other themes present that had the potential to conflict the audience in what the true message of the movie was intended to be. This is inclusive of, but not limited to, the somewhat underdeveloped theme of Christianity as the ‘good and righteous’ path to a successful empire, which only really appeared within the opening credits, and the theme of hope and hopelessness, with adherence to personal belief and morals, even when all hope is lost. This was emphasised through the survival and escape of Varinia and Spartacus’ baby, and the defiance of Spartacus in his choice to continue fighting the Romans with his last moments. I believe it is this theme that fits best with the original basis for the story of the real Spartacus, given that historical records indicate it was a

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