The Last Days of Pompeii (1984)
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I recommend as one of the best mini-series of all time.
A decadent coast city with flaky rich people, wide-scale prostitution, and a dangerous cult all co-existing while the ground shakes? It is like modern Los Angeles only without the hard drugs or racial tensions.
The easiest criticism to make about this mini-series is that it tries to tell too many stories at once and tells none of them properly with an ending alluded to not merely by history but the title. A grab bag of subplots on offer have a few intriguing elements amidst the mostly boring ones but added together they make for an incoherent muddled mess interlocking too neatly at the end.
There are a lot of examples of clunky historical epic expositional dialogue beyond the narrator at the beginning which turns into heavy-handed metaphysical discussion the viewer might not be ready for.
Whatever potential appeal this mini-series might have had appears to have heavily been placed upon a location shoot and legacy casting of actors who had triumphed in roles set in the ancient world.
Olivia Hussey and Ernest Borgnine had both been in Jesus of Nazareth (1977) along with Lord Laurence Olivier who had of course also appeared in Spartacus (1960). Anthony Quayle had been in Masada (1981) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Brian Blessed and David Robb had been in I,Claudius (1976). Brian Coburn was in Julius Caesar (1979) and The Day Christ Died (1980). Howard Goorney was in Antony & Cleopatra (1981) and Peter & Paul (1981). Stephen Grief was in The Cleopatras (1983). Nicholas Clay played the title role in The Search For Alexander the Great (1981). Howard Lang had been in Ben-Hur (1959). Marilu Tolo is credited as having been in several gladiator movies in the 1960s.
As for the much celebrated homoerotic undertones, I cannot really say I know what those might be but my guess would be they has to do with Lydon - the gladiator played by Canadian actor Duncan Regehr. Different people look for different things I reckon and because of it they might see things which are not there.
A magnificent set-decoration and the most authentic art-direction I've ever seen (look at the temple of Isis: even the number of stairs tallies with the original!), tasteful, opulent costumes and finally a few amazing visual-effects, phenomenal for a TV-mini.
Trevor Jones' music is another wonder. As a great fan of soundtracks I always listen more to the scores than to the dialogues, when I watch a film. Mr. Jones is a man of genius; able to give the worst movies ("G.I. Jane", "The mighty"..) grace and poesy through his music.
I never heard a more haunting, majestic music than his score for "The last days of Pompeii" and I get a goose-flesh whenever I hear the main-theme - still after twelve years.
The cast is marvelous, as well. Sir Laurence Olivier, Franco Nero, Olivia Hussey and two outstanding No-names: Lesley-Anne Down and Linda Purl. Both of them are beautiful AND talented, although they rarely were able to show what they are made of.
I traveled to Pompeii a few times, considering the magic of this forgotten masterpiece. What can I say... the most beautiful town of the earth! And this motion picture is its impressive monument. Thanks.
That was one of the best miniseries of the eighties ,when the sword and sandal style was trendy again:"Anno Domini"( "A.D") was made at about the same time and is good as well.
my parents recorded this film off the T.V station it played on (I can't remember which, though I've looked for it at the three major ones) and when we moved to Nigeria, I watched it for the first time. This was years after they had recorded it of course. I watched it often, since it's long and it took three tapes for the entire film, it was my favorite chore (self-imposed of course) to watch it and make sure the tape was not ruined. You can imagine how many times I took it upon myself to ensure this.
Basically, the last time I watched it was in 1998! And when I was coming back here that year, I did not have enough space in my suitcase to bring all the books and films I wanted to. So sadly, it got left behind.
I am a film student today, and I want to see if the film still holds up to the ideals it did when I was 17. It is definitely a must watch! If you like epic movies like "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur" you will love this film. The history of the people, the effects of the explosion (which I must confess were a bit repetitious and made me think of foam buildings sometimes), the characters, the world the characters inhabited...WOW! I could go on...Films like this one (well, this film really) made me yearn to learn the Roman culture so much that I actually made it a goal (which I have met, and hopefully will again) to visit Rome and see the Colosseum. Gladiator, eat your heart out! This film showed the culture of the people and their lifestyles, not just blood and gore.Watch it if you can. I wish it were released in theaters--if they ran films that long.
The truth is, the original was horrible. Edward Bulwar's writing of the book was very cheesy.
I will never understand why the critics panned her work. Her miniseries was really wonderful. After seeing it again after so many years, I still absolutely loved it.
A 100% romantic movie.
I've seen obscure series and shows offered for sale on amazon, shows like "Quark" and "Get Smart Again" that few have heard of. Why not this show? There are some confusing comments on this site that seem to say it is available and others that seem to indicate not. Can someone tell me if indeed this series is available from anyone.
I've only recently noticed that this movie is based on Bulwer-Lytton's novel. Bulwer-Lytton is of course well known for his other novel "The Coming Race" which the Nazis believed is a true story, and went to South America to search for the entrance to the underground civilization.
The cast of this series epic. This is not a crude quickly made for television drama. As one of the commentator mentioned, this I think is the best rendition of the story of Pompeii that's ever been produced.
Both male and female casts are beautiful in this series, as well as the settings. Each plays their part to their fullest until the bombastic climax. It's really believable that last days of Pompeii was like this.
One of the best mini-series to be produced, this is one TV series that can be compared to some of the movie greats.